During our trip to Italy, we visited one of the oldest pizzerias in Naples, Sorbillo, where people queue around the block to sample their classic pizza margherita. You get so many varieties of pizzas these days, and there are so many bad versions and recipes out there, that I know why some Italians want to make it DOC, like wine...
- 500 g strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10 g salt
- 10 g fresh yeast
- 325 ml lukewarm water
- dried breadcrumbs, for sprinkling
- 300 g tinned plum tomatoes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 25 g Parmesan, freshly grated
- a few basil leaves or some dried oregano
- 150 g mozzarella, roughly chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 5 minutes
Rising time 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 250Â°C/Gas 9. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and gradually add to the flour, mixing well until you obtain a dough. If you find the dough too sticky, just add a little more flour. Shape the dough into a ball and leave to rest, covered with a cloth, for 5 minutes. Knead the dough for 8â€“10 minutes and split it in half. Knead each of the pieces for a couple of minutes and shape into balls. Sprinkle some flour on a clean kitchen cloth and place the dough on it, then cover with a slightly damp cloth. Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a bowl, crush them slightly with a fork, season and mix well. Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and spread the dough into a circle about 35-40cm in diameter, making it as thin as a pancake (being careful not to tear it), with the border slightly thicker. Repeat with the other dough ball. Sprinkle a few breadcrumbs on two large baking trays and place the pizza bases on them.
Spread a little of the tomato evenly over each base â€“ not too much, or the pizzas will be soggy. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle over the Parmesan, add a few basil leaves or sprinkle over some oregano and top with pieces of mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven for 7 minutes (a couple of minutes longer if you prefer your pizza crisp). Remove from the oven, drizzle with some more olive oil and consume immediately.
This is an extract from the book Two Greedy Italians by Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo.