Making and Baking the Pie

These simple steps yield a perfect pizza.


For many of their pizzas, the cooks at Pizzeria Mozza use an uncooked sauce of pureed canned tomatoes. It has a brighter tomato flavor and a more vivid color than the sweet, thick, long-simmered sauces commonly found on American pizzas. To make the sauce, put one 28-oz. can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor, along with 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. dried basil, 2 minced cloves garlic, and half a grated medium onion. Puree and season with salt and pepper.


Dust a 16 1⁄4" x 12 1⁄4" sheet of parchment paper with flour and lightly flour your hands. Place a ball of dough (see ** Squash Blossom Pizza**) in the center and use your fingertips to press, pat, and stretch the dough into a 10" circle, leaving a 1" rim of thicker dough. Once you become more comfortable with the dough, try this technique: make two fists and rest the flattened dough on your knuckles; lightly bounce the dough on your fists, allowing the weight of the dough to stretch it gently. If you like, make an extra batch of dough to use just for practice, until you've found a technique that works for you.


To make a fluffier, chewier crust, leave the shaped dough on the parchment paper, covered with a tea towel, and let it rise for 15 minutes.


Uncover the dough and top with the sauce and other desired ingredients. When you're ready to bake, just leave the pizza on the parchment paper, lift it by gripping the paper at opposite corners, and lay it carefully atop the preheated pizza stone; this eliminates the need for a pizza peel, the paddle-like tool used for getting pies in and out of hot ovens at restaurants. The paper will turn dark but will not burn in a 500º oven and is thin enough not to interfere with the browning of the crust. When the pizza is done, use a metal spatula to slide the pizza onto a plate or a cutting board.

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