The hubby makes some of the best sauce around, something he learned from his awesome Italian mother. We always eat this yummy goodness with all the meats it's cooked with... sausage, ribs, and his incredible homemade meatballs. This also usually includes chicken cutlets or eggplant, and of course pasta.
When we have the last bit of sauce and meat leftover we use it for homemade pizza. Every time Jay makes a batch of sauce, I eagerly anticipate this meal. After trying out countless dough recipes, this is the one we stuck to. It's the slightly tweaked version of "Basic Pizza Dough" from The Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.
Perfect Pizza Dough
makes 2 - 12" pizzas
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- Extra virgin olive oil (1 Tbsp for dough, 1 tsp for the bowl)
- 1 Tbsp salt
- A baking stone
- A baking peel (paddle)
1. Dissolve the yeast completely in a large bowl by stirring it into 1/4 cup lukewarm water. When dissolved, in 10 mins or less, add 1 cup flour and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon . Then, as you continue to stir, gradually add 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp salt, 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 1 cup more flour. When putting in flour and water for the last time, hold back some of both and add only as much of either as you need to make the dough manageable, soft, but not too sticky. **NOTE - you can also use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer on low instead of the spoon.
2. Take the dough out of the bowl, and slap it down very hard against the work counter several times, until it is stretched out to a length of about 10 inches. Reach for the far end of the dough, fold it a short distance toward you, push it away with the heel of your palm, flexing your wrist, fold it and push it away again, gradually rolling it up and bringing it close to you. Rotate the dough a one-quarter turn, pick it up and slap it down hard, repeating the entire previous operation. Give it another one-quarter turn in the same direction and repeat the procedure for about 10 minutes. Pat the kneaded dough into a round shape. **NOTE - you can also use the dough hook attachment of a stand mixer on stir for 10 minutes instead of kneading.
3. Film the inside of a clean bowl with 1 tsp olive oil, put in the dough, cover with plastic wrap and put the bowl in a protected, warm corner. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in volume, about 3 hours. It can also sit a while longer.
4. At least 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, put the baking stone in the over and preheat oven to 550 degrees.
5. Sprinkle the baker's peel generously with flour. Take the risen dough out of the bowl and divide it in half. Put one of the two halves back into the bowl and cover it while you roll out the other half. Put that half on the peel and flatten it as thin as you can, opening it out into a circular shape, using a rolling pin, but finishing the job with your fingers. Leave the rim somewhat higher than the rest.
6. Put the topping of your choice on the dough, and slide it, jerking the peel sharply away, onto the preheated baking stone. Bake for 12 minutes or slightly more, until the dough becomes colored a light golden brown. Keep a close eye on it! (While the first pizza is baking, follow the same procedure for thinning the remaining dough and topping it, slipping it into the oven when the first pizza is done).
It really is the perfect dough! Maybe one day my hubby will let me divulge his recipe for the perfect meatballs & sauce.