Here’s a holiday to start marking on your calendars: February 9, National Pizza Day. Turns out it’s pretty easy to celebrate, too: Just eat as much of your favorite pie as desired, in whatever incarnation you wish. Buon appetito!

Those who prefer a more involved approach to this most sacred of holidays, however, can try their hand at making their own pizza at home. To ensure ultimate success, we enlisted Simone Falco, executive chef and owner at New York City’s Rossopomodoro—which is also the official pizza partner of Eataly—to share his expert tips for creating the most delicious pie at home. Read on for those, plus two Rossopomodoro recipes—one of which is gluten-free—below.

The secret to great dough isn’t kneading or throwing . . .
It’s good old-fashioned H20. “Water, water, water,” says Falco. “Pizza dough made at home should be 50 percent water. Pizza needs to cook longer in a home oven, which means the dough needs to be more hydrated.”

But don’t let it to get soggy . . .
“It’s important to spread the dough very well and very evenly,” explains Falco. “If possible, cook the dough on a pizza stone—not on a tray.” If you don’t have a pizza stone, Falco suggests using parchment paper atop a baking tray that’s been pre-heated in the oven for an hour.

Speaking of ovens . . .
Restaurants cook pizzas at temperatures upwards of 850 degrees Farenheit, but most home ovens can’t do that. Still, Falco recommends “putting the oven as high up as possible” way before the pie’s ready to go in.

And don’t forget the toppings . . .
“I love burrato, bottarga, and lemon zest—no tomato,” Falco says of his favorite combination. But to really impress friends, the chef suggests something slightly more outrageous: burrata, mozzarella, mushrooms, and fontina with caviar or black truffles.

Chef Simone Falco of Rossopomodoro’s Napoletano Margherita Verace Pizza

Makes 4 pizzas

For dough:
Ingredients
650 g flour
350 g cold water
18 g salt
5 g yeast

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the salt in water for 1 minute, add the yeast.

  2. Start mixing 4/5 of flour with water for 3 minutes, add the remaining flour and continue to mix for 15 minutes.

  3. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered, then shape into four loaves; let rise for eight hours covered with a wet towel or tight plastic wrap.

Toppings:
Ingredients
2 14-oz cans of Afeltra San Marzano peeled tomatoes
1 ball mozzarella di bufala
Flour
Salt (to taste)
Olive oil (to taste)
Basil (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 550 degrees Farenheit (or highest possible).

  2. Drain and slice mozzarella.

  3. Pour tomatoes into bowl, add salt and crush tomatoes with hands.

  4. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet, dust with flour.

  5. Place dough on the paper and flatten it with rolling pin.

  6. Use a table spoon to gently spread the tomato sauce on the dough; place the mozzarella slices and basil on top, drizzle with olive oil.

  7. Cook pizza for 3 minutes or until golden brown.

Chef Simone Falco’s Gluten-Free Pepperoni Pizza

Yields 4 pizzas

For dough:
Ingredients
670 g Caputo Fiore Glut (gluten free flour)
540 g cold water
15 g salt
12 g oil
1 g yeast

Instructions

  1. Knead 670 g of flour and 540 g of cold water together at a slow speed.

  2. Add the yeast and then the salt, increasing the speed after 2 minutes to avoid lumps.

  3. Continue to mix for another 4 minutes, then add the oil and mix until fully absorbed (about 2 minutes).

  4. Store the mixture in a large bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.

  5. Coat hands with oil, then divide dough into four pieces, wrap in foil or place in plastic container to rise for 5 hours at room temperature.

Toppings
Ingredients
2 14oz cans of Afeltra San Marzano peeled tomatoes
1 ball mozzarella di bufala
Flour
Salt (to taste)
Olive oil (to taste)
Basil (to taste)
Thick-cut spicy salami or peperoni

*note that gluten free dough is very soft; be sure to have oil on your hands when spreading to avoid sticking

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 550 degrees Farenheit (or highest possible).

  2. Drain and slice mozzarella.

  3. Pour tomatoes into bowl, add salt and crush tomatoes with hands.

  4. Put parchment paper on a baking sheet, dust with flour.

  5. Place dough on the paper and flatten with rolling pin.

  6. Use a spoon to gently spread the tomato sauce on the dough.

  7. Place the mozzarella di bufala slices, thick-cut salami, and basil on top; drizzle with olive oil.

  8. Cook pizza for 3 minutes until it is golden brown.

Buon appetito!

Source Vogue