This recipe is a close match to the legendary Gino’s East cornmeal crust.
7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
3 ounces (1/2 cup) cooked russet potato, grated (or riced) and cooled
2 ounces (1/2 cup) finely ground yellow corn meal
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) vegetable oil
3.5 ounces (1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons) lukewarm water
Whisk the flour, corn meal, yeast, and salt together. Add the potato, rubbing it into the mixture with your fingers to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Do the same with the vegetable oil. Making a small well in the center of the mixture, add the water, kneading it in gently by hand until the dough is smooth and uniform, about 30 – 45 seconds. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 45 minutes-2 hours depending on how dense or bready you prefer your crust (if less than an hour it may not rise perceceptibly).
Put a pizza stone on a lower rack of your oven and preheat to 400 degrees — a full 45 minutes before you’re planning to bake. When ready, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and roll thinly, roughly to shape. Press it into a 10″ or 11″ pizza, tart or springform pan, leaving a 1-inch lip around the sides (longer-rising doughs will have excess).
Poke holes all around with a fork and par-bake the crust on the stone for 13-15 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and turn the heat down to 375. Sprinkle pizza with mozzarella cheese, then desired toppings. Top it with your favorite sauce (recipe below if you need one) by splattering heavy spoonfuls over the fillings (don’t worry if the coverage isn’t perfect, you only need to cover about 80% of the total area with sauce). Sprinkle a little fresh-grated parmesan on to finish. Bake on the stone 20-30 minutes or until the edges are golden and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
Joe’s Pizza Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or half a dozen fresh leaves, torn)
1 28-ounce can tomatoes (not San Marzanos)
1-2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until a sudden wave of garlic smell sweeps out of the pan, telling you it’s ready. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the dried spices and sauté 3-4 minutes more. Put in the tomatoes, crush them with a potato masher, add salt and a couple grindings of pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes. Balance sauce by adding sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the tomato paste and simmer 5 more minutes.
Recipe should make enough sauce for 2 pizzas, depending on how much you like (I usually splatter on about 1 1/2 cups per pizza). It freezes well in tupperware or quart-sized freezer bags.