Victoria's Tomato & Basil Pizza
The best way to put pizza in the oven is to use a pizza peel, a flat, shovel like tool. Prepare the pizza on the peel and with a firm flick of the wrist, slide the pizza onto a preheated pizza pan. For the crust, you can substitute unbleached flour for semolina flour.
For The Dough:
- 1 Cup Water (About 110° F)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast – 2 1/4 Teaspoons
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Olive Oil For The Bowl & Brushing:
- 1 1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour Plus More For Working
- 1 Cup Semolina Flour Plus More For Dusting
- 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
For The Sauce:
- 28 Ounces Whole Peeled Plum tomatoes With Juice
- 3 Minced Garlic Cloves
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Chopped Shallots
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
For The Toppings:
- 12 Ounces Sliced Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 Sliced Tomato
- 1 Cup Pitted Olives
- 2 Tablespoons Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
- 12 Fresh Basil Leaves
To make the dough, pour the water into a bowl. Add the sugar and yeast. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. Let the yeast mixture stand for five minutes until foamy. Add the oil, flours and salt. Mix with an electric mixer until all of the ingredients are combined. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times with floured hands until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free, place for about 3 hours and the dough has doubled in size. You can also let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight if you wish.
To make the sauce, place the tomatoes in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Set aside. Put the garlic and oil into a saucepan and cook over a medium high heat for 40 seconds or until the garlic sizzles. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a medium low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. The sauce may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Preheat your oven to 450 F. Preheat a pizza pan. Punch down the dough and transfer to a floured work surface. Divide the dough in half. Set half of the dough aside and cover with plastic wrap. Roll out the remaining dough to 12 inches round. You will want your dough to be ¼ to ½ inch thick. Sprinkle the pizza peel with semolina flour and place the rolled dough on top. Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil. Spread with ½ cup sauce, leaving a ½ inch border. Top with half of the sliced tomatoes and basil. Top with half of the mozzarella. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan and season with pepper.
Slide the pizza onto the heated pan in the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the dough is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Meanwhile, repeat the process with the remaining dough. Let each pizza cool slightly. Cut into slices and serve. Makes 2 pizzas.