For the dough (all Rachael Ray) - makes two pies:
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast (make sure to get the package, not the jar, to keep portions consistent)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups all purpose flour
(You’ll need extra flour for rolling, and extra olive oil to line the bowl where the dough will sit to rise. You’ll also need 1 Tbsp. cornmeal, 2 tsp. sugar and 2 tsp. flour for bottom of skillet.)
For the sauce - makes two pies:
4 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
Crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
8 oz. can tomato paste
28 oz. can whole tomatoes, puréed
For the toppings:
You can be creative here, but below are a few of my favorite combinations:
Red sauce, sliced grapes, Taleggio cheese and chopped bacon
Red sauce, thick sliced mozzarella and fresh basil (when adding basil to pizza, do so after pizza is out of the oven and has cooled for a few minutes)
Red sauce, spicy crumbled sausage, shredded mozz and honey drizzled on top
For the dough:
Using a mixer with a dough hook, add yeast and warm water (I zap it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds). Do not mix, just let the yeast foam for about five minutes. Add olive oil, honey and salt, then turn on mixer. Gradually add in flour until well mixed. Transfer to a bowl that you’ve already drizzled and lined with olive oil. Allow to sit in a quiet, dry place for at least an hour (yeast literally has a mind of its own and needs peace and quiet to rise). Divide into two equal pieces. You can make both (one pizza simply isn’t enough for us) or freeze one for next time.
For the sauce:
In a medium pan or skillet, sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant (just a few minutes). Add crushed red pepper, oregano and tomato paste and stir until tomato paste thins a bit in the pan and everything integrates. Add tomatoes, breaking them up as they cook. Boil just for a minute and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 525 degrees. When ready to assemble the pizza, heat a cast iron skillet on the stove. While the skillet and the oven are pre-heating, roll out the dough. When skillet is heated, before you put the dough in, sprinkle the bottom with 1 Tbsp. cornmeal, 2 tsp. sugar and 2 tsp. flour so the pizza doesn’t stick.
Add dough to skillet, top with sauce and allow to bubble for a minute. Then add cheese and toppings and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 12-18 minutes (depending on your oven) - pizza is done when the cheese is melted and bubbly and the dough is brown on the sides. Once removed, allow pizza to sit for a few minutes and serve!