I categorize pizza in the United States into two tidy compartments; namely:
Thin style “NY Pizzeria” pizza comprised of tomato sauce and some variation of mozzarella, made from water buffalo milk or the cow milk variant) and
“Pizza Calabrese” which includes a minimal amount of cheese (that is to say, usually grated cheese post baking), a slightly thicker crust, possibly a bit of pomodori pelato, and multiple toppings (including mushrooms, olives, onions, etc.).
I enjoy both types of pizza styles, but when I make pizza at home I aim for pizza Calabrese. Here’s our family pizza dough recipe from an earlier post, which includes pictures of my aunt’s bakery / forno in Pellegrina, Calabria:
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 olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
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 it in half and stretch the dough on your cookie sheet. Add a bit more olive to the dough and spread it with your hands. You’re now ready add your toppings!
My favorite type of pizza is comprised of pomodori pelato, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and fresh basil. Start by adding the pomodori pelato to your pizza. Next, preheat your over 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, grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano and add shredded basil and a copious amount of extra virgin olive oil.
Some of my other favorite toppings include:
1. Sautéed red onions, black pepper, and Parmigiano-Reggiano
2. Sautéed mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano
3. Dried rosemary, seal salt, red pepper flakes, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and extra olive oil
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