Food

The Best Pizza You’ll Ever Have

What’s your favorite pizza place in NYC? After living here for eleven years, I can definitely say that the best pizza I’ve had is at Co. in Chelsea. Have you ever been there? Co.’s owner, Jim Lahey, is a bread-making genius (“the man can do wonders with flour and water,” says the New York Times); since New York pizza is known for its thin crust, the danger is that it can taste as dry as cardboard, but Lahey has a way of making his pizzas pillowy and chewy in just the right way. He also adds bold toppings—like, sauerkraut, arugula, leeks, pecorino—that elevate his pizzas from kids-birthday-party catering to grown-up fare. Here’s a recipe that will blow your mind…

The Best Pizza You’ll Ever Have
by Jim Lahey, owner of Co. and author of My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home

In Italian, stracciatella means shreds. As a cheese, it’s a soft form of mozzarella that melts very quickly, becoming molten almost instantly. In Italy it’s often used in soups. With pizza, you’ll find that stracciatella placed on the hot pie just of the oven turns the pizza into a masterpiece that looks like you slaved and worried over it—when in fact you surely didn’t. It’s quick and easy—and in my restaurant it is ordered so often I sometimes think it’s all the guys in the back are cooking.

Stracciatella is not in every cheese store, even many of those with an especially broad selection. I buy ours from Buon Italia in New York City. It’s worth ordering and waiting for.

Recipe: Stracciatella Pie
Makes one 10- to 12-inch pizza

You’ll need:

1 ball of Pizza Dough, shaped and waiting on a floured peel (here’s the recipe for easy, no-knead pizza dough…but you can sneak and get frozen dough at Trader Joe’s!)
1/4 cup basic tomato sauce (recipe below, if you’d like to make it from scratch)
Generous pinch of fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 ounces stracciatella cheese
About 3/4 ounce arugula
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Put the pizza stone on a rack in a gas oven about 8 inches from the broiler. Preheat the oven on bake at 500F for 30 minutes. Switch to broil for 10 minutes.

With the dough on the peel, spoon the tomato sauce over the surface and spread it evenly, leaving about an inch of the rim untouched. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. With quick, jerking motions, slide the pie onto the stone. Broil for 3 minutes under gas, until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred but not burnt. Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a tray or serving platter. Distribute the cheese in clumps over the surface of the pie; it will melt and spread immediately. Cover it with the arugula and drizzle with oil. Slice and serve.

Recipe: Basic Tomato Sauce (if you’d like to make it from scratch)

You’ll need:

1 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes or 1 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

If using fresh tomatoes, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a 5- or 6-quart pot.

Cut away the dry stem area of the tomatoes, leaving the core intact. Place 2 or 3 tomatoes at a time in the boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and put on a rack to cool. Peel the tomatoes with a pairing knife.

Whether using fresh or canned, cut each tomato into several wedges and run them through a food mill over a medium bowl to create a pulp (not a fine puree; you want to retain some texture). If you don’t have a food mill, just squish them with your hands—it’s messy but fun.

Stir in the olive oil and salt. The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Yum! Thank you so much, Jim! Your cookbook is fantastic.

P.S. More best recipes, including brussel sprouts and crunchy roast potatoes. And for dessert, 15-minute chocolate pudding.

(Recipe by Jim Lahey, author of My Pizza. Dough photo by Tara Donne for Bon Appetit, all other photos by Squire Fox for My Pizza)

  1. The pictures alone made my mouth water. My friends did a homemade pizza party last Halloween and it was such a hit. I think I want to try hosting the same dinner idea and this recipe seems perfect! http://www.secondslice.com/about.php

  2. What a fun and healthy idea!! Never thought to use a bean puree on pizza but it makes total sense. I love this recipe, bookmarking it for our next pizza night!

  3. This look so amazing. I had an amazing pizza in Calgary and I’m determined to try every recipe til I find one like it. This one just might beat it though.

  4. This looks like delicious pizza! In Calgary, I have been trying new pizza recipes. I will have to try this one.

  5. Pizza night on Sunday with some friends, I’ll try the dough recipe for sure! Maybe a broccoli rabe, garlic, chili, goat cheese pizza…

  6. We made pizza today in our large cast iron, using Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough. My favorite is to top it with arugula that has been tossed in a lemon vinaigrette with grated reggiano parmesan, so every leaf is coated. Delicious.

  7. We’re fans of John’s Pizzeria in Midtown.

  8. Looks good, but that is alot of preheating/energy use for 3 minutes of cooking time. I’d rather just go down to the local NY style pizza place which is freakin’ delicious!

  9. Pizza is one of my favorite foods! This looks so, so good!

  10. Jo you should also check out Roberta’s in Bushwick. Don’t stick to just the pizzas there either. Everything is great

  11. Lord have mercy!

  12. what a coincidence! i just discovered the no-knead pizza dough yesterday, started a batch and was thinking how excited i am to get it in the oven and get to eat it tonight when i saw your post!

  13. This looks divine! I’m more of a “warmer-upper” of Trader Joe’s frozen pizzas, or if I attempt to make my own, I cheat and use pita bread. If I’m feeling especially lazy, I just pick up the phone and order one. This makes me want to give Jim’s recipe a try! Great post!

  14. Jim Lahey’s pizza dough recipe from his book My Bread is our go-to. And we LOVE that most of the pizza recipes included are naturally vegan!!! My husband seriously goes bananas when he finds out I’ve made pizza for dinner. We usually top with marinara sauce, artichoke hearts, red onions, and mushrooms. Sooo good!

  15. I ALWAYS use his no-knead pizza crust and have dreamt of going to Co. Thank you for sharing! x

  16. i was just telling my grandma about arugula topped pizza (my fave). it really is the best you’ll ever have!

  17. This looks so delicious – thank you for sharing the recipe! I’m heading to Italy shortly so i’m looking forward to the pizza now more than ever!

    http://www.dashofkate.blogspot.com

    xo

  18. Joanna: next time you’re exploring Brooklyn, check out Lucali on Henry St — delish! Its BYO, and their calzones and pies are to die for. A tip: call ahead the evening of and put your name in to avoid a wait!

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  20. Oooh, I went to Co. on your and Daily Muse’s suggestion the last time i was in NY. It was good…but I wouldn’t say the best I ever had.

  21. Oh yay! I have this cookbook of his, and it is EXCELLENT. I love it!

  22. Ohh I want pizza now! I’m a fan of the more thicker crust but this makes me want to give the thin crust another try. I like the more unusual toppings for pizza rather than the boring common ones too!

  23. I can’t wait to try this. I’ve never had arugula before, but this looks like a great way to get introduced to it :)

  24. YUM. I like Lombardi’s on Spring Street :) Their ricotta pie is to die for…

  25. I live one block from here and I am obsessed with this. One of my favorites for sure if not my fave!
    He also owns sulliva street bakery basically next to Co and it has the best sandwiches in the city. The bread is on another level! If you haven’t been to either one, make your way over the Chelsea.
    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style

  26. I really enjoy Co. too. I work nearby and it’s a nice lunch spot. And you should Try Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint. Ah-may-zing! He gets very creative with the toppings.

  27. So weird this was posted today… I made this dough late last night and it’s currently at home rising! It’s my first time trying his no-knead method, but I’ve only heard the best things… exciting to have it tonight! Great tips on getting that pizza perfectly charred too. If you don’t have a pizza peel (which I don’t), you can also just use the back of a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal… works exactly the same!

  28. This is perfect – especially because I was looking for a going-away present for friends leaving NY and this cookbook (and pizza) is just the thing!

  29. Always on the hunt for the best pizza ever. Will definitely check out Co. next time I am in NY. Thanks!

  30. On your recommendation, we went to Co. last month. I will say it was AMAZING. I ate an entire pizza myself! Thank you for the great suggestion. Can’t wait try it at home now!

  31. Di Fara! Amazing.

  32. my favorite pizza place here in austin (the backspace) serves a pizza with approximately 2 lbs of arugula on it, and it really can’t be beat. i crave that every. single. day.

  33. Wow this look amazing. It must be good if it’s on here and making the cover of Pizza magazines =) Thanks for sharing!

  34. This place looks fabulous! I think Martha Stewart recommended it in the past as well if I’m not mistaken. Definitely on the list for my next NYC visit which is long overdue!

  35. Here in Italy it’s not a common thing have pizza with stracciatella… But when I did it I liked very much! I’ll be always for the extra fresh and thick mozzarella di bufala pizza! :)
    I tried the stracciatella version in Rome (I wish I could remember where because it was a very good place!)…I remember that many tourists were having the stracciatella one and I was fascinated so I tried it!
    xo

  36. Ai says...

    Shouldn’t be looking at this at 12:40AM… I’m craving it now… looks SO good!!

  37. Oh Boy! I am definitely going to need some delicious pizza in my future! This looks incredible.