Editor’s Note: And tune in to season two of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” Sundays at 9 p.m.
Like the foundation of a house, the key to great pizza begins with the crust. And for “Searching for Italy” host Stanley Tucci, there’s one pizza dough recipe in particular that his family loves.
“This is my mother’s recipe,” the actor and author shares in his 2014 cookbook, “The Tucci Table,” co-authored with wife Felicity Blunt. “When we lived in the United States, we made pizza every weekend and swore by it. We always will.”
For your own family pizza night, try the recipe below. And for more on Italy and Italian cuisine, look for Tucci’s CNN Original Series, “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.”
Makes two 12-inch pizza bases
1 7-gram packet dry yeast
2 cups warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1. First, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Then, in a large bowl, mix the flour with the salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeasty water. Bring the dough together, adding more of the warm water as you go, until you have a soft dough. You may not need to use all the water – you’re looking for the dough to just come together.
2. Lightly flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Knead it into a smooth dough; you may need to add more flour as you go so that it’s not too sticky. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a clean bowl, cover loosely, and set aside in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
3. Divide the risen dough in half. Gently pull and roll out each portion on a floured surface, handling the dough with care and letting it stretch and fall over the backs of your hands until it is a uniform thickness.
4. Top the dough as desired: Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the dough. Top with sliced mozzarella, a good grating of Parmigiano, and some fresh basil leaves. Put each element fairly randomly, placing one ingredient where another one isn’t.
5. Bake in an oven preheated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit until the pizza’s edges are nicely browned, about 15 minutes.
From “The Tucci Table: Cooking with Family and Friends,” by Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt. Copyright © 2014 by Stanley Tucci. Reprinted by permission of Gallery Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.