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Pepperoni pizza

August 12, 2009

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Makes three 11-by-16-inch rectangular pizzas

This is a very soft dough. It absorbs a fair amount of flour during kneading. If you want to make two pizzas and use the third for bread, see instructions opposite.

DOUGH

8 3/4 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
Olive oil (for the bowl)
1. In a large mixing bowl combine 7 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt.

2. In another bowl, combine the water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on the water mixture; set aside for 5 minutes.

3. With a wooden spoon, slowly stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. The dough is very soft (do not add more flour at this point).

4. Dust a clean dish towel with flour and set it loosely on the bowl, floured side down. Set the bowl in a warm place and leave to rise for 3 hours or until more than doubled in bulk.

5. With a rubber spatula or scraper, scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl into the center.

6. On a counter, spread 3/4 cup flour. Scrape the dough onto the flour. Sprinkle with another 1/2 cup flour. Flour your hands and begin gently kneading the dough, incorporating the flour as you go. You may have to add additional flour. Knead the dough for about 7 minutes or until it is smooth and no longer sticks to your hands.

7. Wash and dry the dough bowl. Rub the inside with olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for 30 minutes.

TOPPING

Tomato sauce (see recipe opposite)
12ounces pepperoni, sliced (enough to make 3 cups)
4 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup Parmesan or romano cheese (for sprinkling)
3 teaspoons crushed red pepper (for sprinkling)
1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Have on hand 3 jelly roll pans (about 11-by-16-inches).

2. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Sprinkle flour on the counter. Set 1 piece on it. With your hands or a floured rolling pin, flatten the dough to a small rectangle. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and gently stretch with your fingertips and the palms of your hands so it fits the pan.

3. Ladle 1 cup of sauce on the dough and spread it with the back of the ladle. Add 1 cup of the pepperoni and press the slices gently into the sauce. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan or romano cheese.

4. Set the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. With a metal spatula, lift up a corner of the pizza to see if the crust is golden; cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes, if necessary, watching that it doesn’t burn. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the red pepper.

5. Repeat with remaining dough, pepperoni, and cheese. Adapted from Concetta Cucinotta and Angela Molinario