For the dough: Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Add salt and 1 cup of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon to make a loose batter. Add 2 more cups of the flour and stir with the spoon for 2 to 3 minutes to incorporate as much flour as possible.
Bring the dough together by hand and turn out onto a floured board or marble surface. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until you have made a smooth, firm dough. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside to rise in the warmest part of the kitchen for 45 minutes.
Cut the risen dough into 4 equal pieces and knead each portion into a round. Cover again and let rest 15 minutes.
For the pizza: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a clean pizza stone in oven to preheat.
Dust a clean work surface lightly with flour. With your fingers and palms, flatten one of the dough rounds into a 10-inch oval about 1/4-inch thick. Spread 1/4 cup of the passata evenly on entire surface of dough, leaving 1/4-inch of dough to form edge of pizza. Take some of the of mozzarella and put on top of passata. Rip 2 leaves of basil into smaller pieces and sprinkle on top of mozzarella. Slide pizza directly onto pizza stone and bake 15 to 18 minutes, until edge of pizza is golden brown and cheese is bubbling. Repeat with remaining 3 dough balls and serve hot.
Recipe adapted from Mario Batali: Holiday Food
Other Pizza Suggestions: Pizza Marinara: Pizza dough, recipe from above 4 plum tomatoes 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 4 teaspoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped 4 cloves fresh garlic, sliced thinly Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare dough as directed. Thinly slice one tomato and place on dough. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over entire pizza. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon oregano and 1 clove thinly sliced garlic over tomatoes. Bake on a pizza stone until crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Serve hot. Other topping suggestions for pizza: Prosciutto Crudo Arugula Sausage (do not pre-cook) Anchovy Broccoli Rape, blanched first
Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali, 2001