The first pizza was made with an edible plate called focaccia.
Tired of the same old on Pizza Friday? Try going back in time, to Pizza No. 1. It was made with focaccia (foh-KAH-chee-ah) bread on a stone hearth.
The hearth may be hard to find but not the focaccia. It’s a flatbread often served alone as a sop for olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
With minimal work, it converts to a pizza crust. The traditional, early pizzas were simple tomato slices layered with thinly sliced prosciutto ham, shredded arugala and, always, sliced mozzarella cheese.
The focaccia here becomes an edible plate.
11⁄2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
21⁄4 teaspoons yeast
3 1⁄4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
Dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes to foam. Mix 3 cups of flour, salt and yeast mixture. Turn on mixer to slow and work the dough together. If the dough is sticky, continue mixing and gradually add the remaining flour. Form a smooth ball of dough, place into an oiled bowl, cover and set aside to rise for 3 hours.
Punch down the dough and remove it from the bowl onto a lightly oiled, 9-inch by 13-inch sheet tray. Spread the dough out onto the sheet tray. Using your fingertips, make “dimples” in the dough. Drizzle the dough with olive oil, sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped basil and 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, plus other ingredients. Cover with mozzarella cheese slices. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees. Serves 6.