1. Make Your Own Dough
If you want a truly superior pizza, you've got to take matters into your own hands. Batali mixes together flour, yeast, extra virgin olive oil, and "blood temperature" water (that's 96-98.6 degrees) for a perfect crust. A couple tablespoons of sugar helps activate the yeast and makes for a crispier crust.
2. Knead It By Hand
There's no way around it: Kneading your dough by hands will give it the best texture. Besides, says Batali: It's a great upper body workout (You won't get biceps like that at a gym). The dough will look shaggy before you begin kneading it, but it comes together quickly: You're done kneading when the dough feels cohesive and firm. After that, let time do the work. Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a warm towel, and let it triple in size in a warm place.
3. Toss It Like a Pro
Old-school pizza parlors had it right: Hand-tossed dough makes the best crust. It's the most efficient way to stretch out the dough without applying too much pressure or potentially tearing through it with your fingers. It's a skill worth practicing at home, even though Batali admits "it is a little guido…"
4. Par-Bake the Crust
Partially baking the crust will ensure that it can stand up to all of the toppings. Heat a cast-iron pan or nonstick pan over a medium-high pan, then add your stretched dough. Once the crust begins to bubble and turn light golden-brown, remove it from the heat and top away. The difference between a par-baked crust is all in the texture: crispy and chewy, rather than soggy and limp. Nobody likes a limp pizza crust.
5. Don't Overtop Your Pie
When it comes to toppings, simplicity is best, says Batali. Don't like sloppy pizza? "Don't overdress it." That extra-cheese pizza is "no buono." Choose a few quality ingredients like mozzarella, in-season tomatoes, or fresh basil, and practice restraint when decorating your crust (that goes for the sauce, too). Besides, you spent so much time on the dough! Don't let it get lost under a mound of mozz.
6. Poach Your Ingredients in Olive Oil
This trick from restaurant kitchens makes a big difference, and it also couldn't be easier: Poach your ingredients slowly in olive oil (don't let the oil get too hot or smoke). Batali likes to use garlic and fresno chiles, but the possibilities are endless. Not only will your toppings be more unctuous and rich-tasting, you also got some great flavored-oil out of the deal. Win-win.
7. Top with Torn Fresh Herbs for Better Flavor
You'll never see an Italian grandmother chopping herbs, says Batali. Rather than hack at a bunch of basil, simply tear it gently with your hands over the finished pie. The herbs won't get bruised, and you'll have a fresher, better pizza.