From James McNair's New Pizza: Foolproof Techniques and Fabulous Recipes
Also known as a “Plain Pizza”, although with this flavorful tomato base, it’s anything but plain.
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Total Cooking time: 30-45 minutes to preheat the oven plus 10 minutes or so to bake the pizza
Makes enough as topping for 2 thin 12” crusts
California style pizza dough
Seasoned tomato pulp
Vegetable or olive oil for brushing on a pizza pan OR coarse cornmeal for the pizza peel
Extra virgin olive oil for brushing on the crust and drizzling over top at serving time
2 tsp very thinly sliced garlic (optional)
1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried (I prefer Greek dried for ultimate flavor)
Ruth’s note: although James McNair leaves it at that…I can’t imagine any pizza without cheese and I love this mix
Italian fontina cheese, freshly grated
fresh bocconcini/mozzarella, shredded
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. Prepare pizza dough and seasoned tomato pulp as directed.
2. Preheat at 450-500°F/230-260°C for at least 30 minutes (and since my oven is slow to reach the optimal temperature, I give it even more time) so timing is everything. If you’re not using a pizza stone, I would still preheat the pizza pans to give the crust a really good crispiness, but you probably only need 10-15 minutes. Lay the stone or baking sheet on the lowest rack for electric, on the floor of your oven for gas ranges.
3. Roll out the pizza dough (as per instructions) and shape as desired. Place on the pizza peel or pan. Brush all over with olive oil. Top with tomato pulp, leaving ½” border around the edges. Sprinkle with garlic slices, oregano, and salt to taste ( a little crushed red chili peppers would be nice if you like some heat). Drizzle with some olive oil.
4. If you’re using a pizza peel, give it a quick shake to make sure it’s not stuck anywhere and then transfer to the preheated pizza stone with a good, quick jerking motion. If you’re a purist like James…meaning no cheese, bake until the crust is golden –about 10 minutes. If you’re like me, just add the cheese after the first five minutes and continue to cook until the cheese is melty and bubbly – it usually looks awesome with just an additional 5 minutes, making that 10 minutes total.
5. Remove pizza to a wire rack (we just put it directly on the cutting board) and let stand for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cutting board or tray and lightly brush the edges with olive oil. Slice and serve.