Tomato-Basil Thin-Crust Pizza

August 31, 2007

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Along with Pesto Flatbread, this is one of my favorite summer treats. The mozzarella di bufala, a fresh Italian cheese made from the milk of water buffalo, is so light, the heat of the just-from-the-oven pizza melts it. Pizza with bufala makes a perfect hot-weather supper, and if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers—but don’t count on it!—you can have it cold the next day for lunch. SAM

2 cups all-purpose, high-gluten flour [do NOT use soft-wheat flour]
1 tablespoon stone-ground cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon sea salt [preferably Guerande fleur de sel]
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup warm water
2 ounces mild, hard cheese like Monterey Jack, finely grated
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn into 1-inch pieces
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
2 ounces mozzarella di bufala, pinched into 1/2-inch pieces

Place a large pizza stone—if you have one—on the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 550 degrees F. In a food processor fitted with the plastic blade, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. With the processor running, slowly pour in 1 tablespoon olive oil, then just enough water to form a ball.

Cut two 12-inch rounds of parchment paper and place on two pizza peels or large baking sheets. Knead the dough two or three times and cut in half. On a lightly floured pastry board, roll or stretch each half into a 10-inch round and transfer to the parchment paper. Spread evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then the hard cheese, basil, tomatoes, and cumin. Slide the pizza and parchment paper onto the stone or place the baking sheet with the pizza on the oven shelf and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Dot immediately with mozzarella di bufala.
Makes two 10-inch rounds.

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