The following excerpts and recipes for Roasted Hatch Chile Pizza and Melon, Cucumber, and Mint Salad are from Alexandra Stafford's cookbook "Pizza Night." It's available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you live in a humid environment or are new to pizza making, start with 425 grams of water. The dough may feel dry immediately after mixing, but as the dough rises, the flour will continue to hydrate, and when you turn out the dough to portion it, it will feel much wetter and stickier. If you are an experienced pizza maker and don’t mind working with a higher hydration dough, you can use 450 grams of water to start. 

The combination below is inspired by esquites, a Mexican street corn salad that is dressed, among other things, with mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro, and chile powder. I’ve added Hatch chiles, which I buy from the Fresh Chile Co. and roast at home, but you could use poblanos or even red or green bell peppers in their place. Oaxaca cheese can be hard to find but it’s worth seeking out for its flavor and texture—it melts so well and has a nice creaminess. Monterey Jack or mozzarella will work in its place. Note: If you’re eyeing the mayonnaise in the ingredient list skeptically, I see you. Trust me, it’s good.

Now to the salad. The night before my brother’s wedding, my parents threw a big pizza party. In addition to the New Haven–style pizzas cooked in an antique truck outfitted with a wood-burning oven, there were a few simple salads, including one designed for the children: a mix of cubed watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers dressed lightly in a mint vinaigrette. It was so refreshing, and although the bulk of the composition was fruit, the herby, sharp dressing scooted it out of fruit salad territory. There was no cheese in the salad, but I love the addition of feta, which is always a nice match for watermelon and other summer melons. Sometimes with this salad, I’ll add a pinch of Silk Chili (chile flakes from the Turkish version of Aleppo pepper), and if I have an avocado on hand, I’ll add that, too.

Neapolitanish Pizza Dough

  • Prep Time:11 hrs
  • Cook Time:0
  • Total Time:11 hrs
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 550 grams or about 4¼ cups bread flour or all-purpose flour - plus more for dusting
  • 15 grams salt
  • 2 grams or about ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 425 to 450 grams or 1¾ to 2 cups cold 60°F water
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
Photograph by Eva Kolenko
  • Step 1

    Mix the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water and use a spatula to mix until the dough comes together, forming a sticky dough ball. If the dough is dry, use your hands to gently knead it in the bowl until it comes together. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Stretch and fold: Fill a small bowl with water. Dip one hand into the bowl of water, then use the dry hand to stabilize the bowl while you grab an edge of the dough with your wet hand, pull up, and fold it toward the center. Repeat this stretching and folding motion 8 to 10 times, turning the bowl 90° after each set. By the end, the dough should transform from shaggy in texture to smooth and cohesive.

    Pour about 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the dough and use your hands to rub it all over. Cover the bowl tightly and let the dough rise at room temperature until it has nearly doubled in volume, 6 to 10 hours. The time will vary depending on the time of year and the temperature of your kitchen.

  • Step 3

    Portion the dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and use a bench scraper to divide the dough into 4 equal portions, roughly 245 to 250 grams each. Using flour as needed, form each portion into a ball by grabbing the edges of the dough and pulling them toward the center to create a rough ball. Then flip the ball over, cup both your hands around the dough, and drag it toward you, creating tension as you pull. Repeat this cupping and dragging until you have a tight ball.

  • Step 4

    Store the dough: Place the dough balls in individual airtight containers and transfer to the fridge for 1 to 3 days.

Roasted Hatch Chile Pizza with Corn and Oaxaca Cheese

  • Prep Time:3 hrs
  • Cook Time:6 mins
  • Total Time:3 hrs 6 mins
  • Servings:12
  • Medium


  • 1 ball Neapolitanish Pizza Dough - see above
  • All-purpose flour for dusting
  • Semolina flour rice flour or all-purpose flour for the peel
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels stripped from ½ ear corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted Hatch chiles or ½ cup diced canned Hatch chiles drained
  • Chile powder
  • 3 ounces Oaxaca Monterey Jack or low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese pulled into ½-inch pieces - about ¾ cup
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Fresh cilantro for serving
  • 2 or 3 lime wedges for serving
Photograph by Eva Kolenko
  • Step 1

    Prepare the dough: Transfer the dough from its storage container to a roomier, lightly floured, covered container and allow it to proof at room temperature for 1½ to 2 hours.

  • Step 2

    Prepare the oven and pizza peel: About an hour before you want to bake the pizza, place a baking steel in the top third of the oven and preheat it to a 550ºF convection roast (or as high as it will go). Dust a pizza peel lightly with semolina flour or top with parchment paper.

  • Step 3

    Stretch the dough: Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Using lightly floured hands, pat the dough gently to flatten it, then stretch it into a 10-to 11-inch round by laying it on the back of your hands and gently rotating it, taking care not to depress the beautiful air pockets in the dough. If the dough begins resisting, set it down on the work surface to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then continue stretching. Transfer the stretched dough to the prepared peel and give it a shake to ensure it’s not sticking.

  • Step 4

    Roasted Hatch Chiles: Take six Hatch green chiles or poblano peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (or rub it with a small amount of oil). Place the chiles cut-side down on the pan. Roast until the skin is blistery and charred, 30 to 40 minutes. Don’t be impatient here: If the skin isn’t blistered enough, the peppers will be difficult to peel. Place the chiles in a large bowl and cover with a plate or kitchen towel. Let rest for at least 20 minutes or up to 5 hours. Peel off the skin. Store the chiles in their juices in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for 3 months.

  • Step 5

    Top the pizza: Spread the mayonnaise over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border. Scatter the corn and roasted chiles over the top. Season with a big pinch of chile powder. Top with the cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the top and season with a pinch of flaky salt. Stretch the dough one last time by pulling outward on the edges. Redistribute the toppings as needed, then give the peel one last shake to ensure the dough is not sticking.

  • Step 6

    Bake the pizza: Shimmy the pizza (still on the parchment if using) onto the steel and bake until the cheese is melted and the edges are beginning to char, 5 to 6 minutes. (This may take 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your oven.) Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a cutting board (discard the parchment paper). Sprinkle cilantro over the top. Cut and serve with lime wedges on the side.

Melon, Cucumber, and Mint Salad

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:15 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 2 cups cantaloupe or honeydew melon cubes - about ¾ inch
  • 2 cups watermelon cubes - about ¾ inch
  • 2 cups cucumber cubes - about ¾ inch
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus more to taste
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar plus more to taste
  • 5 ounces feta cheese cut into ¾-inch cubes - about 1 heaping cup
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves torn if large
Photograph by Eva Kolenko
  • Step 1

    On a large platter, combine the melon, watermelon, and cucumber. Season all over with a big pinch of salt. Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar and toss gently. Taste and adjust with more salt, olive oil, and/or vinegar. Add the feta and mint leaves and stir gently to combine.

    Photograph by Eva Kolenko