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I don't know about you, but I believe the general concensus in the U.S.A. is that New York pizza is the best, that is sure for the" street food" variety. I'm not even disputing the fact that it is better than what you would get in Italy. I live on the West Coast, so what the hey do I know about pizza? I like it, I make it at home, and I don't have a gazillion dollar brick pizza oven to bake it in. I make a pretty good dough, don't get crazy with the toppings, and can get pretty good results in my electric oven or the outdoor gas grill.

Now that we have settled the argument as to where to get the best pizza, we can concentrate on making a respectable pizza at home. I am not going to try to dazzle you with such delights as mango pizza with a jerk chicken topping. Let's just stick to the basics of a good pizza, and you can get crazy when you are home alone in your own kitchen.


INGREDIENTS: Makes (2)  14 inch pizzas

•  3½ cups flour (Caputo Tipo 00 flour if you can find it)
•  1 cup warm water (between 95° and 115° F.)
•  2 T  dry active yeast  (2 tablespoons, I like my dough a little yeasty. You can use less)
•  2 T honey
•  ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
•  ½ tsp. salt


1.  Some food processors come with a dough blade. If you have it use it. If you don't, just use the
     standard cutting blade. 

2.  Pour in warm water. The water should be about 85ºF to 115°F. Test it with your hand. It should feel
     very warm, but comfortable. Add the honey and salt. Mix on low for about 20 seconds. 

3.   Add the yeast and mix on low for another 5 seconds. Add 1 cup of flour, mix on low for 10 seconds.
      Let this mixture rest in the bowl for 5 - 10 minutes to let the yeast get started feasting on the
      "sponge" (The bubbling slurry the flour and honey and yeast will make).
4.   Add the olive oil and mix until blended (about 15 or 20 seconds more). Add the rest of the flour
      (and any other additions) and mix on high for about a minute or two. The dough should turn into
      a ball and roll around the processor bowl.  If the dough does not ball up because it's too dry, add
      water one tablespoon at a time until it does. If your mixture is more like a batter, add flour one
      tablespoon at a time. Adding water or flour as needed to get the right consistency will assure you
      always get a perfect dough. Just remember to do it in small amounts.

5.   Once the dough is balled up, place the ball on a floured board and knead for about a minute. This
      builds the gluten which helps the dough to rise and become fluffy when cooked. Place the dough in
      a plastic grocery bag or a covered bowl and store in a warm, dry area to rise. (Usually takes 45
      minutes to an hour) hours to double in size.**SEE COOK'S NOTE**


1.   After about 45 minutes the dough should have about doubled in size.  Show it who's the boss and
      punch it down. That's right, give it a good smack so it deflates. Let it rise for another hour to an
      hour and a half. The dough is now ready to be rolled out. You can punch the dough down one more
      time if you want and wait another hour or two before rolling out. The choice is yours.

2.   Next procedure is to roll out the dough.  If you are proficient at throwing the dough instead of using
      the rolling pin of the stretching method,  this is the time to strut your stuff and toss away.

3.   This dough can also be made in advance and refrigerated for a day or so, or even frozen. Be sure to
      let the dough come to room temperature before using.

Rolling Out Pizza Dough:

1.   One mistake most people make when working with dough is not using enough muscle. Dough fights
      back. You push it, it pushes back. Don't be afraid of the dough. It won't bite you and you can't really
      damage it, either. When working with dough, use plenty of flour, but don't let it get too dry. It
      should be fun to work with, not too sticky and not too crumbly.

2.   Form it into a flat ball about six to eight inches wide.

3.   Using both hands, one on top of the other, press from the center outwards on it to start stretching
      it out, turning the dough a bit on each push. You can also pick up the dough and squeeze the edges
      of it while turning it like a steering wheel. This allows the weight of the dough to stretch it.

4.   Once the dough is about ½ inch thick all the way around, use a rolling pin to flatten it out to about
      ¼ inch thick. I usually run the pin over once or twice, flip the dough over and give it a quarter turn
      and roll it again to make it even.
5.   Take a fork and put puncture holes all over the dough. This keeps it from bubbling up while cooking
      and it also helps to hold the sauce on as well.

6.   Transfer dough to a pizza peel sprinkled with corn meal or place it on a lightly greased cookie

7.   Top with sauce, cheese and/or toppings and bake in a 450ºF-500°F. oven until the crust is light
      brown.  Bake on either baking stones or on a cookie sheet or a pizza pan.**SEE COOKS NOTES 1**


•  1½ cups San Marzano canned Roma tomatoes, drained and broken up - remove yellow core
•  8 oz. Buffala Mozzarella Cheese or the best fresh cow's milk mozzarella you can find
•  ½ cup fresh basil leaves
•  ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
•  ½ teaspoon sea salt
•  1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
•  1 ball of pizza dough


1.  Shape the dough into a 14 inch round and place the round on a pizza peel coated well with corn

2.  Break up the tomatoes and distribute evenly over the top of the pizza round

3.  Slice the fresh mozzarella cheese and distribute evenly on top of the tomatoes

4.  Spread ⅓ of the basil leaves over the top of the mozzarella

5.  Sprinkle salt and red pepper flakes of the top of the pizza

6.  Drizzle the Tablespoon of olive oil over the whole thing

7.  Cook on a pizza stone in a 450ºF - 500ºF preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the pizza is
     a golden brown on the crust.

8.  Remove from oven,  sprinkle on the remaining basil leaves,  cool for 3 minutes and slice.

1.  If you have plenty of time,  you can cover your bowl of rising dough and place it in the refrigerator to
do an overnight rise.  This makes for a wonderfully light and airy dough,  but most do not like the long
overnight wait.

2.  I have always preferred using a baking stone for pizza or bread dough in general.  I even use a
baking stone on my outdoor gas grill.  They seem to get hotter than metal and give a much better
textured and tasting crust.  You can more easily get the charred marks on your crust without drying
out the whole pizza.

1.  The recipe above is a classic recipe for pizza.  You can alter it by changing the toppings to anything
you like.  The dough recipe is  GUTSY'S BASIC PIZZA DOUGH RECIPE - When all others seem to fail,  this one
keeps on working!  It is compatible with almost all pizzas,  calzones or foccacias.  The topping list is
endless,  but Sausage,  Pepperoni,  Anchovies,  Olives,  Cheese,  Ham & Pineapple "Hawaiian",  Jalapeño,
BBQ chicken,  are all OK here.  Make it your way,  just by changing the ingredients to the ones you like.
Remember,  pizza is a simple dish,  so get carried away and ruin it.



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