The secret to this pie is its simplicity, so go for really great-quality ingredients.
2 pizza dough balls
extra virgin olive oil
scant ½ cup good-quality whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand or run
through a food mill
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced on a mandoline
¼ cup Pecorino Romano
8 ounces stracciatella cheese
1 bunch basil leaves, roughly torn
1. Use a generous amount of semolina flour to dust a flat, smooth counter and sprinkle a little over the dough. With a bench scraper, loosen up the ball from the bottom from different angles without contorting the shape of the ball. Remove the dough and place the bottom on a pile of semolina flour. Reshape the dough into a circle if it needs it. Create a well with your fingers and retain a ¾-inch border—this will become the crust. Being careful not to pinch or flatten the “crown” or crust, lift the dough onto your fists. Gently stretch the dough to about 12 inches.
2. Brush the crust with extra virgin olive oil. Place the tomatoes in the center of the stretched dough. Spread them around evenly. Season the pizza with salt. Add the garlic and Pecorino, trying to avoid having too much concentrated in the center. Season the pizza peel with semolina, then pull the dough onto the peel.
3. If baking in a wood-fired pizza oven, make sure the deck of the oven is between 750 and 800°F. The pizza will cook very quickly—in about 90 seconds, with 2 rotations—so pay close attention and have your pizza peel ready to go. First place the pizza close to the fire and allow the crust to set and one side to become golden brown. Rotate the pizza a third of the way around to cook the crust to golden brown. Rotate the final third of the way and finish the pizza.
Alternatively, you can bake the pizza on a pizza stone in a very hot oven. Allow the stone to heat for at least an hour before baking to get it as hot as possible (as high as your home oven will go, 500 to 550°F). Bake undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes until the desired color is achieved. If you need more browning on the top, turn the broiler on and let it go for a couple minutes—just watch carefully to make sure the pizza doesn’t burn.
4. Brush olive oil and sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan over the crust. Then scatter the stracciatella and basil over the top of the pie. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Originally featured in Gwyneth Learns How to Make the Best Sourdough Pizza