Let Mario's basic pizza dough recipe be the canvas for all your pizza creations.
Basic Pizza Dough
- 1 1/4 cups Warm Water
- 1 1/4- ounce Package Active Dry Yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Sugar
- 3 1/2 cups "00" Flour
- 2 tablespoons Salt
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Semolina Flour (for dusting)
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture and oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the mixture is too stiff to stir, then mix with your hands in the bowl until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding only as much flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until smooth, elastic, and only slightly sticky. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl, turning to coat, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Divide it into 8 pieces (about 4 ounces each) and shape each one into a ball. Freeze any dough not being used immediately. Cover with a tea towel and let stand for 15 minutes before stretching the dough. Or, for easier handling, transfer the balls to a floured baking sheet and refrigerate until cold.
- Dust a large work surface with a mixture of flour and semolina. If the dough has been refrigerated, transfer one ball to the work surface and let stand just until still cool but not cold.
- Meanwhile, preheat the griddle pan over medium heat until very hot, about 5 minutes.
- Using your hands, begin to press and stretch the dough into a 9- to 10- inch round, adding only enough additional flour and semolina to the work surface to keep the dough from sticking; using one hand as a guide, slope a slightly thicker rim all around the circle of dough. Work quickly, and be careful not to over-work the dough; it it resists or shrinks back as your shape it, let it rest briefly before proceeding. (If you prefer, you can roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Lightly flour the work surface and the rolling pin; sprinkle the rolling pin with more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.)
- Carefully place the dough round on the pre-heated griddle pan and cook until barely tan on the first side and brown in a few spots, about 2 to 3 minutes. As the crust cooks, if you see any parts that remain undercooked, especially any thicker parts, simply press them against the pan so they cook a bit more; once the dough has set, you can move the crust around as necessary for more even cooking. Flip the crust over and cook until the second side is completely dry, about 1 minute longer.
- Transfer the crust to a wire rack or a baking sheet, brushing off any excess flour, and allow to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.