Pour-in-the-Pan Pizza with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Start to finish: 6 hours (35 minutes active)
Servings: 4 to 6
The crust for this pizza borrows from the Milk Street recipe for a light, open-crumbed
focaccia, our re-creation of the focaccia we encountered in Bari, Italy. The pizza dough is
unusual in a couple ways: It uses so much water that it verges on a batter and it rises for
at least four hours on the counter (be sure to place the bowl in a warm spot). After rising,
the dough is poured out onto a greased 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet (also known
as a half sheet pan) to rest for 20 minutes before being nudged with oiled fingers to the
edges of the pan. Instead of making a single large pizza, you could make two 12-inch pies
using low-lipped, disk-shaped pizza pans, like the ones used in American-style pizzerias; see the directions below.
Don’t forget to mist the baking sheet with cooking spray. The olive oil alone isn’t enough to prevent sticking; a coating of cooking spray is important to ensure the pizza releases easily. Don’t use fresh mozzarella; it contains too much moisture and will make the surface of the pizza soggy. Likewise, be sure to drain the juices from the tomatoes.
400 grams (23⁄4 cups plus 21⁄2 tablespoons) bread flour
2 teaspoons white sugar
Two 1⁄4-ounce packets instant yeast (41⁄2 teaspoons)
11⁄2 cups water, 100°F to 110°F
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for oiling your hands
1 pound Campari or cherry tomatoes
6 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (3 cups)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
In a stand mixer with the dough hook, mix the flour, sugar and yeast on medium until combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer running, add the water and mix on medium until a sticky dough forms, about 5 minutes; scrape the bowl and dough hook once during mixing. Turn off the mixer and let rest 10 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons salt and mix on medium for another 5 minutes. The dough will be shiny, wet and elastic.
Coat a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Mist a silicone spatula with cooking spray and use it to scrape the dough into the bowl. Flip the dough with the spatula to oil all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 4 to 5 hours.
When the dough is ready, generously mist a 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, then pour 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil onto the center of the baking sheet. Gently scrape the dough onto the center of the sheet and let rest, uncovered, for
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the lowest position. If using Campari tomatoes, cut them into quarters; if using cherry tomatoes, cut them in half. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and mash gently with a potato masher. Transfer to a fine- mesh strainer set over a bowl and set aside to drain until ready to use.
After the dough has rested, oil your hands, and, working from the center, gently push it into an even layer to the edges and into the corners of the baking sheet; be careful not to press out all of the air. It’s fine if the dough does not completely fill the pan, but it should come close.
Drizzle the tomatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then toss. Scatter over the
dough, leaving a narrow border. Let rest for another 30 minutes. Scatter the cheese over
the dough, then sprinkle with the oregano, pepper and kosher or flaky salt (if using). Bake until the surface of the pizza is golden brown and the bottom is crisped and well browned, 18 to 20 minutes. Slide the pizza from the pan onto a wire rack and cool for a few minutes before slicing.
How to Make Two 12-Inch Round Pizzas
Follow the recipe to make and rise the dough. When the dough is ready, generously mist two 12-inch round pizza pans with cooking spray, then pour 1 tablespoon oil onto the center of each. Scrape half the dough onto the center of each pan. Continue with the recipe, allowing the dough to rest for 20 minutes before pushing it to the edges of the pans and adding toppings. Bake one at a time, reducing the baking time to 12 to 15 minutes.
To Top It Off
Because pour-in-the-pan pizza dough is extremely wet, it’s important to use toppings
that are dry, or the pie will bake up with a soggy surface. The following are some of our
favorite toppings; we suggest using no more than two in addition to the tomatoes and
mozzarella. Scatter the ingredient(s) onto the tomato-topped dough just before adding the cheese. If you are using high-sodium toppings, such as olives or capers, you may wish to skip the salt that’s sprinkled on before baking.
o Sliced pepperoni or salami
o Black or green olives, pitted and
o Roasted red peppers, patted dry and
cut into strips
o Marinated artichoke hearts, patted dry
and cut into chunks
o Capers, drained and patted dry
Shaved Fennel, Mushroom and Parmesan Salad
Start to finish: 15 minutes
This is an elegant take on an American favorite: the Italian deli salad. We dressed
thinly sliced vegetables, cheese and salami with a lemony vinaigrette that keeps the
flavors bright and fresh. The salad tastes best the day it’s made, but still is delicious if
refrigerated overnight; bring to room temperature before serving.
Don’t attempt to slice your own salami on the mandoline. It’s best to purchase it already sliced. Don’t worry if the Parmesan ends up in irregular shapes and sizes after slicing. This adds to the visual appeal of the salad.
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
6 peperoncini, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin rings, plus 1 tablespoon brine
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and halved
8 ounces white button mushrooms, stemmed
3-ounce chunk Parmesan cheese (without rind)
2 ounces thinly sliced salami, chopped
3⁄4 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, garlic, peperoncini brine and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
Adjust the blade of your mandoline to slice 1/16 inch thick. One at a time, hold each fennel half by the base and slice against the grain as far as is safe; discard the base. Transfer to a large bowl. Next, slice each mushroom cap on the mandoline and add to the bowl. Finally, slice the Parmesan on the mandoline, roughly crumbling any large slices, and add to the fennel-mushroom mixture.
Add the peperoncini, salami and parsley to the bowl, then toss. Drizzle with the dressing and toss again.
Inverted Pizza with Onions, Potatoes and Thyme
Start to finish: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
In “Tasting Rome,” co-authors Katie Parla and Kristina Gill write about pizza made using an innovative method—pizza al contrario— perfected by Gabriele Bonci of Pizzarium in
Rome. The “toppings” are put into a pan, covered with dough and baked. Once out of
the oven, the pie is inverted, revealing ingredients that have melded with the dough.
The browned crust that formed on top during baking becomes a wonderfully crisp bottom. For weeknight ease, we use store-bought refrigerated pizza dough.
Don’t worry if the rolled dough is a little smaller than the dimensions of the baking
sheet. When it’s laid on top of the hot vegetables, the dough will relax from the warmth, making it easier to stretch.
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, sliced 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch thick
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
11⁄2 pounds store-bought refrigerated pizza dough, room temperature
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
Heat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the lowest position. Mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together the onions, potato, thyme, honey, 3 tablespoons of oil and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Distribute the mixture in an
even layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake without stirring until the onions begin to brown and the potato is softened but not yet fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, on a well-floured counter, gently stretch the dough by hand or roll it with a rolling pin into a rough 12-by-16-inch rectangle (the same dimensions as the baking sheet); work from the center outward to help ensure the dough is of an even thickness. If it is resistant or shrinks after stretching or rolling, wait 5 to 10 minutes before trying again; if it is very elastic, you may need to give it 2 or 3 rests. It’s fine if the dough rectangle is a little smaller than the baking sheet.
When the onion-potato mixture is ready, remove the baking sheet from the oven; leave the oven on. Using both hands and being careful not to touch the hot baking sheet, lay the dough over the vegetables, gently stretching and tucking in the edges as needed so
the dough fills the baking sheet and covers the vegetables. Brush the surface with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then use a fork to poke holes every 2 to 3 inches all the way through the dough. Bake until the surface is well browned, 15 to 17 minutes.
Remove from the oven and immediately invert a wire rack onto the baking sheet. Using potholders or oven mitts, hold the baking sheet and rack together and carefully flip to invert. Lift off the baking sheet. Using a metal spatula, scrape up any onion-potato mixture clinging to the baking sheet and replace it on the pizza. Dollop with the ricotta, cut into pieces and drizzle with additional oil.
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PHOTO CREDITS: CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL’S MILK STREET