Pizza with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella
1 large or 2 or more small pies
About 3 hours if you need to make sauce, largely unattended
This pizza, with a smear of tomato sauce and a fair amount of mozzarella, is a little too loaded to grill, but the good news is that the cheese helps other unwieldy toppings—like broccoli, bell peppers, or olives—stick to the pie.
1 recipe Pizza Dough, mixed and risen
All-purpose flour or semolina for shaping
About 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups grated mozzarella
Salt and pepper
1. When the dough is ready, knead it lightly, form it into a ball, and divide it in 2 if you like; roll each piece into a ball and place each ball on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with a little more flour, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let rest while you heat the oven.
2. If you’ll be baking the pizza on a pizza stone, put the stone on the lowest rack of the oven; if not, lightly oil a baking sheet or 2. Heat the oven to 500°F or higher. Roll or lightly press each dough ball into a disk, lightly flouring the work surface and the dough as necessary (do not use more flour than you need to). Let the disks sit for a few minutes; this will let the dough relax and make it easier to roll out. If you have a peel and pizza stone, roll or pat out the dough on the peel, as thin as you like, turning it occasionally and sprinkling it with flour or semolina as necessary. If you’re using baking sheets, press each dough ball into a flat round directly on the baking sheets.
3. Drizzle the dough with the oil, then top the pizza(s) with the sauce and cheese; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the baking sheet on the center rack in the oven or slide the pizza directly onto the stone. Bake until the crust is crisp and the cheese melted, 8 to 12 minutes. Let stand for several minutes before slicing for the cheese to set up.
Pizza with Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, and Broccoli: Best with broccoli raab: Sauté 1/2 pound broccoli florets or broccoli raab spears in 1 tablespoon olive oil with some chopped or sliced garlic and red chile flakes to taste over medium-high heat just until tender. After you put the cheese on the pizza, distribute the broccoli over the top and press gently into the cheese. Bake as directed.
Red, White, and Green Pizza: Decrease the tomato sauce and the mozzarella each to 1 cup. Spread the tomato sauce over the pizza, scatter over the mozzarella, then dollop 1/2 cup pesto over everything. Bake as directed.
Greek-Style Pizza: Substitute 1 cup crumbled feta for 1 cup of the mozzarella. Scatter some thinly sliced red onion, chopped kalamata olives, and chopped fresh oregano over the cheese. Bake as directed. If you like, grate a little lemon zest on top after the pizza comes out of the oven.
Summer Pizza: Reduce the mozzarella to 1 cup. Cut the kernels off 2 ears fresh corn and scatter them over the cheese along with half a small red onion, sliced, and 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese. Bake as directed.