CRAVE: Pizza can be a weeknight meal that feels high-brow

This image released by Milk Street shows a recipe for pizza with salami and smoked mozzarella. (Milk Street via AP)

Store-bought dough brings homemade pizza into the realm of easy weeknight cooking. To simplify prep even further, we took a cue from rectangular focaccia-like Sicilian pizza and Roman pizza al taglio.

This recipe from our book “Tuesday Nights Mediterranean,” which features weeknight-friendly meals from the region, is for a sheet-pan pizza that doesn’t require dividing and shaping the dough and can be baked in a single batch without a pizza stone.

We simply stretch the dough toward the edges of the pan, then top it with crushed tomatoes, cheese, salami and fresh sage. To prevent sticking, oil the baking sheet first with cooking spray, then with olive oil. The oil may seem like an excessive amount, but it adds flavor to the bottom crust and helps it crisp.

Though you’re not tossing the dough like a pro, it still pays to get your hands a bit dirty to improve the flavor of the toppings. Tearing the mozzarella into irregular shapes and crushing the canned tomatoes by hand produces bits of different sizes that will bake into pleasantly varied textures in the oven.

Feel free to substitute scamorza cheese or regular (not fresh) mozzarella for the smoked mozzarella, and pepperoni for the genoa salami.

And don’t forget to bring the dough to room temperature before beginning the recipe. Cold dough is resistant to stretching and bakes up with a denser crumb. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, give the dough 30 to 60 minutes to lose its chill.

Pizza with Salami and Smoked Mozzarella

Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand

Kosher salt

1½ pounds store-bought refrigerated pizza dough, room temperature

6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, broken into small pieces by hand or shredded (1½ cups)

2 ounces thinly sliced genoa salami (10 to 12 slices)

10 to 12 fresh sage leaves


Heat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, then brush with the oil. In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Set the dough in the center of the prepared baking sheet, then press and stretch it until it covers the pan and is of an even thickness. Press from the center outward and lift and stretch the edges as needed; it’s fine if the dough doesn’t completely fill the corners. If the dough is resistant or shrinks after stretching, wait 5 to 10 minutes before trying again; if it is very elastic, you may need to give it 2 or 3 rests.

When the dough fills the baking sheet, distribute the tomatoes evenly over the dough, leaving a narrow border around the edge, then sprinkle with the cheese. Arrange the salami in a single layer and top with the sage leaves. Bake until the edges of the crust are well browned and the cheese is melted and begins to brown, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and slide the flatbread out of the baking sheet and onto a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into pieces. Serve drizzled with additional oil.


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