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Individual margherita flatbreads

April 8, 2009

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Makes 12

Anthony de Palma of Dolce de Palma recommends finding fresh yeast at a specialty grocery or your local baker. It adds complexity to the flavor of the flatbread, he says. You can freeze the dough, in pieces, for up to 3 weeks; thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for 2 hours.

DOUGH

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ounce fresh yeast or 2 envelopes dry yeast
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
Olive oil (for the bowl)

1. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the water with the sugar. Crumble or sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling.

2. In another bowl, stir together the remaining 1 cup water and olive oil. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. With a wooden spoon, make a well in the flour and add the yeast mixture. Mix to combine. Slowly add the oil mixture and stir well until you form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead until the mixture is smooth. Scrape out the bowl.

4. Add a drop of olive oil to the bowl. Return the dough to it and turn it to coat it all over with oil. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.

MARINARA AND GARNISH

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 can (28 ounces) whole imported tomatoes, pureed in blender
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves torn
1. In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until softened. Add the mint and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more.

2. Stir in the tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring often, for 20 minutes. Cool and set aside.

3. On the counter, punch down the dough. Divide it into 12 pieces. Leave them on the counter, cover with a cloth, and let them rise for 30 minutes.

4. Set the oven at 500 degrees. Heat a pizza stone if you have one.

5. With your hands, shape the dough into rounds about 1/8 inch thick. Cook the rounds 2 at a time on the pizza stone (or on a baking sheet) for 2 to 3 minutes or until the bottoms are brown and crisp.

6. Remove the rounds from oven and turn them over. Spoon some of the marinara sauce on each one. Top with mozzarella. Return to the oven and cook for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil. Adapted fromDolce de Palma