Pizza with Marinara or Roasted Garlic Béchamel
2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp bread flour
to flour work surface
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
to taste
4 cups canned San Marzano plum tomatoes
or canned Italian tomatoes
1/2 bunch fresh basil
or dried oregano
15 cloves garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper
to taste
2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
extra flour and coarse semolina flour
or corn meal
pizza toppings
of your choice
basil leaves
rolled tightly then sliced razor thin
For the Dough
Combine the yeast, water and honey in a small bowl and let sit for 3 minutes.
Add the olive oil, flour and salt. Mix to form dough. Remove from bowl and knead on a clean work surface for ten minutes.
Cover with a warm, damp towel and rest for one hour in a warm and humid part of the kitchen to allow dough to rise.
Punch down dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Cut into 10 even sized pieces. Roll into balls and pinch the seams to seal then place the seam side down. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 40 minutes before rolling out.
For the Marinara
Poach the garlic cloves in the olive oil over low heat with a pinch of salt and pepper until the garlic begins to brown.
Add the tomatoes and 1/2 of the basil. Simmer for about one hour, adding a few tablespoons of water at a time to prevent the sauce from drying out. Continue to stir as the sauce simmers. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Process in a blender until smooth. Chop the remaining basil and add to the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
For the Roasted Garlic Béchamel
To roast, place the garlic cloves in foil, drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, then fold foil into a pocket. Roast for 20-25 mins in a 375°F oven until soft and lightly brown.
In a small saucepan, heat milk on medium until barely simmering.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter. When foam subsides, add flour and stir until smooth. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring. Do not allow flour to color. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking to combine.
Add the salt/pepper and cayenne and increase the heat to medium. Cook the mixture, whisking continuously, until the sauce comes to a boil and is thickened.
Remove from heat and add roasted garlic cloves. Pour the hot mixture into a blender, cover tightly, and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and cool slightly, placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface.
For the Pizza
Turn on oven to 500°F. Place pizza stone or inverted sheet pan in oven.
Roll out each dough ball to 1/4 inch thick circle, using flour to prevent sticking. Use your hands to stretch the dough. Sprinkle the pizza peel with the corn meal or semolina to keep the dough from sticking.
Brush the edges of the dough with a little olive oil and spread the sauce on the dough. Top with all toppings except for the basil (basil goes on after baking).
Slide small pizzas onto stone or inverted sheet pan and bake until the pizza is golden and crispy.
To Serve
Top with basil chiffonade and a little more olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Slice pizza and serve on wooden cutting board or cheese board.