Heat the oven to 500 degrees F, with a 16-inch diameter pizza stone placed on lowest shelf position, for at least 30 minutes. Pour 1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees) into a small bowl. Add the sugar, and sprinkle in the yeast. Using a fork, stir the mixture until the yeast is dissolved and water has turned a tan color. Let yeast stand until creamy and foamy, about 5 minutes. In a food processor, use blade to combine the 2 3/4 cups flour and salt, and pulse 3 to 4 times. Add yeast mixture and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Pulse until the dough comes together, adding more flour as needed until dough is smooth, not tacky, when squeezed. Transfer to clean surface; knead 4 or 5 turns into a ball. Brush the inside of a medium bowl with olive oil, and place the dough in the bowl, smooth-side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Remove plastic wrap, and place your fist in the center of the dough to punch it down. Fold the dough back onto itself 4 or 5 times. Turn dough over, folded-side down, cover with plastic wrap, and return to the warm spot to rise again until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Punch down the dough, and transfer to a clean surface. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, divide the dough in half, and knead each half 4 or 5 turns into a ball. Place 1 of the dough balls back in the oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Lightly flour a clean surface, place the remaining dough ball on top, pat into a flattened circle, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and let rest 5 minutes. Using your fingers, begin to flatten and push the dough evenly out from the center until it measures about 7 to 8 inches in diameter. Do not press the dough all the way to the edges. Leave a slightly raised border, about a 1/2-inch wide, around entire circumference of pizza dough. Sprinkle cornmeal all over the surface of a pizza peel, and set aside. Lift the dough off the surface, and center it on top of your fists. Hold your fists about 1 to 2 inches apart. Begin to rotate and stretch the dough, opening your fists until they are 6 to 8 inches apart and the dough is several inches larger. Then place your fists under the inside of the outer edge, and continue to stretch the dough a little at a time until it reaches about 12 inches in diameter. The dough will drape down over your forearms. At this stage, it is important to keep your fists along the inside of the outer edge and watch that the dough does not get too thin or tear in the center. At the same time, make sure to maintain the slightly raised border on the edges. The dough is surprisingly resilient and will not tear if this step is done carefully and slowly. Arrange the pizza dough into a circle on top of the cornmeal-dusted peel. Leaving the raised edge uncovered, pour 9 tablespoons of the pizza sauce onto the dough. Using the back of a tablespoon, evenly spread the sauce leaving a 1/2-inch border of dough uncovered. Arrange half of the mozzarella slices on top of the sauce. Lift the pizza peel and, using a slight jerking motion, slide the pizza about 1-inch back and forth on the peel to loosen it. Slightly tilt the peel, and place the front tip of peel on the back side of the stone. Slide the pizza off the peel, centering it on the stone. Bake until the crust is golden brown and crisp on the edges and the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes, turning the pizza halfway through baking. Using tongs, lift the edge of the pizza, and slide the peel all the way under to remove it from the oven. Using a pizza wheel, slice the pizza into 8 pieces, and serve immediately. While first pizza is baking, shape and assemble a second pizza with remaining dough.;
Pour the olive oil into a large skillet, and place over medium heat. Using your hands, squeeze the tomatoes to crush them. Add tomatoes to the warm olive oil, along with the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is thick, 40 to 50 minutes. Pass sauce through a food mill, discard the seeds, and let cool.
Yield: enough for 2 pizzas
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