For the Pizza Dough:
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
1¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt
For the Sauce:*
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
For the Toppings:
4 ounces sliced pepperoni
4 to 8 ounces (1 to 2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese (or mix of mozzarella and provolone), depending how how cheesy you like your pizza
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1. Make the Pizza Dough: Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
2. Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.
3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
4. Assemble the Pizza: Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven (if using). Heat oven to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
5. While the oven is preheating, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes. (You only need one ball of dough for this recipe, so at this point you can wrap one ball of dough in plastic wrap, put in a ziploc bag and freeze for another day – just move it to the refrigerator the morning you plan to use it or thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours).
7. Flatten the dough ball into a disk using the palms of your hands. Starting at the center of the disk and working outward, use your fingertips to press the dough until it is about ½-inch thick. Holding the center in place, stretch the dough outward. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and stretch again. Repeat until the dough reaches a diameter of 12 inches. Use your palm to press down and flatten the thick edge of the dough.Transfer your prepared pizza dough to a pizza peel, parchment-lined baking sheet or pizza pan (whichever you are using).
8. Spread ¾ cup of the sauce over the pizza dough, leaving a ½-inch border uncovered. Place the pepperoni slices evenly over the sauce, and then top with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Slide the dough onto the heated stone, or place your baking sheet or pizza pan into the oven.
9. Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve (be careful, it will be hot!).
*Note: The sauce recipe makes enough for 4 pizzas but I can only ever find crushed tomatoes in 28-ounce cans (the bane of my existence!). If you are only making one pizza, you can portion out the rest and freeze it for another time.