Basic Pepperoni Pizza and Four Cheese Pizza

  • Preparation Time40 mins
  • Cooking Time60 mins
  • DifficultyMedium

For the Pizza Dough

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl
1/2 to 3/4 cup store-bought or homemade pizza sauce, recipe follows
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
1 cup pepperoni pieces

For the Four Cheese Pizza

2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
One 3.5-ounce jar pesto
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
4 ounces fontina, grated
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano

For the Tomato Basil Salad

1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pint red grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 pint yellow grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
16 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, plus more if needed
Salt and pepper

For the Pizza Sauce

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup chicken broth
Three 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Pinch sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1. For the pizza dough: Sprinkle the active dry yeast over 1 1/2 cups of warm--not lukewarm--water.

2. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, drizzle in the olive oil and mix until combined. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix until combined.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil and tip the dough in. Form a ball and toss to coat the dough ball in the olive oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 or 4 days refrigerated.

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

3. To prepare the dough for the pizza assembly: Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll out one part as thinly as possible and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough.

For the basic pepperoni pizza: Spread the sauce over the pizza base. Top with the sliced mozzarella and pepperoni.

4. For the four cheese pizza: Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Pour the jar of pesto onto the dough and spread evenly. Add the mozzarella, fontina, goat cheese and Pecorino Romano.

Bake both pizzas until the crusts are golden and the cheese is bubbly, 12 to 15 minutes.

5. For the tomato basil salad: While the pizzas are baking, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a small skillet. Add the garlic and stir, lightly frying for about a minute and removing it from the heat before the garlic gets too brown (it can be golden). Pour it into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the tomatoes, balsamic, basil and some salt and pepper to the bowl. Toss to combine, and then taste and add more basil if needed, and more salt if needed. Set aside.

6. Top the four cheese pizza with the tomato basil salad. Cut the pizzas into slices and serve.

7. To make the pizza sauce: Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a hot pan over medium-high heat. Throw in the garlic and chopped onions and give them a stir. Cook until the onions are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, whisking to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid reduces by half. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar. Add the dried oregano and basil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

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