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Mark Benvenuto's pizza

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December 12, 2007

Makes 1 large pizza

SAUCE

1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1. In a food processor, work the tomatoes to form a puree.

2. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl. Add the vinegar, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion.

DOUGH

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 105 degrees)
3 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup cold water
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, very thinly sliced

1. In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup of warm water; set aside for 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, sift the flour; stir in the salt with the yeast mixture and 1 cup cold water. Mix with a spoon until the mixture forms a dough. Turn it out onto a floured counter and knead for 5 minutes. If dough is very sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, but do not add more than you need to keep dough from sticking. Shape the dough into a ball. Set it over a clean bowl and coat it with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Drop it into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours or for up to 72 hours.

3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough lightly. Let it sit for 2 hours or until it reaches room temperature.

4. Place a pizza stone or unglazed quarry tiles on the lowest shelf of the oven. Set oven at 550 degrees. Have on hand an 11-by-17-inch pan or another pan about the same size. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil on the pan.

5. Transfer dough to pan, and shape it with your hands to fit the pan. Spread sauce on top, then add the cheese.

6. Bake the pizza on the hot stone or tiles for 16 minutes or until the crust is cooked through.

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