This recipe is from Jim Lahey, the owner of Sullivan Street Bakery and Co. Pizza in NYC. In addition to the success he enjoys as a baker and restaurateur, Jim became an internet sensation a few years back when his "no knead" bread recipe tore through food blogs like a wild-fire. Those of you who have been with us a while may recall our experience with his awesome homemade loaf which has become my go-to scratch bread recipe.
Well….Jim has taken his no-knead approach to bread and applied it to the realm of make-at-home pizza, and has recently released a cookbook with all the gory details entitled My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home . With so many great pie recipes in the book I struggled for a bit to decide which to try first, and ultimately chose the one shown on the cover of the cookbook, his Ham and Peas pizza. I figure that if it's good enough for the cover, it's good enough for me!
Hayden and I snarfed down a couple of these lovelies the other night, and MAN were they good. His no-knead dough recipe was spot-on, and his baking instructions that combine a pre-heat of the stone to 500℉, then actually cooking the pizza under the broiler are nothing short of genius. This method of cooking must offer the closest a home cook can come to replicating the searing heat of a commercial pizza oven without having a pro-grade wood-fired oven installed on the patio. Using this method, the pizzas cook up in just a couple minutes with a bubbly-crisp crust and a lovely char….perfect!
Cheers – Steve
for the pizza:
- 1 ball of pizza dough shaped and waiting on a floured peel (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup béchamel (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano or grana padano cheese
- 1 1/2 ounces fresh mozzarella, pulled into 5 clumps
- 2 ounces sliced prosciutto, ripped into shreds
- 1/4 fresh peas (or defrosted frozen), patted dry
- 2-3 large fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
for the dough:
- 17 1/2 ounces (about 3 3/4 cups or 500 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (1 gram)
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (16 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups water (350 grams)
for the béchamel:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 rasp grates of nutmeg
for the dough:
- In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water, and with a wooden spoon or your hands mix thoroughly.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72℉) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled.
- Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shep them: for each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it to the center; then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky, if they are, dust with more flour.
- If you don't intend to use the balls right away wrap the individual balls in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them on the counter, covered by a damp cloth, for 2-3 hours before needed. (do not freeze the dough)
for the béchamel:
- Pour about 1/3 of the milk into a sauce pan. Cut the butter into chunks and add it to the milk. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until the butter melts but without allowing the milk to reach a boil.
- Meanwhile, put the flour in a medium mixing bowl, add the remaining milk, and whisk into a slurry. Once the butter has been completely incorporated into the hot milk, ladle some of the hot mixture into the cold flour mixture to warm it. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and whisk it in. Stir in the salt.
- Over medium-low heat, whisk the mixture frequently - to prevent sticking - as it cooks and thickens. The béchamel is done at about 180℉, when it has reached the consistency of a runny sauce, or heavy cream. Grate in the nutmeg and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. It will continue to thicken slightly as it cools. Use the béchamel immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days; bring back to room temperature before using.
for making the pizza:
- Put the pizza stone in a gas oven on a rack about 8 inches from the broiler (if you have an electric oven, make it 4 inches from the broiler). Heat the oven on bake at 500℉ for 30 minutes. Switch to broil for 10 minutes.
- Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Then press it down and gently stretch it out to 6-8 inches. Very carefully continue the process, massaging it into a roundish disk of 10-12 inches, stroking and shaping with the palms of your hands and your fingers. Don't handle it more than necessary, though; you want some of the gas bubbles to remain in the dough. It should look slightly blistered. Flour the peel and lift the dick onto the center. The dough is now ready to be topped.
- With the dough on the peel, spoon the béchamel over the surface and spread it evenly, leaving about an inch of the rim untouched. Sprinkle the surface with the parmigiano. Distribute the mozzarella and prosciutto over the top. Sprinkle the peas over all.
- With quick, jerking motions, slide the pie onto the stone. Broil for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes under gas (somewhat longer for electric) until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred, but not burnt.
- Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a tray or serving platter. Distribute the mint over the top. Slice and serve immediately.