A Tasting Table Classic from Our Archive:
Everything about Jim Lahey's Chelsea restaurant, Co. (short for "company"), is meant to challenge your notion of a pizzeria. In fact, the word "pizza" appears only once at the restaurant, in a menu disclaimer stating "our pizzas are not always round."
Toppings inspired by non-Italian dishes like croque-monsieur, tarte flambé and pan con tomate spill over the edges of Lahey's bubbly, misshapen crusts. He's also experimenting with a tomato-less marinara made from red bell peppers.
It's no surprise that Lahey, the founder of Sullivan Street Bakery, would open a spot that feels more bread bar than pizza parlor. His breads appear in almost every dish, including soups (ribollita in winter, gazpacho in summer), salads and a rotating selection of crostini. "Pizza and bread are brothers, but have been separated over time," he says. "I'm trying to reunite them."
Even Lahey's pizza dough is based on his foolproof recipe for no-knead bread, which triggered a home-baking revolution when The New York Times published it in 2006. Here, he's adapted it for our readers, with one admonition: "Making the dough is easy," he says. "Handling it, tossing it—that's the tricky part."
No-Knead Pizza Dough
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Co.
Makes four 12-inch pizza crusts
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast (such as SAF brand)
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ cups water
1. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until blended (the dough will be very sticky). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 12 to 24 hours in a warm spot, about 70°.
2. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and lightly sprinkle the top with flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Generously sprinkle a clean cotton towel with flour and cover the dough balls with it. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
4. Stretch or toss the dough into the desired shape, cover with toppings and bake on top of a very hot pizza stone.
Co., 230 Ninth Ave. (at 24th St.); 212-243-1105 or co-pane.com