This recipe makes 2 rounds of dough, one of which can be wrapped well and frozen or kept on hand if a do-over is needed.
Yield: Makes 2 crusts and topping for one 10-inch pie (1 generous serving)
- For the dough
- 2 cups flour preferably "00," plus more for the work surface
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 to 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- Pinch salt
- Cornmeal, for dusting the baking surace
- For the cheese topping
- 1/3 cup Italian fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, thinly sliced with vegetable peeler
- For the white sauce
- 2 medium cloves garlic, cut into very thin slices (optional)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or italian seasoning (optional)
For the dough: Lightly flour a work surface; use 1 tablespoon of oil to grease the inside of each of 2 medium mixing bowls.
Heat the water in a microwave oven on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds, until it is tepid (about 100 degrees). Add the honey and yeast; use a whisk to mix thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, until it is frothy.
Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, slowly pour in the water-yeast mix until a slightly wet ball of dough forms. Transfer to the prepared work surface and knead for 10 minutes on a floured surface. The dough should gain elasticity as it is worked.
Divide the dough in half, forming 2 equal balls. Place a ball in each oiled bowl and turn until it is well coated. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean, dry dish towel. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour at room temperature. (At this point, 1 ball of dough can be refrigerated, well covered, for a day or two, or wrapped well in plastic wrap and a heavy-duty resealable plastic food storage bag and frozen for 2 weeks.)
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, preferably with rectangular pizza stones on the top and middle shelves; that can take 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Punch down the ball of dough and gradually press it out into a round about 10 inches in diameter. If you are using a pizza peel (paddle) to transfer the pie to the oven, sprinkle it liberally with cornmeal and transfer the round of dough to the peel.
For the cheese topping: Combine the cheeses in a medium bowl.
For the white sauce: Brush or drizzle the olive oil evenly over the dough circle, then scatter the sliced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes to taste, rosemary and dried oregano or Italian seasoning. Distribute the cheese evenly over the top.
When ready to bake, drizzle a little olive oil over the toppings. Liberally sprinkle the middle-rack pizza stone with cornmeal (if not using a pizza peel). Transfer the pie to the middle-rack stone; bake for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.
From Washington food writer Melissa McCart.
Tested by Jill Grisco.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.