This giant rectangular pizza is made with from-scratch dough that’s easy to work with and gets fluffy, chewy and unbelievably crisp in the oven. For our toppings, we opted for spicy sausage and meaty mushrooms -- a classic flavor profile that’s universally loved. Putting the cheese underneath the sauce helps the thicker crust stay crisp. Tip: If you make a lot of pizza, invest in a black steel pan. It gets wonderfully hot and helps crisp up the crust.
4 cups all-purpose flour (see Cook’s Note)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (about 100 degrees F)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed (about 4 links)
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 pound part-skim mozzarella, thinly sliced
Torn fresh basil leaves, for serving
(A) For the dough: combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Combine the warm water and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a liquid measuring cup. Turn the mixer to low and add the water mixture, mixing until a loose ball forms. (You can also do this by hand: Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, then add the water and oil and stir with a wooden spoon.)
(B) Increase the speed to medium-high and knead the dough until smooth and slightly tacky, about 7 minutes. (If using your hands, gather the dough into a ball, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead, dusting your hands and the surface as needed with flour, until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 5 minutes.)
(C) Pour the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil into an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet or rectangular black steel pan. Transfer the ball of dough to the pan, turning to coat it with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough fills about two-thirds of the pan, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
(D) Slide your hands under the dough and lift, gently stretching it to fit the pan. (It’s OK if it doesn’t stretch to the corners.) For the final rise, loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside until slightly puffy, 30 to 45 minutes.
(E)While the dough rises, position the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. If you have a pizza stone, put it on the lower rack. Preheat the oven to its highest bake setting, 500 to 525 degrees F. Once the oven comes to temperature, heat for at least 1 hour before baking your pizza.
(F)For the pizza: stir the crushed tomatoes, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper together in a medium bowl or 2-cup liquid measuring cup until combined.
(G)Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it is browned at the edges and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
(H)Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Add the mushrooms to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove to a separate bowl to cool.
(I)When the dough has risen and is ready for topping, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan evenly over it all the way to the edges. Arrange the mozzarella over the dough leaving a 1/2-inch border. Spoon the tomato sauce over the cheese leaving some of the cheese exposed. Sprinkle the cooled sausage and mushrooms over the sauce, then sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan.
(J)Put the pizza pan directly on the pizza stone if using, and bake until the crust is browned at the edges and the cheese is bubbling and browned in spots, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly before removing the pizza from the pan, about 10 minutes. Top with torn basil, cut into squares and serve.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)