Coming from New York, one of the things I miss the most is the pizza. It took some years to find places around the Washington, DC area to compare to the NY pizza we love from home – so in the meantime, I practiced and practiced how to make this basic dinner myself. Every Friday here, usually without fail, is pizza night (more specifically pizza and movie night!). Its easy enough to assemble after a long week or quickly enough for the weekend. I never want to cook on Fridays, but this comes together in 20 minutes, in one pan, takes hardly any effort, and tastes just like real comfort food, but is actually quite healthier than pizza you would buy.
I’ve experimented with flavors like pesto and pepperoni, margarita with fresh tomatoes, and Chicago deep dish…the list can go on and on. But, first back to the reason I started making pizza – to emulate the New York style from home. While the reason it’s so great used to be explained by the mineral amount in NY water, that’s now considered a myth by some. Several reasons to explain why it tastes so good are the ovens used, the high quality ingredients, and higher levels of gluten resulting in a chewier crust. Read more here.
To start, I obviously can’t use water from 250 miles away. Sometimes I make my own dough, but typically I’m in a rush and use good quality store made pizza dough. Next, I try to use leftover homemade sauce and skip the jarred stuff. If you have to – buy good quality and it will make a difference. For the cheese, low moisture full fat shredded mozzarella, plus grated parmesan. Substituting for skim mozzarella is also fine. Last, the high temperature allows the dough to become crisp & chewy, not soggy or doughy, while the cheese gets all bubbly.
Start by letting the dough come to room temperature. Then set it in a bowl, rubbed all over with olive oil (so it doesn’t stick as it rises), cover with a dark kitchen towel, in the darkest corner of your kitchen for 1.5-2 hours. I usually just set my dough up before I leave for work and let it rise during the day, so when I come home its ready to be used. Once the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and put onto a pizza pan or stone sprayed with nonstick spray. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Then gently start kneading your dough by holding it in the air and using your knuckles, work around the edges. Be careful to not let the middle get to thin because it will rip. Once you get it stretched a decent amount, you can lay it flat and start working around the edges – from the middle out. The warmer and longer the dough has had to rise, the more pliable it will be.
Next, in a small bowl, combine all of the spices and olive oil and brush onto the dough. This gives the crust some extra flavor. Spread a thin layer of sauce right on top; you need way less sauce than you think.
Spread grated mozzarella all over and top with the parmesan.
Bake for 15 minutes. The pizza is done when cheese is browning and bubbly and dough has puffed up and is becoming golden. Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Top with some fresh basil.
Homemade NY Style Pizza
- 1 pizza dough ball
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp parsley
- ½ to mato sauce
- 2 cups of shredded low moisture mozzarella full fat has the most flavor, but skim is fine too
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- Couple fresh basil leaves
Let the dough come to room temperature. Then set it in a bowl, rubbed all over with olive oil, cover with a dark kitchen towel, and leave for 1.5-2 hours.
Once the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and put onto a pizza pan or stone sprayed with nonstick spray. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Gently start kneading your dough by holding it in the air and using your knuckles, work around the edges. Then lay it flat and start work from the middle out. Reaching the ends of the pan and creating a crust.
In a small bowl, combine all of the spices and olive oil and brush onto the dough.
Spread a thin layer of sauce right on top, followed by both cheeses.
Bake for 15 minutes. The pizza is done when cheese is browning and bubbly and dough has puffed up and is becoming golden.