“Cheat Day” Pizza
Recipe courtesy of Nick Ritchie, Signature Kitchen Suite
Featuring Alan Bersten
5 cups AP flour
2 envelopes instant yeast (¼ ounce packets)
3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½-2 cups lukewarm water
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
(1) 24 ounce jar tomato passata purée
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Pinch of red chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Make Dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the yeast and water together. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and olive oil in the bowl with the yeast mixture. Using the hook attachment, mix the dough on slow speed until it starts to come together, then raise the speed to medium and allow it to knead into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, rub the top with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot and allow it to double in size about 1-1½ hours. (Alternately, the dough can be made the day ahead and placed directly into the refrigerator to slow proof overnight.)
Make Sauce. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the garlic in the olive oil until lightly golden brown, add the chili flakes and tomato and season to taste with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, add the torn basil leaves and remove from the heat. Reserve refrigerated.
Make Pizza. After the dough has proofed, punch down the dough and roll it out roughly to the shape of the pan. Lightly oil the sheet pan. Gently flatten the dough in the center of the pan and using your hands stretch and pat it out to roughly fit the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise again in a warm area for about 20-30 minutes. Then, using your fingertips, press into the dough to make dimples every half inch or so. Spread with sauce, allowing it to get into the dimples in the dough. Add desired toppings and cheese(s).
Cook Pizza. Set the oven to the Auto Cook Pizza setting. Select From Scratch/Homemade, then select In a Pizza Pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and all cheese is melted and toppings are cooked. Remove from the oven. Cut in squares and enjoy immediately.
*Pizza is my favorite food by far. When I worked in Italy I ate pizza at least a couple times a week. There were two main types of pizza where I was in Italy. The first being the thin crust Napoletana style pizzas served in the pizzerias. They are absolutely amazing, light, crisp and flavorful; and for good reason, they are very, very hard to duplicate at home without the proper oven and some extensive knowledge.
The second type was the thicker “pizza al taglio” (pizza by the slice) baked in large square pans, sliced into squares and reheated upon order at small counter service shops or kiosks. This style is much more similar to our deep dish, or home style pan pizza, and is easily replicable in a home oven with authentic “pizza al taglio” quality.
**No matter what your topping preference is, this easy dough recipe and cooking technique for pan pizza will work very well at home. It is light and delicious simply with tomato, basil, and mozzarella but thick enough to hold up to that meat lovers deluxe combo as well.
***I like to take this base tomato basil pizza and add sliced prosciutto, arugula, shaved parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon on top of it when it comes out of the oven for a filling yet refreshing all-in-one meal.