For years I been searching for my Grandmother’s Home Made Pizza Recipe, but to no avail. I have learned however, that life is sometimes just a bunch of coincidences thrown in together. Check this one out!
Last week at the age of 96, my Aunt passed away. The last in a long line of aunts and uncles that provided me and my cousins with nothing more than good memories and fantastic traditions. After the funeral I’m driving my older cousin Frankie home. The conversation, as it usually does, turned to food.
Now Frankie is probably the most unlikely person in my family to hold onto a recipe. In fact I would be shocked if he even knows how to boil water. Anyway, out of the blue he starts talking about grandma’s pizza. I’m in shock how he tells everyone in the car that Grandma always made it for him on his birthday. “A simple recipe,” he tells me, “thin crust, lightly covered with gravy (all my family calls sauce gravy), Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheeses, topped with basil.”
Now I’m really getting excited and I ask, cutting him off in mid sentence “The dough? How did she make the dough, it was special,” I scream. “Can’t help you there Cuz, I just know it sat in the fridge for a day.” OK, so I’m on to a hot lead with Grandmas Pizza, but unfortunately the older generation has all passed on and I’m the one who is accountable for all the recipes.
The very next day I come home and there is a Martha Steward Living magazine in the mailbox. Weird I think, as we don’t even subscribe. In the lower right corner of the cover a headline reads “PIZZA: DELICIOUS TOPPINGS, AMAZING CRUST.” I tear open to page 90 and there is a recipe for a long, slow rising dough, that I swear came from heaven. If this isn’t the secret dough that I been searching for, it is certainly a very close second.
The following is the Basic Pizza Dough recipe as given in Martha Steward Living magazine. For the toppings you can come up with your own, but I’m showing you how I remember it, many years ago. Like to receive the magazine, Click Here (not an affiliate link, I’m just excited to find this Dough recipe).
Basic Pizza Dough
- 4 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 tsp. instant dry yeast (preferably SAF-instant)
- 1 3/4 cups filtered or bottled water at room temperature
- 2 1/4 tsp coarse salt
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and bowl
In a large bowl whisk together flour and yeast. Slowly add water, mixing with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Stir in salt and oil. Expect the dough to be lumpy and raggedy. Brush with oil, cover bowl with a dry kitchen towel and let rest for 1 hour.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and pat with flour. Martha suggest you flour your hands while you work. Holding two opposite sides, pull the dough until about one foot long, then fold back onto itself and pinch ends. Repeat 4 more times, rotating dough each time to stretch alternate sides. The dough should begin to feel smooth.
Place dough in a well-oiled large bowl, brush with oil and let rise in the fridge until doubled in size. Should stay in the fridge 24 hours and up to 48 hours. AKA – Cousin Frankie’s hot lead.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and cut into three (3) equal parts. Form into balls, brush with oil, cover and let sit another hour.
Place dough on fist and use your knuckles to begin stretching dough from the middle, rotating it slightly as you work. I can see my grandmother doing this like it was yesterday. Set on surface and continue to stretch from all sides to form a rough 10 by 14 inch rectangle. (Hey, I’m a traditionalist and always form a circle, as shown above).
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled 9 by 13 inch rimmed baking sheet, pulling the edges to fill the pan.
At this point the rest is up to you. Use your favorite toppings, make three different pizzas, or go with Grandma’s trusted family favorite. She would start by putting a thin coating of gravy (there’s that family thing again) you can top with very thin slices of tomatoes. Next came the cheeses, shredded Mozzarella, droplets of fresh Ricotta and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
Place your Pizza in a preheated 475° oven and cook until the crust is golden brown and crispy. Usually anywhere between 15 an 18 minutes. Remove form the oven and sprinkle fresh chopped basil over the top. Cousin Frankie also tells me that from time to time she would add sauté onions to the mix. I, of course add chopped garlic or garlic powder as well.
There you have it, the perfect Pizza for a Friday night or any night!