- 4 cups (625 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 3 teaspoons (15 grams) fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) olive oil
- 1 28-ounce can (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes
- ¼ cup (60 milliliters) olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) for drizzling
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed using the side of your knife
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 2 to 3 basil leaves, roughly torn
- Fine sea salt for the assembled pizza
- Extra-virgin olive oil for the assembled pizza
By Samin Nosrat and Yewande Komolafe
Make the Pizza Dough!
Make the pizza dough 24 hours in advance for quick assembly when you’re ready to eat!
This dough recipe makes enough for six 8-inch pizzas!
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together 1¾ cups (420 milliliters) lukewarm water, the yeast and the olive oil, then pour it into flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, approximately 3 minutes (it’ll be sticky, but don’t worry!). Cover with a damp cloth and let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead lightly until it looks smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Cut dough into 6 equal pieces.
Wrap dough pieces individually in resealable zipper bags and refrigerate for several hours or, for best results, overnight; you can also freeze for future use. (You can use the dough right away, but the time in the fridge makes the dough easier to stretch and gives the pizza better flavor and texture.)
To use dough, form each piece into a smooth, firm ball, and place on a flour-dusted or parchment-lined baking sheet. (If you froze the dough, leave it at room temperature for several hours first, or defrost overnight in the refrigerator.) Flour lightly, cover loosely with plastic wrap and top with a kitchen towel. Leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (this is called proofing), about 30 minutes. Each dough ball will make a 8-inch diameter pizza.
Make the Tomato Sauce!
Pour the tomatoes in a medium bowl and using your clean hands give each tomato a good squeeze to release the juices in the bowl. Break down the whole pieces by tearing apart with your fingers. You should have about 3½ cups crushed tomatoes.
- Pour ¼ cup oil into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Warm up the oil until just shimmering and add the garlic. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir frequently. Cook the garlic pieces until fragrant and just softened, about 2 minutes. Add in the crushed tomatoes and stir. Bring the sauce up to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the sauce to cook, stirring occasionally until it deepens in color, thickens and reduces to about ⅔ of its original volume, about 40 minutes.
Sprinkle in the salt, 2 tablespoon olive oil, stir and remove the pot from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt if necessary. Allow the sauce to cool slightly and use as directed.
Allow the sauce to cool completely and transfer to a storage container with a lid. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or store in the Land of Frozen Foods for up to 1 month.
Half the fun is squishing those whole peeled tomatoes in a bowl with your fingers until they are crushed! But, if you can’t find a can of whole peeled tomatoes at the grocer, substitute with 3 cups crushed tomatoes. It’ll take a bit less time to thicken and reduce, so watch closely after your sauce has simmered for 20 minutes.
Bake the Pizza!
This recipe is for one pizza, but you can make as may as you want!
At least an hour before you plan to bake, place a pizza stone or large, unglazed terra cotta tile on the middle rack of your oven and heat to its highest setting (not broil, though!).
Working on a lightly floured surface, use your hands to stretch the dough into an 8-inch round. Place onto a lightly floured pizza peel or rimless baking sheet. Put the sauce in the center of the dough and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly across the surface, stopping about ½-inch from the edge. Shake the pizza peel slightly to make sure the dough is not sticking. (Gently lift any sections that are sticking and sprinkle the peel with flour.)
Tear the cheese into large, bite-sized pieces and gently place on the sauce. Sprinkle with salt, then carefully slide the pizza directly onto the baking stone in one quick, forward-and-back motion. Cook until the crust has browned on the bottom and the top is bubbling and browning in spots, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Top with basil. Brush the crust lightly with olive oil. Serve hot.
You completed Pizza Margherita.