Place the water in a large bowl or mixer with a dough hook. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the remaining ingredients except cornmeal and mix on low speed until a ball is formed. Change to medium speed and mix approximately for 1 to 2 minutes until a smooth and elastic dough is formed. Remove the dough from the bowl, cut the dough into 2 portions, roll into tight balls and place in lightly oiled sheet pan, cover and let proof for a minimum of 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. To make the sauce, place the salt pork in a large sauce pot and render the fat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute until the aroma is apparent. Add the crushed tomatoes, puree, and stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and salt and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bay leaf, puree the sauce and adjust the seasonings.
Once the dough is ready, roll each piece out using a rolling pin until dough in approximately 1/4-inch thick. Spoon some tomato sauce on top of the dough. Layer the mozzarella, place the pizza on a sheet pan dusted with cornmeal and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until crispy and golden. Garnish with basil leaves.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Enrico Perilli, Porto Alba Pizzaria, Naples, Italy