Meatless Monday: Margherita Pizza with Olive Oil Dough

By: Mallory Stuchin

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of lifeEating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Want an easy trick for mustering up a smile on a Monday? Eat pizza. This classic recipe has no haters for a reason — it's simple, delicious, and wonderfully hearty (not to mention completely vegetarian). Don't be intimidated by the dough; while it's time-consuming, it's very simple to prepare. As an alternative, ask your local pizza place if they'll sell just their dough. Once it's ready, just roll it, top it and bake it. In a few minutes, you'll be in pie heaven, no delivery required.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
7 1/2 cups (scoop and sweep) unbleached all-purpose flour
TOPPINGS:
1/3 cup tomato sauce
3 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Fresh basil
Olive oil for drizzling over the top before baking
Pinch of salt
Flour, cornmeal for the pizza peel
DIRECTIONS
To make the dough:

Dump the water, olive oil, yeast, salt and sugar into a 5-quart container with lid, and using a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon, stir in the flour. No kneading is necessary. Cover the container, not airtight, and let it rest for about 2 hours on the counter. The dough can be used right away, but it is much easier to handle once it has been thoroughly chilled, about 3 hours. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To make the pizza:

Preheat your oven to the highest setting, which will be 500 to 550 degrees F, with a pizza stone in the bottom third of the oven. Depending on the thickness of your stone it can take between 20 and 45 minutes to preheat.

Cut an 8-ounce piece of dough from your bucket using kitchen shears and quickly form it into a ball, no more than 30 seconds of work. Let it sit on the counter while you gather your toppings.

Roll the ball out into a 1/8-inch-thick round. If the ball is resisting, let it sit for about 5 minutes and it will relax and allow you to roll it more easily.

Sprinkle a pizza peel with flour and place dough on it. Spread the tomato sauce over the dough.

Place the chunks of cheese over the sauce and drizzle with the olive oil. Place in the oven on the preheated pizza stone.

Check for doneness in 8 to 10 minutes; turn the pizza around if it seems to be browning on one side more than the other. It may take up to 5 more minutes.

Let the pizza cool slightly, so the cheese can set a little before cutting with a pizza cutter. This is best done on a cooling rack if you want to keep a crisp bottom crust.

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