Makes four 7-inch pizzas
|1||pound store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature|
|Flour (for shaping)|
|2||tablespoons olive oil, plus more for sprinkling|
|1||clove of garlic, thinly sliced|
|1||can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes|
|1/2||cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped|
|Coarse semolina flour or cornmeal (for sprinkling)|
|10||ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into 16 thin pieces|
1. Set the oven at 550 degrees. Place a pizza stone in the top third of the oven. Let it heat for 45 minutes.
2. Punch down the dough. Divide it into 4 equal balls. Dust each lightly with flour and cover 3 of them with a clean towel.
3. Using a rolling pin, roll the remaining ball of dough firmly and evenly, flattening it to a 5-inch disk. Dust with flour when the dough becomes sticky. Using your palms and fingertips, stretch the dough, Notes: shaping it into a 7-inch round. Slip it under the towel and shape the remaining rounds. Let them rest under the towel for 15 minutes.
4. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the garlic over medium heat. Cook the garlic for 2 minutes or until it is fragrant but not colored. Add the tomatoes, salt, and sugar. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the basil leaves and set the sauce aside.
5. Scatter coarse semolina or cornmeal onto the surface of a wooden pizza peel, cutting board, or rimless baking sheet. Place one piece of dough on it. With the back of a spoon, spread about 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce on the round, then add 4 small pieces of mozzarella. Sprinkle with extra oil.
6. Slide the pizza off the board or sheet onto the hot stone. Bake for 3 minutes or until the crust is firm and golden. Remove the pizza from the oven with a wide spatula and transfer it onto a plate. Sprinkle a few of the remaining basil leaves on top. Repeat with the other 3 rounds of dough. - Jonathan Levitt