Pizza came to America from Southern Italy in the early 1900s when millions of Italian immigrants descended on New York City and Brooklyn. The quintessential New York pie features big, wide slices that encourage folding (that often results in grease-stained clothing for the uninitiated). Ordered by the slice (i.e. “gimme 2 slices”) or whole pie, these hand-tossed beauties are most often light on the sauce and heavy on the cheese. Baked in super-hot coal or wood-fired ovens, New York pizza boasts a crunchy-yet-pliable thin crust that New Yorkers sprinkle generously with crushed hot red pepper, oregano, and parmesan cheese before folding in half to eat by hand.
New York Cheese Pizza
- 2 rimmed baking pans or pizza stone and paddle
- Food processor with chopping and shredding attachments (or hand cheese shredder)
- Medium saucepan
NY Pizza Dough
- 3 cups Bread flour
- 1⅛ cup Water, luke warm
- ½ tsp Instant dry yeast
- 1¼ tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp Cornmeal
NY Pizza Sauce
- 28 oz Can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp Dried oregano
- 1 pinch Crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp Dried basil
- 1 pinch Kosher salt
- 1 medium Onion, peeled and cut in half
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 lb Full-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
- ½ cup Sliced pepperoni or cooked Italian sausage, mushroom, onion, or anything else that sounds interesting
- Combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 4 times to incorporate. Add olive oil and water. Run food processor until mixture forms a ball above the blade, around 15 seconds. Continue processing another 15 seconds. Be careful not to overprocess.
- Transfer dough ball to lightly floured surface, knead twice by hand to form a smooth ball. Divide dough into 2 equal balls. Lightly flour balls and place each ball in a plastic freezer bag. Place in refrigerator for 2-3 days to rise.
- One hour before baking, remove dough balls from refrigerator to come to room temperature. At the same time, preheat oven to 550°F (275°C) with 2 large rimmed baking pans inside.
Make Pizza Sauce
- Pour tomatoes with juices into food processor. Pulse to to cut into tiny cubes, neither completely smooth nor with visible chunks. Set aside.
- Melt butter with oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, basil, and a pinch of salt. Stir until fragrant but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, onion halves, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to lowest setting. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 1 hour. Discard onion halves and season with salt. Sauce can be made several days in advance and kept refrigerated until ready to use.
Assemble and Bake Two Pizzas
- Place shredded mozzarella cheese in freezer. Flour a clean work surface. Take 1 dough ball at a time and stretch into an 8-inch circle with your hands. Leave a 1-inch rim around the edge that's slightly higher than the rest of the pie. Gently stretch dough by draping it over your knuckles, forming a 14-inch circle, ¼-inch thick. Remove baking trays from oven and working quickly, sprinkle cornmeal over the bottom of the pans, lay the pizza on top of the cornmeal. toppings. Spread ½ cup of tomato sauce over the dough, stopping 1-inch from the edge. Evenly spread 1 cup cheese over the sauce. Repeat on other pizza. Add any toppings you might want at this point.Quickly place both pizzas in the blazing hot oven and bake until browned on the top and the cheese is bubbling, about 5 minutes if oven can reach 550°F (275°C), if not cook pizza a few minutes longer. Outside rim will develop some browned blisters when done. Remove from oven, transfer to a cutting board, and slice each pie into 6 or 8 slices. Serve immediately.
- Store extra dough balls in the freezer. Defrost in refrigerator for 24 hours before using.