Tomato & Basil Pizza

pizza pomodoro

My name is Tracy, and I’ve wasted 31 years of my life being afraid to make my own pizza dough.  I’ve used flatbread as a substitute for pizza and yeah, it’s a GREAT substitute…it’s just that I don’t always have the time to make my own dough…and why should I? It never turns out the way I want it to. Some parts are too thick and doughy & not completely cooked. Some sections have holes in them and the middle is always so soggy that the cheese slides right off.  I’ve never been able to shape the dough into a perfect circle because I have some expectation that I can toss the dough into the air like a scene from Mystic Pizza. I really can’t do that and I’m not Julia Roberts.

Then I found this recipe…this fool-proof EASY pizza dough that abolished my pizza dough fears.

top it

Mix dough together. Let it sit. Cut it in half. Let it sit. Pull it across a lubed baking sheet. Heat your oven like a mofo. Top the pizza, bake and BANG. You have a thin crust pizza that tastes it came from a pizza joint. The bottom is nice & crispy and slightly oily. The sauce is sweet & salty and the cheese is absolutely divine. It may not be round and it may not look perfect, but just one bite will make you forget about perfect triangular pizza slices. Those pizzas look silly anyways. This dough is a game changer and I’m a believer.

Other things to note:

    • This recipe makes two pizzas. You can freeze one round of dough or refrigerate it for a day if need be.
    • Don’t be worried if the dough springs back when you shape it. Let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. Gluten is funny. It’s not you.
    • Don’t be nervous if the dough doesn’t seem super wet and smooth after you initially mix the ingredients together. When you let the dough rise in the moist dish towel, all will be good. There’s no knead to worry. ;)
    • If you are making this on a weekend for lunch, start the dough at 9:30am & you should be eating pizza by lunch time.
    • I completed another item from my 31 comes before 32 list! #6. Make my own pizza (and not fail!) Wahoo!

And we’re dough making!

Get the yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl.

yeast sugar salt

Measure out the lukewarm water & bread flour.

bread flour

Add the flour & water to the bowl of yeast, sugar & salt.

water

Mix! Really get in there with your hand…or with your wooden spoon if you’re timid.

mix

Dough. Done.

dough lump

Dough is covered and it sits for 2 hours. Go ride your bike. Read a book. Clean the kitchen. Do jumping jacks.

resting

Dough is ready to be split in half. Do it. Done.

in two

Put dough on a moistened towel. Let sit for 30 minutes. Heat up the oven.

If you just want to make one pizza, this is a good time to put it in a ziploc & freeze it.

I made two in one day. I ate two in one day (with a little help).

resting

Make the tomato sauce. Pulse a can of tomatoes with olive oil & salt in a food processor.

sauce

Lube up a baking sheet. Spread that oil around.

oil

Take the dough and stretch it out.

spread it

Keep stretching it. There could be holes. Fill them in.

keep going

Add the sauce on top…all the way to the edges.

sauce it

Sprinkle on the red pepper, the basil & tear hunks of fresh mozzarella on top. BAKE.

oven in

After about 15-20 minutes it should be done.

done

You made pizza. Dig into that bad boy.

thin & crispy

Btw, I made a potato pizza with the second dough. Wait til you see that HOT Carb on Carb action!


No Knead Pizza Dough

(recipe from My Bread, by Jim Lahey)

Makes: enough dough for two pies baked in 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheets

  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • extra virgin olive oil for pan

In a bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the water, and using a spoon, your hand, or a baker’s plastic bench scraper, mix together until blended — this should take a couple of minutes.

Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours.

Dump out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut it in half. Use both pieces, or save one in the refrigerator (use a zip lock bag) for up to 1 day. Oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet liberally with good extra virgin olive oil. Then gently plop the dough on the pan and stretch and press it out to the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then proceed. The dough is very thin. If it tears, piece it back together.

Let’s make a simple yet ahh-mazing cheese pizza!

Ahh-mazing Cheese Pizza

(slightly adapted from My Bread, by Jim Lahey)

Makes enough for ONE 13 x 18 inch pizza

  • 1- 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 6 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • 12 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat the oven to 500° F.

Use a blender or food processor to pulse together the tomatoes, juice, olive oil and salt until they are chunky. The mixture will be quite liquidy.

Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges. Make sure no sauce piles up in the center of the pie. Sprinkle with a few pinches of red pepper flakes, top with chopped basil and tear pieces of the fresh mozzarella and scatter it over the pie.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are slightly charred. Sprinkle with extra basil and fresh Parmesan cheese and serve hot or at room temperature.

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113 Comments

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  • Vanessa
    May 17, 2011

    I LOVE pizza! I grew up in a pizza shop & I was always watching the boys make pies! Tossing the dough around was such an art form. Thanks for the post, makes me want some serious pizza!

  • May 17, 2011

    Mmm, that looks so good. I love thin crust pizza so I’ll give this a try :)

  • Leah
    May 17, 2011

    I need to get over my pizza dough fears!!! It really doesn’t look that hard, I don’t know why I shy away from it all the time… I will do it. I will!!!!!

  • May 17, 2011

    I really don’t think there is a better flavor combination than tomato, basil and mozzarella. I can’t wait to give this a try!

  • May 17, 2011

    Amazing, and delicious! Mmm homemade pizza is the best!

  • I love making my own pizza’s when I have the time. This looks so tasty!

  • May 18, 2011

    Mmmmm. I normally buy my pizza bases, but I’ll be giving this a try!

  • May 18, 2011

    oh my goodness you reference Mystic Pizza! I adore that movie, Julie Roberts is awesome in it.
    I make my own pizzas, people are always so impressed when you make delicious homemade pizzas loaded with yummy toppings, well done for mastering it!

  • May 18, 2011

    I love home made pizza!! I’m dying to see that potato pizza. Potato and goat cheese pizza with some caramelized onions would be heaven.

  • May 18, 2011

    Looks very yummy.It makes me to have the slice.Love to try it.

  • May 18, 2011

    I’ll have to try this dough recipe! Here’s a little tip to speed you up. :) Microwave a bowl of water until it’s super hot. Push it to the side and pop your covered dough bowl in there and shut it. Cuts that rising time down so much!

    • May 18, 2011

      thanks! I’m going to try that next time.

  • May 18, 2011

    Yum! We’re having pizza tonight (lazy way w/Trader Joe’s dough) & I have been fantasizing about toppings all morning (hmmn broccoli, asparagus, red peppers are all floating in the produce drawer).

    I often resort to Trader Joe’s pizza dough as it is so cheap, but recently I made my own dough with some Fleischmann’s yeast that is sold in packets especially for pizza dough. It didn’t need to rise as long, so that was nice – probably a bit more pricey than regular yeast, but a convenience thing. It came out pretty good.

    I have to say you must get a pizza stone if you want to really take it up a notch. I love mine! It makes the bottom of the crust so much better – I find it stays a little soggier on a regular baking sheet. I just keep it in my oven on the 2nd shelf all the time. Put it on the top shelf when you preheat your oven (I do 450 usually). I then roll my dough out on a piece of parchment & that makes it easy to put on the stone (I just keep it on the parchment while baking). So worth it!

    • May 18, 2011

      Thanks for the tips! This recipe actually requires no pizza stone- the technique of having such a high temp with an olive oiled pan creates an amazing crust!

  • May 18, 2011

    I love that you “lube” your baking sheet. Made me chuckle when i read that.

    • May 18, 2011

      :) LUBE.

      • Jaxx
        May 19, 2011

        Lube is good mmkay?

  • May 18, 2011

    Ahh-mazing indeed! I finally made pizza crust from scratch last summer with a pretty easy recipe, but this seems even easier since there’s no kneading required. Also, I had no idea that tomato sauce could be so simple! Looking forward to the carb on carb fest!

    • May 18, 2011

      Thanks Jessica! That tomato sauce is AMAZING too. So simple and delish. Look out for the hot carb on carb feast! Coming up soon!

  • Jessica Craig
    May 18, 2011

    swooning here!!!!

  • May 23, 2011

    Looks amazing – like the no knead bread recipe. Coincidentaly, I also blogged on a pizza recipe which involved pulling the pizza dough to ensure thin and even pizzas. I also encountered tearing but it was well worth it. Thanks for the recipe:)

  • May 24, 2011

    i’ve totally used this recipe to make pizza dough a few times in the past year. isn’t it the best? i even yanked my oven up to 500 to make last memorial day when our AC was broken, so worth it. nothing like makin’ your own pizza pie.

    • May 24, 2011

      TOTALLY WORTH IT. I will do that this summer! But I’m also tempting to see how it will grill up!

  • Lee
    June 9, 2011

    Just tried the Pizza Dough recipe tonight…it was great!

    A couple of comments:

    1) Living in Colorado, I had to be prepared to make adjustments. First it took about 1/4 cup more water, which is pretty typical for us and bread dough recipes. The key I learned baking my own bread was to add flour and/or water until the consistency of the dough was smooth, elastic, and only a little sticky. The second adjustment was needing to keep the dough warmer than our 66 degree room temp (it was a cold day). Keeping it on the stove near the burner we use for the tea kettle and doing a second rising did the trick.

    2) You don’t really need a cookie sheet with a lip. Ours do not have one, but it spreads out just fine! Also, I cheated a bit and used pasta sauce from a jar as the base.

    I baked it at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. It came out great!

    Next time, I think I will use a roller and try to thin out the dough more and go for a more “thin” crust (this one was similar to Pizza Hut’s old “thick crust”).

    After that, I am going to try and freeze the dough….

    • June 9, 2011

      Thanks for the tips! I think the cookie sheet with the lip is more to protect the olive oil from dripping off into your oven! If you spread it out on the cookie sheet completely, it will be thin enough! Thanks for trying it out.

  • July 31, 2011

    Mmm, just made this! Thank you so much for the recipe! We did a basil one and on the other pizza I put yellow bell peppers, olives, and veggie sausage. Might even get real crazy and crack an egg on it next time! XOXO

    • August 1, 2011

      YUM!!!! Egg? YES PLEASE!

  • Erin
    August 20, 2011

    Eating it right now. I have to make myself drink water and eat the cantaloupe I cut up to stop myself from devouring it all. Thanks, Tracy

  • September 1, 2011

    I made this the other day and absolutely loved it and want to make it again ’cause it was so easy and delicious! Thanks a bunch!

  • Christine
    September 2, 2011

    How would this be with whole wheat braed flour? Same results?

  • Aubrey
    September 25, 2011

    I used this today with pizza rolls, sooooooo yummy and easy!

  • Amanda
    December 20, 2011

    Tracy, do you think that using bread flour is important or could I use all-purpose?

    • December 20, 2011

      I think I’ve used regular flour before. It wasn’t that bad!

  • Jen
    March 11, 2012

    Just made this tonight. It was the first really successful pizza I’ve made. The crust was wonderful, as was the sauce. Thank you for giving me a recipe I’ll go back to again and again!

  • Kaellen
    March 26, 2012

    Just made this tonight. Made the Mistake of following the printed recipe and left in the oven for 20-25 mins. Almost burned my apartment down LOL. Oh well will try the pizza again!

  • Emily
    April 1, 2012

    “heat your oven like a mofo” LOL! Anyway, I made this for lunch yesterday, and it was amazing. I always have trouble with yeasty recipes, but this one was so fool proof I couldn’t mess it up.
    Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  • August 16, 2012

    Way late comment, but back here ’cause of the Yolo podcast, and I must say that “Gluten is funny. It’s not you.” is WHY I love your stuff.

    Funny and reassuring and encouraging, all at once. Hooray!

    • Tracy
      August 16, 2012

      I forgot about that! Man. I’m funny sometimes.

  • Jenny
    August 27, 2012

    Hi Tracy! I made your dough recipe after hearing you guys talk about it on the “Yolo” podcast. It came together super easily but I had some trouble stretching it. I let it rise for 2 hours but I didn’t let it rest for 30 minutes after having it and it kept springing back as I stretched it so there were tons of holes. Is it necessary to rest it for 30 minutes after halving it? Also, how do I defrost the other frozen dough ball properly before baking? THANKS!

    • Tracy
      August 28, 2012

      It’s totally necessary to let it sit!! make sure you do it next time!

  • August 28, 2012

    Just made this tonight and it was fabulous!!! I’ve never felt so accomplished :) I’m surprised it turned out for a few reasons: I halfed the recipe and my measurements were a little hard to figure out so I kinda winged it and we ended up not eating it that night so I refrigerated and used the next day. Only adjustment I will make is to lower the temp to 450. My edges were done before the middle. Definitely a keeper!!!

  • October 4, 2012

    This looks delish! I want to use this recipe this weekend, but am backing for a GF crowd. Have you ever tried it with gluten-free flour? Would you use the baking mix, or try another flour?

  • October 7, 2012

    I’m gonna have to try this. Pizza dough is my nemesis. Sharing with my FB followers too.

  • October 16, 2012

    My girlfriend showed me this recipe, when I announced my intention to make pizza tonight. We made it thusly, according to your instructions, with quick rising yeast, and IT WAS DEEEEEEELICIOUS!

    Thanks a bunch,

    Mike and Anne

    • Tracy
      October 17, 2012

      That’s FANTASTIC!!! You can see why I go back to this recipe OVER and OVER again. It’s been so trust-worthy & simple for me!! Thanks for trying it.

  • Natalia
    October 20, 2012

    Hi Tracy!
    I tried your pizza recipe last night. My kids pronounced the best pizza crust I had made. It was easy and delicious. I didn’t let it rise the full two hours but, it still worked. What would happen if it rises for longer than two hours? And have you made it with whole wheat flour? Almost everything I bake is made with a half/half mixture of AP and White Whole Wheat flour. I wonder if I could mix half bread flour and half wWW without messing up this awesome recipe…

    Thanks,

  • January 6, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, I’ve been waiting to try it for some reason, but I made it today and it was the best pizza I’ve ever made at home!

  • Gal
    March 21, 2013

    YES! Tried this pizza dough last night: turned out perfectly and tastes great. And I’m a huge fan of how it makes two pizzas. I topped it with sun-dried tomato pesto, cheese, and a caramelized mixture of onions and zucchini. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Kaitlin
    March 21, 2013

    YUM! so good! Thank you! This was my first homemade pizza and it makes me want to make pizza everyday.

  • Alison
    May 31, 2013

    I’ve made this dough several times now, and it has turned out beautifully every time. But, I always find large chunks of hardened flour all over it after it rises, and it kind of messes with the dough’s consistency. Any suggestions on how to keep those buggers away? Perhaps I should use a little less flour or add more water. Oh, and perhaps I should disclose that I don’t let the dough “sit” after it rises. Maybe that’s the problem…

    • Tracy
      May 31, 2013

      Every now and then I have that experience. Make sure you mix well and sometimes a little spritz of water helps!

  • Deni
    June 4, 2013

    Oh my gosh I need to try this now! I’m embarrassed to say that I too have wasted many years (waaaay more than you) of not making real pizza dough for fear of failure even though I’m Italian :) Thanks so much for posting! Deni

  • October 12, 2013

    A beautiful pizza!

  • October 18, 2013

    Totally scared of making my own pizza, but this looks great!! Will definitely make it during my holiday! :)

  • Elizabeth
    January 10, 2014

    I keep coming back to this recipe. It’s so consistently perfect. A few notes:
    1. I’ve used a combo of multigrain bread flour (2 cups) and (1 3/4 cups) regular flour, because well, that’s just what I have. I love the way it turns out.
    2. This dough freezes awesome. I’ve both pre-frozen on it’s own and as a ready-made pizza, and had no problems.
    3. If you split the dough into quarters, it makes lovely personal-pan sized pieces for a medium-sized cast iron.

  • January 19, 2014

    This looks wonderfull! I love homemade dough!

  • February 27, 2014

    Do you do anything special when you freeze the dough? Or will it be fine in a Ziplock baggie?

  • katie
    July 18, 2014

    OMG! I couldn’t believe how easy and awesome this was! Sooooooo good! Already thinking up other combos!
    Thank you for making at home pizza making so easy!

  • Susan
    November 11, 2014

    I’m trying this tonight. Thanks for the great photos otherwise I’d be super worried about the dough…yeast recipes confound me EVERY.TIME!

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