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
- 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.