Basic home-made pizza

a slice of heaven
a slice of heaven

In Italy, the term pizza is generally used to indicate a flat bread which can be stuffed or topped with all sorts of ingredients.  In Central Italy, pizza is also  a panettone-shaped bread traditionally made for Easter.  No news so far, all Mediterranean populations have been eating flat breads for at least 3000 years.

Things changed when, at the end of 1700, when pizza topped with tomatoes became a popular street food in Naples.

The recipe of the traditional Neapolitan pizza  is now protected by a law dictating the ingredients and methods of preparation. A traditional pizza Margherita should be made with a 10 hours leavened dough, hand rolled, topped with fresh crushed tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil and basil and cooked for 60 to 90 seconds at 485 °C (905 °F) in a wood oven.
That’s it, no pineapple.

My pizza is not a Neapolitan pizza as the above method cannot simply be reproduced with home equipment and schedule. It’s a recipe lovingly developed by my mother over years of experiments in her electrical oven. A longer fermentation and well hydrated dough is recommended to obtain near professional results even at home. However, this is the best homemade pizza you can get in a relatively short time, when in need to improvise a delicious meal which makes everyone happy.

for pizza dough:

  • 4 gr. (1 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 250 ml (1 cup) warm water
  • 450 gr (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

for topping:

  • 300 gr (9 ounces) fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 2 flat anchovy fillets cut in approx. 10 small pieces
  • 1 400 gr (12 ounces) tin diced tomato
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 tablespoon EVO oil

Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let it stand 1 minute, or until the yeast is creamy. Stir until the yeast dissolves. In a food processor, combine flour, olive oil, sugar and salt. Mix briefly. Add the yeast mixture and mix at maximum speed until a soft dough forms. Alternatively mix ingredients by hand in a large bowl, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Lightly coat a pizza pan with ½ olive oil and ½ sunflower oil. Place the dough on a table, and flatten the dough with a rolling pin until it is about ½ cm (1/4 inch) thin. Place the pan in a warm, draft-free place, cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1/2 an hour.
While the pizza is raising, warm up your oven at maximum temperature. Allow enough time for the oven to stay at maximum temperature for at least 15 min before cooking the pizza

Distribute the mozzarella cubes, anchovy fillets and tomato over the pizza dough. Sprinkle with dry oregano, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with EVO oil and cook in the high part of the oven for 8 min or until golden below and around the sides.
Should you have more time and are able to plan your pizza dinner one day ahead, please try the slow dough version.


  1. I have been making pizza at home now for twenty years or so and have always used the food processor for mixing, before kneading, as you describe here. Lately I have discovered that my breadmaking machine does quite a good job at making dough, allowing me to get on with other tasks in the garden. One simply adds the wet ingredients first, then the dry- including the yeast, (no need to pre- activate), then set the machine onto ‘dough’. It is surprisingly successful. An idea for those who have bread machines lurking in he back of the cupboard.

    • Hi Morgana, nice to see you here and thanks for your comment. I also use the bread maker when I have time but then I roll the pizza and let it raise again another 20 min. The result is a little lighter than my recipe but of course one has to have the time for it.
      I used to make the recipe above when I came back from my office work and had less than one hour for dinner. Rolling the pizza before raising shortens the preparation time considerably so it is ideal for those in a hurry. Or very hungry!

  2. Letizia, that looks so good. I love pizza — but only in Italy. Here in Canada, restaurants make pizza that reaches half-way to heaven (like a giant cupola-shaped panettone!) Intolerable. And there’s often chunks of pineapple lurking about.
    I’m going out West soon to visit my family, I think I’ll pack my own bottle of (real) olive oil and try your recipe!

    • Hi Sandra, I think you should start your own olive oil import in Canada, particularly where your family lives. May be even start a good food appreciation school!

  3. Hello Madonna!
    Reading this stirs emotions in me I cannot describe as tear comes to my eye during certain parts of it…I can sense the passion for life and love for food and how they feed each other within you ….and seemingly all of Italy. God bless you for feeding our minds and souls by teaching us to feed others this wonderful cucina!
    As a chef turned real estate appraiser I still have a passion for cooking and eating, especially when done correctly with fresh ingredients. Even now I have some bechemel and ragu on the stovetop waiting for the resting pasta dough on the counter to be turned into lasagna (I like bolognese al forno..and I sneak in some asiago ;p)!
    Now…you mentioned something about a canneloni recipe I think I read somewhere? 🙂 Cannot wait for that one…
    Also I cannot wait for spring and zuchinni flowers!
    Well, I am tuned in to my first blog and could not think of a better one to start with. Thanks again!

    • Dear Chris, thank you so much for your wondeful words! Good food really feeds the soul doesn’t it? It brings happiness to people, sometmes the only happiness in our difficult lives. See I have stopped being an entomologist to tell people about my passion for food, but anyway we go we can find a community about this. Good luck with your blog!

  4. I heard she baked a good pie
    I heard she had a style
    So I went on Face book to drool for while.
    And there she was with pizza
    Could smell it thru the screen….
    Strummin my tummy with her dough
    Killin’ my diet with her cheese
    Killing me softly with pizza,
    killing me softly,
    with pizza,
    telling my whole life
    with her crust,
    killing me softly….

  5. Thanks for your recipes. I just have one question: is this for ONE pizza? The diameter that you find in most pizzerie? Bigger? Smaller? I don’t want to send up with too much OR too little!
    BTW, I found you from the American in Italia site, as I’m an “one” in Trento. This will be my first attempt to make pizza at home. My Italian husband only eats pizza at the pizzeria, but since he’s away, the menu plan belongs to me and our 3 year old!
    Oh, and I might give the focaccia recipe a go, since I can start that the night before while the little one is sleeping.

    • Hi Amy and thank you for visitig my blog! The recipe is for a pizza tray, that is one of those rectangular non stick tray that comes with an average home ovens and it’s enough for 4 people if one is a child. If you wish to cook it in round pans you will need three. You can freeze the lefotvers, altough we generally love it the next day!

  6. Hi Letizia! I would like to know if I can use the same recipe of pizza dough for rolled pizza or panizza ? Thanks a lot !

    • Hi Gina, I am not 100% sure about what is a panizza, but for what I can see in the internet it’s based on regular pizza dough, so I guess you could use my recipe, the slow dough version. Let me know if it works out!

  7. Stumbled upon your recipe from Chow hound. I would have to say it was so easy and so delicious! The crust turned out perfect. I have tried other homemade crusts that always turn out soggy under the ingredients…but not this one, it was amazing! Thanks for the recipe.

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