I know, it’s a bold statement. And if it was my own recipe, I’d have to be pretty full of myself to say it. But, since it’s not my recipe, but that of one of the most talented pizza makers in the country (world?), I know it to be true.
I’d gotten out of the habit of making my own pizza dough of late. What, with so many shops selling pretty solid options — from my lovely, local Canyon Market to Trader Joe’s — I wondered if it was worth the effort (and patted myself on the back for making my own at all rather than speed dialing Dominos).
But low and behold, just days after sinking my teeth into a heavenly Margarita pie at CO, a cozy New York eatery, the very chef, Jim Lahey, behind that very pizza, published his very recipe on Food52, one of the most reliable websites I know for excellent eats.
The recipe is officially called Jim Lahey’s No Knead Pizza. Here’s what’s involved:
PUT FLOUR + YEAST + SALT IN BOWL. STIR. ADD WATER. STIR. RISE.
How easy is that? No fancy flour, no wondering if the water temperature is just right to activate the yeast, no sticky, kneading mess. It’s certainly quicker than walking to the market and buying dough. Plus, unlike store bought, which I’ve found to be stubborn to work, this one is pretty maleable.
Virginia and I made these together together. You’ll see we weren’t too particular about getting the shape perfectly round.
But that didn’t seem to effect the flavor one bit.
As for the sauce? It’s just tomatoes, olive oil, and salt, which Virginia thoroughly relished squishing between her fingers until it was a mixed together.
A couple things to keep in mind.
1) Owning a pizza stone is the best way to get that super crispy texture to your crust. It’s a small investment that you will have FOREVER (mine was a wedding gift) and is easy to store alongside your baking sheets or cutting boards
2) A pizza peel helps, too. That’s the wooden board with a handle you see at pizzerias which allows you to slip the pie right onto the pizza stone with one swift move. If you don’t have either peel or stone, you can make this on an ordinary cookie sheet, just be sure your oven is piping hot.
3) I used about one-third less Mozzarella and half the Parmesan called for in the recipe. To me, it was still plenty cheesy.
4) We played around with toppings in addition to plain cheese — olives, arugula, spinach, prosciutto.
5) The oven temperature remained at a consistent 500 degrees. We didn’t incorporate the broiler as is suggested in the recipe: too complicated for our crew and pizza was still over the top.
6) We found the recipe made enough for our family of five, plus slices leftover for lunch boxes the next day. Keep in mind, I served the pizza with both a generous salad and a side of roasted asparagus. This assured we weren’t just filling up on the delicious pie, but balancing all that cheesy goodness with plenty of green stuff. Red wine helped the grown ups wash it all down; we need our antioxidants and phytochemicals, people!
For the recipe along with a “how to video” (which I didn’t think necessary, but perhaps worth a peek) go to Food52.
For a speedy weeknight pizza, check out my Spinach and Prosciutto Lavash Pizza (oven to table in 15 minutes).