Who make the best pizza?
Although she is Moroccan and not Italian, she makes my favorite pizza. Her pizza is very similar to a normal pizza but hers has Middle Eastern flavors and fresh sliced tomatoes (the beefy kind, such as Roma). After she covers the dough with tomatoes and mozzarella, she adds onion rings, black olives, canned tuna and parsley and then, drizzles olive oil infused with sweet and hot paprikas.
The dough is very easy to make but feel free to use a store bought one. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s has a pretty good pizza dough (in the fridge isle).
- For the dough
- 2½ cups wholewheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (My mother hates the idea of using spelt, but I do use spelt, and the dough comes out perfectly fine)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1½ cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Cornmeal for dusting (optional)
- Put the flour into a big bowl, add the yeast, and stir with a big whisk or a wooden spoon until the flour and the yeast are well combined.
- In a big measuring cup stir together the warm water and salt.
- Pour half of the liquid onto the flour bowl. Using one hand, work the water into the flour. Add the rest of the water gradually into the flour and keep working with one hand until the the flour and water turn into a slightly sticky dough. If it feels too sticky, add a little more flour. If the dough is not moist and soft, add a little more warm water.
- Shape the dough into a nice round ball, put it back in the the big bowl, and cover with a plastic wrap or a moist clean kitchen towel. Set the bowl in a warm place (not too warm - not on top of a radiator or in the sun. If the temperature in the house is cool, I use a table cloth, folded, over the plastic wrap to keep it warm - something my mom used to do.) Let it rise until it doubles it's size - for about 1½ hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- When the dough has doubled in size, you need to knock the air out of it by pressing it down with your palm. Knead it for a minute or two and shape it into a ball. Use a knife to divide the dough to three.
- Working one ball of dough at a time, take one ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured baking pan or baking sheet. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to ¼-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter - 10 to 12 inches. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker. You can pinch the very edges if you want to form a lip.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- ASSEMBLING THE PIZZA
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon hot paprika
- salt & pepper
- 4 organic medium tomatoes - sliced
- 1 small onion or ½ of a big one - sliced
- 2 cups fresh grated mozzarella
- 1 can of tuna (optional)
- ¼ cup black olives (optional)
- Handful parsley - washed carefully and chopped
- Mix the sweet and hot paprika together with olive oil and drizzle some of it on the dough before you top it with the rest of the ingredients.
- Cover the dough with the sliced tomatoes and add the onion.
- Drizzle a little bit more of the olive oil mixed with paprika over the tomatoes and the onion.
- Sprinkle some salt and pepper then scatter the mozzarella on top. Scatter the tuna, black olives and parsley and put it in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes