- 3⁄4 cup water, lukewarm 110 degrees F
- 1⁄4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt or 1⁄4 teaspoon table salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1⁄4 cup corn oil
- 2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
- nonstick cooking spray (for greasing your pan)
- 12 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced (low moisture, approximately 15 slices)
- 3⁄4 lb Italian sausage, raw
- 16 ounces crushed tomatoes, lightly drained
- 1⁄8 cup romano cheese, grated or 1⁄8 cup parmesan cheese
- MAKING THE DOUGH: In a mixing bowl, dissolve sugar and salt into the lukewarm water.
- Add yeast, corn oil, and a small amount of the flour.
- Mix until you have a thick batter, then add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until combined.
- Knead until the dough comes together into a smooth ball, then STOP. DON’T OVER-KNEAD. Total mixing/kneading time should be no more than 2 - 3 minutes (This step can also be done in a mixer with a dough hook in 1 - 2 minutes. If it looks smooth, but doesn’t form a ball, just take it off the hook and form into a ball).
- Place the dough in a bowl (or keep it in your mixing bowl), lightly oil/spray the dough ball.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours (or until dough has doubled).
- After the rise, you can use the dough immediately OR punch down the dough and let it rise again until you’re ready to use the dough OR place it into a plastic zip-top bag and into the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours.
- ASSEMBLING YOUR PIZZA AND BAKING: Place a pizza stone in the bottom rack of your oven and place a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil across the top rack. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (F). It should take about 40 minutes to an hour to preheat your stone, so you may want to do this while your dough is rising. If you refrigerated your dough, take it out of the fridge while your oven is preheating.
- Using a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, drain any excess liquid from your tomatoes, if necessary.
- Lightly grease the bottom (not the sides) of your pan with oil or high-heat cooking spray.
- Press out the dough in the pan from center to the edge, as flat and even as possible. Pinch up the sides into a paper-thin lip about 1 to 1-1/2 inches high.
- Lightly press sliced mozzarella cheese into the dough, overlapping the slices until the entire bottom is covered (If making an all-cheese pizza, you can add extra cheese if you want, then skip to the part where you add the tomatoes).
- Add the Italian sausage: For traditional patty, add small bits of sausage on top of the cheese, connecting the bits together into a loose web, until the entire bottom is covered.
- Add any other ingredient that you want to protect from burning.
- THE PART WHERE YOU ADD THE TOMATOES: With a large spoon or ladle, top the pizza with the crushed tomatoes, spreading the sauce from the center out to the edge until the other ingredients are completely covered with sauce. You should need between 14 and 16 oz of tomatoes.
- Sprinkle grated Romano (and/or Parmesan) Cheese over the top of the sauce.
- Turn oven down to 450 and place the pizza pan directly on top of the pizza stone on the lower rack.
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes. If your crust or toppings start to char on top, place a loose sheet of aluminum foil over the top of the pizza for the remaining baking time.
- Remove from oven, let pizza rest for 5 minutes, then cut & serve on a real plate with a knife & fork.