This could also be called the Whole Foods Pizza, as the dough was bought, pre-made and raw (along with all the other ingredients), from there. Many Pizza-purists will argue that making the dough from scratch is half the fun – and it makes up a huge portion of the taste – but this recipe takes a short cut on the crust. However, it does make the sauce from scratch (or, more specifically, using canned, San Marzano tomatoes).
The goal here was to make a very thin, very crispy, traditional Naples pizza that has a rough-around-the-edges character.
Let the dough stand at room temperature for several hours if you can. If you are only making one 14-16″ pizza (for 2-3 people) use only 1/2 the dough ball (which is 1/2 lb).
The shopping list should include: buffalo milk mozzarella (the small, Bocconcini style, if you can – Naples pizza has always used buffalo milk mozzarella, according to my sources), uncured pepperoni, 1-2 links sweet Italian sausage, 1 small can (10 oz) chopped San Marzano tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, 2 cloves garlic, fresh oregano, brown sugar and salt & pepper.
Pre-heat the oven to 450.
Sauce: in a medium saucepan sauté the 2 cloves cloves of garlic, thinly chopped, and 2 Tbsp fresh oregano (also chopped) in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Just get it to be fragrant, about 30 secs. Add the tomatoes, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1/3 cup red wine, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste (you can also add about 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper here if you want a bit more bite). Let this simmer until reduced by a third and thickened – about 10-12 mins. Remove from heat and gently puree with a hand-held immersion blender, just to get a better “sauce” consistency. Set aside.
Chop the sausages into 1″ sections and quickly brown in a pan with a little olive oil. Smash them down with the back of a wooden spoon as you cook them just to give them a better shape and to ensure they cook through. About 5-8 mins. Remove from heat and set aside.
Grease your pizza pan with 1.5 Tbsp olive oil and about 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder. Cover the whole surface of the pizza pan using a paper towel to spread the oil and garlic thinly.
Now, the crust. First, make sure you have some flour – make sure the ball is dusted with it, your hands, the surface you’re working on – otherwise it will stick everywhere.
Then, there’s a couple of ways to go – the toss, the roll or the kneed. I’m not a great tosser (pun intended), so we don’t attempt the throw-and-spin-it-into-the-air show. A rolling pin on a floured surface will work fine and tends to give the best overall consistency to the dough from side-to-side, end-to-end.
But I tend to go for the more imperfect and less neat route of using my floured-hands-and-fingertips to gently pull the dough out into a disk, holding it in my hands like I’m playing Cat’s Cradle. Inevitably, smallish holes will appear in parts of the dough and I’ll try to patch them up as I go along – but once I have a 10″ or so “disk” of dough, I place it on the greased pizza tray and gently push the edges out into a wider, 14-16″ circle, again, patching up the holes as I go along. If you’re using only 1/2 lb of dough, the crust should be pretty thin, which is good. It probably won’t be perfectly round, but will have that bumpy oval shape that gives it character.
The next step is the key to the “crispy” crust: before putting anything on the crust itself, place it into the pre-heated oven on its own. After about 1-2 mins in the oven, make sure it hasn’t shrunk and push the edges back out towards the edge of the pizza tray if need be. Let it bake another 5 mins until it is just set and not yet browning.
Remove the crust from the oven and spread about 2-3 Tbsp of sauce all around it, from edge to edge. Don’t use too much. Then place the browned sausage pieces evenly throughout, followed by the pepperoni slices. And finally, chop the Buffalo milk mozzarella balls into 1/2-3/4″ pieces and place them throughout. If you keep most of the pepperoni uncovered it should get crisp too, which is good.
Place the whole thing in the oven – for 12-18 min depending on your level of “crispy” satisfaction.
Remove, slice and serve.