I live in what was traditionally Little Italy, an area called Commercial Drive. There are two big pizza places, a divorced couple who hate each other and own two competing, but equally horrible overpriced restaurants across the street from each other. There were a couple cheap slice joints, you those weird ones that put sesame seeds on the crust? Those kinds of cheap slice joints.
Then a couple years ago there was a bit of an outcry that there was no good proper pizza in Vancouver. And then two years ago was the year pizza came to the city. In droves. There is pizza everywhere.
Here’s the thing of it. I love pizza. Good proper Neopolitan pizza is hard to beat. And I eat it all the time.
The best pizza joint in the city is now 3 blocks away from my house. And a totally reasonably good place is 1 block from my house. And it has this lunch special, and I am there all the time. All the time!
And while pizza isn’t expensive, I have decided that this year is the year to not go out for cheapy lunches and to make dinner at home more.
So I’m going to start making pizza at home. Partly to save money, yes, I’ll admit to that, but largely because I can make proper pizza at home. And it’s unbelievably easy.
Heres the thing of it, you don’t knead the dough. And you don’t cook the sauce.
Are you ready to make wonderful pizza at home without kneading the dough or cooking the sauce?
I thought so.
No Knead Margherita Pizza
Adapted from the Sullivan St. Bakery
31/2 cups AP Flour
1tsp Dry Active Yeast
2tsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm Water
1cup Strained Tomatoes
A good glug of Olive Oil
4 balls of Fresh Mozzarella
A Handful of Fresh Basil
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan or Grana Padano
With a wooden spoon mix all the dough ingredients in a large bowl. When it’s all combined cover it with plastic wrap and leave it. Forget about it for 18 hours! This is sort of a loose measure of time, I make mine before I go to bed and it works out beautiful when I make dinner, but I have also been impatient and used the dough and made pizza for lunch and it worked really well too. I’d say 13-20 hours is the range really.
When your ready the dough will make 2 big pizzas.
Preheat your oven as hot as it will go. Mine is 500F. If you have a pizza stone, use it. If not, just take an old baking sheet and put that in your oven and let it get toasty hot. Once the oven is hot enough let it sit at that temperature for at least 15 minutes before you start working on the dough.
The dough will be very soft and sticky so use lots of flour. The first rule of dough is not to roll it. Carefully with your fingers streth the dough out, I find it easiest to hold the dough in the air put your clenched fists under it and gently pull them apart. The dough will get thin, then put it on a well floured surface and use your fingertips to stretch out the edges.
Generously flour a rimless baking sheet or the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet.
Put the dough on top of that.
Use half the strained tomatoes and spread over the dough leaving a half inch of space around the edges for the crust.
Drizzle the olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt (you could mix all the these things ahead of time, but then you’d have to clean another bowl, which is something I avoid like the plague.)
Cut the cheese thinly and put 2 balls worth on each pizza.
Take out your pizza stone or baking sheet. With quick jerking motions slide the pizza off your cold tray and onto the hot one. Immediately put it in the oven.
I have what might possibly be the worst oven of all time. If your oven cooks as unevenly as mine you’ll have to rotate your halfway through cooking, although if you can keep the oven shut that’s the best thing.
After 2 minutes of baking turn the broiler on for 2 minutes. This should help the dough get a bit charred. After 4 minutes your pizza should be done.
Get it out of the oven, sprinkle with parm and torn basil and eat while it is still piping hot!
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