- 3¼ cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
- 1½ tsp table salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2¼ tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1¼ cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter , melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
- 1 tsp plus 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup grated onion , from 1 medium onion (see note below)
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- Table salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Ground black pepper
- 1 pound whole-milk or part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups) (see note below)
- ½ ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
- Hot or mild italian sausage (optional)
1. FOR THE DOUGH: Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)
2. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 75 minutes.
3. FOR THE SAUCE: While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, crushed red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt, pepper, and more sugar if needed. The sauce shouldn't be too sweet, but you just wanna be able to taste everything.
4. TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rectangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 60 minutes.
5. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
6. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. If using sausage or any other topping, add it on top of the cheese. Spread about 1¼ cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 35 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.Note: Place a damp kitchen towel under the mixer and watch it at all times during kneading to prevent it from wobbling off the counter. If you don’t have a stand-mixer, you can do this by hand. Handle the dough with slightly oiled hands, or it might stick. Avoid preshredded cheese, it doesn’t melt well. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.