Making pizza is an ideal activity for those who like to live the Italian way vicariously. And for the lucky ones, it is a ritualistic way to return to their roots. Start by making your dough (pasta). Let it rise (falla lievitare), punch it down (sgonfiala), and toss it into the air (gettala in aria). After enough pulling and stretching, the dough should surrender into a thin elastic circle.
Brush a rich tomato sauce onto the dough, swishing back and forth as if painting a vast fresco. Imported canned tomatoes make a fine sauce. Scatter cheese (il formaggio), basil (il basilico), and one or two other carefully selected ingredients over the sauce. Be discerning; your pizza and toppings need to get along. Classic combinations exist for a reason. Some are so loved, they are ordered by name: pizza margherita (tomato, mozzarella, and basil) and pizza quattro stagioni (ham, mushrooms, artichokes, and anchovies), for example. Pizza prosciutto is also a favorite, with prosciutto, artichokes, and mozzarella.
When you finish scattering the mozzarella, clap your hands together right above the pizza (this is essential). Half blessing and half suggestion, it is a hint that the pizza should behave. Place it in a very hot oven (il forno), using a pizza peel sprinkled with flour. Then close the door, and wait for it to emerge -- thin, golden, hot, and bubbly. Perfetto.
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Recipes for Pizza Dough
We have some of the most delicious recipes for pizza dough you'll find on the internet. Here are our favorites:
If you're looking for a fast, go-to recipe, this one can't be beat. It rquires five ingredients and three steps.
Chef Jaime Oliver, a friend of Martha, shared this fantastic pizza dough recipe on an episode of Martha Stewart's show back in 2008.
Chef Chris Bianco shared this rather intricate (but oh-so worth it) recipe for pizza dough with us.
Looking for a twist on the ordinary? This pizza dough recipe has a toasty hazelnut flavor and can be used to make a variety of pizzas. Click through to find out.
How to Make Pizza Sauce
Looking for a basic recipe for making sweet, tangy, delectable tomato sauce for your pizza? Instead of making traditional Italian marinara sauce, which can take hours to simmer to perfection, try this quick recipe, which uses plum tomatoes, oregano, pepper, salt, and -- of course -- olive oil. It can be cooked in a skillet (don't be afraid to get your hands dirty squashing up those tomatoes) over a medium-low heat for up to 50 minutes. Add to your homeade pizza dough and top with shredded or fresh, sliced mozzerella, and enjoy this everyday delicacy right at home!
Want to get a little more exotic? Try these ramped-up pizza recipes: