Saturday, April 19, 2014

NY Style Cheese Pizza

My Dad grew up in the New York and New Jersey areas.

He definitely instilled in me a love for a good thin crust pizza smothered in bubbly cheese and fold-able.... Totally fold-able (please don't eat your pizza with a knife and fork.... ever).

I know there are debates about pizza all over the world; stuffed crust, thin crust, covered in meat, deep dish. It's all about personal preference, really. And mine is a classic, thin crust pizza, oozing with 3 cheeses, fresh basil, and a homemade sweet tomato sauce.

If you're a fan of thin crust pizza, this one is definitely for you.

And Dad? This post is for you :)

For the Crust:
(makes enough for 2 pizzas)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

For the Sauce:
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dash of red pepper flakes
2 basil leaves, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
1 teaspoon sugar

For the Topping:
(topping is enough for 1 pizza, double if using both crusts)
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 basil leaves

Start by making your crust:
Place water in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the kneading attachment.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, dry yeast, salt, and sugar. Slowly add into the water and turn mixer on to medium speed. When the dough begins to come together add in the olive oil. The dough will be sticky, if the dough is too sticky, add more flour. DO NOT OVER MIX.
Remove dough and divide in half. Place dough pieces into a large zip lock bag and place in your refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight (which is best).

Now it's time to make your sauce. In your blender add the whole tomatoes (with juice),basil, and quartered onion. Blend for 30 seconds or just until the tomatoes are mashed and the basil and onion have been incorporated. Set aside.
In a sauce pan, melt the butter and olive oil together until small bubbles form. Add in the garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and pinch of salt and cook until fragrant but not browned, around 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato puree and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Sauce should be reduced by about half.
Remove thickened sauce and set aside to cool.

Remove dough pieces from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temp slightly, this makes the dough easier to work with.

On a lightly floured surface roll out pizza to about 12 inches in diameter or large enough to fit your pizza circle. Do not beat the dough, gently roll or stretch with hands.

Place pizza circle on center rack in oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

Spread a thin layer of sauce on top of the pizza leaving about an inch around the edges for crust.

Sprinkle with 3 cheeses evenly and sprinkle the top of the cheese with chopped basil. 

Carefully remove pizza circle from oven and lightly grease with olive oil and a sprinkle of corn meal. Transfer pizza with a large spatula to dough circle and place back in the middle rack of the oven. The hot circle ensures a crispy bottom.

Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted, the crust is crisp, and the bottom has browned.
Remove, slice, and serve!

I just love the hints of fresh basil, the gooey cheese, crispy thin crust, and sweet sauce.

This is the pizza of my dreams, y'all!

*sauce recipe from Serious Eats

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