Pizza Al Taglio

I think I was Roman in a past life. Thinking about wandering the streets of Trastevere gives me a pang of homesickness, although I’ve only visited the city twice. To ease the pain of wanderlust I often make Italian food. Pizza Al Taglio is a Roman style pizza with a satisfyingly thick crust, cut with scissors, and sold by weight. It’s perfect for taking on a stroll through cobblestone streets or enjoying while people watching in a piazza. It’s also easy to replicate at home because it’s make in a common baking sheet: no need for a wood fired oven or a fancy pizza stone. So invite some friends over for a pizza party and exceed their expectations of store bought crust. If you have a lot of friends, it’s easy to bake two to feed a crowd (or have leftovers to eat for breakfast with a fried egg on top).

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For the Crust

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp dry active yeast

1½ cups warm water

For the Sauce

One 28-oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, minced

5 fresh basil leaves, minced

1 sprig rosemary, finely minced

5 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Toppings

1 head garlic

8 oz fresh mozzarella

8 oz taleggio cheese

1 3-oz package prosciutto

½ cup raw, unsalted hazelnuts, lightly crushed

2 cups baby arugula

Juice from ½ lemon

Pinch of salt

Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425℉. Cut ½ inch off the top of the head of garlic and peel away any excess. Rub exposed cloves with olive oil, wrap head in aluminum foil and place in a muffin tin. Place in preheated oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, until soft and golden brown. Allow to cool and peel. Hint: you can extra garlic heads and and use them in everything. Store in a jar of olive oil in the refrigerator, then cook with that deliciously infused olive oil.

To make the dough, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Work on a low speed until the dough comes together, and then increase the speed to medium, and knead for about 2 minutes. This is a wet dough, so don't worry if it doesn't form a ball. Cover the bowl with plastic in leave to rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

In a heavy bottom pot combine the canned tomatoes, garlic, basil, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and with wet hands spread the dough over the whole sheet. Top with sauce, slices of both cheeses, and roasted garlic. Bake 15 the pizza for minutes until crust is golden brown. In a dry pan toast the hazelnuts over medium heat for 3 minutes, tossing constantly until fragrant. Add a pinch of salt.

In a medium bowl toss the arugula with lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust the proportions until it reaches an addictive zingy flavor. (This also makes a great salad on it’s own or topped with in-season tomatoes.)

Top the pizza with prosciutto, arugula, and toasted hazelnuts. Cut pizza with scissors and serve to your hungry loved ones. Listen to the sighs of satisfaction and feel the wanderlust abate for just a little bit.  

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