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Margherita pizzas

February 2, 2011

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Makes four 10-inch pizzas Without a wood-fired oven, you will need a pizza stone and a wooden pizza peel.

DOUGH

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Olive oil (for bowl)

1. In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, sprinkle yeast over water; set aside for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil and honey. Beat to mix.

2. With mixer on low, beat in the whole-wheat flour, salt, and 2 cups of the all-purpose flour. Work until the dough comes together, adding the remaining flour gradually until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball around the dough hook. This should take about 10 minutes. The dough should be very moist, not dry.

3. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

4. Punch the dough down and divide into 4 equal pieces. Let them rest for 10 minutes.

SAUCE

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.

2. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Stir in basil.

PIZZA

Corn meal (for sprinkling)
All-purpose flour (for sprinkling)
2 cups shredded fresh mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
8 leaves fresh basil, shredded

1. One hour before you bake the pizza, place the stone on the floor of the oven (in a gas oven) or the bottom rack (electric). Set the oven at 500 degrees. Sprinkle the peel with cornmeal.

2. Work with 1 ball of dough at a time. On a floured surface, roll or shape the ball into a 10-inch round. Place the dough on the peel. Spoon a ladle of tomato sauce onto the center and spread it out, leaving a rim without sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella, then Parmesan. Scatter with basil.

3. Slide the pizza off the peel onto the stone. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheeses are bubbling. Use the peel to remove the pizza from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack for 1 minute. Cut into slices. Shape, top, and bake remaining pieces of dough in the same way.

Adapted from John Schaub