Since this pie has only a few ingredients, I suggest using the best quality canned tomatoes, fresh basil and freshly grated cheese. Bread flour is recommended, if you have it handy. You could substitute fresh mozzarella or ricotta cheese for the buffalo mozzarella.
3 1/2cupsall-purposeor bread flour, or 3 cups flour and 1/2 cup semolina
1tsp.kosher saltplus more to taste (*use less if using regular table/sea salt)
28 ozcrushed tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil leavesroughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepperto taste
5oz.Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheesegrated
1ball buffalo mozzarellamozzarella di bufala
(*Note, you can also prepare this dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook).
Place flour and salt in a large bowl, stir and make a well in the centre. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 1/4 cups water and stir until a rough dough forms. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and basil, season with salt and pepper (to taste), and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and set aside to let cool.
Heat oven to 500° F. Transfer dough to a floured work surface, and using a rolling pin, roll dough into a 1/16″-thick rectangle. Dimensions aren’t important, just a huge rectangle of thin dough (*Mine was about 3 feet x 2 feet so suggest a large surface for rolling).
Shaping: Arrange the dough so that the long sides are parallel to you. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over dough in a thin layer and sprinkle with 1 1/4 cups grated cheese. Fold left third of dough toward centre, spread top with 1/4 cup sauce, and sprinkle with 4 Tbsp. of the grated cheese and half the buffalo mozzarella. season with salt and pepper. Fold the right third over the centre to meet the left edge. Repeat with sauce, grated cheese, and spread the remainder of the buffalo mozzarella in the centre. Fold in top and bottom so they meet in centre. Spread top with remaining sauce and grated cheese. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Fold top half over bottom half, like closing a book, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Not the easiest thing to move. I use two spatulas underneath to move it to the baking sheet).
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° F. and continue baking until dough is set and slightly charred, about another 45–55 minutes more. *If you feel your pie is getting too charred, lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top to prevent further browning. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, where I share some valuable tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!