If you travel to any panificio or bakery in Italy (and even some State side establishments) you’re bound to run across pizzette or bite-sized little pizzas with a variety of simple toppings. Pizzette are made with a simple tomato sauce and high quality extra virgin olive oil including the same toppings you’ll find on most pizzas. Most Italian bakeries make pizzette early in the day and thereafter top, and re-heat, them with each customer order. Typical toppings include prosciutto, mushrooms, arugula, etc.
Our very own Zia Giovanna Latella operates Latella Panificio in Pellegrina, Calabria and makes extraordinary pizzette, as pictured above. I often buy pizzette from a local Italian bakery here in the United States and top them at home for a semi homemade pizza experience. However, if you’d like to make your own pizzette here is our recipe. Note we’ve seen pizzette made with frozen puff pastry and that is perfectly acceptable as well!
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3 cups of all-purpose (or unbleached) flour (you can also try Molino Caputo Tipo 00 Pizza Flour, imported from Naples, Italy)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Recipe for homemade pizza sauce
- 2 cups of fresh basil
- Mix the “wet ingredients”, including the water and olive oil with the dry yeast (you’re looking to dissolve the yeast). Thereafter thoroughly mix the remaining dry ingredients and combine with the wet ingredients. Place the mixture in a Kitchen Aid and mix for 2-3 minutes. Remove the dough and knead with your hands for 4-5 minutes; you’re looking for a fluffy/not too dense dough. Remember to make sure your workspace has plenty of flour so the dough does not stick when kneading. Form the dough into a ball and coat the exterior with a bit of olive oil and place in a large bowl, covering the bowl with a kitchen towel. The dough should sit (I like to place the bowl in my oven, with no heat of course) for 30-45 minutes or until it doubles in size.
- Next, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a 10 by 15 inch cookie sheet and thoroughly coat the bottom with the oil. Take your dough and cut into 4 equal pieces and make a shape roughly equivalent to a bagel (give or take a few inches in diameter) and place on the oiled cookie sheet. Add your pizza sauce or pieces of peeled tomatoe (including salt, pepper, and oregano if you're not using prepared tomato sauce)
- My favorite type of pizza is the “Pizza Margherita” which is comprised of tomato sauce (here’s our pizza sauce recipe), fresh mozzarella (try to avoid supermarket mozzarella), and fresh basil.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. and bake your pizza for 20-25 minutes depending on how thin or thick your dough is. Once you’re ready to remove the pizza lift one side of the dough and make sure you’ve got a nice brown color. After removing the pizza, add the hand shredded basil and a bit of extra virgin olive oil. If you have some Parmigiano-Reggiano you could also grate a bit and add it to the top of the pizzete.