Saturday, January 21, 2012

Classic Neapolitana Pizza

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Now, I love pizza but I don't eat a lot of it due to my diet restrictions so every now and then, I'll eat a slice or two but I never go past two slices.  So now, you may ask, "Why in hell are you featuring a pizza recipe then?" My answer is simple. We had people over who wanted us to host a pizza party and so we did. My part was to make the sauce (ragu and pesto) and by default although not requested, a salad and dessert. This then inspired me to make my own version of pizza from the dough to the sauce and to decide on what toppings I wanted for it.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Now, when it comes to toppings, there is nothing more that I want than two simple ingredients: basil and Mozzarella. In short, I am craving for Neapolitana Pizza. The good news, there is a recipe in my Sophia Loren cookbook. And really, who better other than the great La Loren to teach me how to make pizza. The dough recipe makes one large pizza while the sauce is enough to top one pizza and a little bit extra enough to be used in a pasta dish.One other thing, the recipe for the ragu does not indicate sugar but if you ever feel that the sauce is a bit too sour, balance it out with white sugar.

Classic Neapolitana Pizza - Adapted*

2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water

Tomato Ragu:
Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
2 lbs tomatoes, canned 
   whole and peeled
4 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
white sugar (optional)

Mozzarella slices
Basil leaves

1. In a small bowl, 
    activate the yeast with the lukewarm water (110-115°F). 
    Set aside until frothy. In another bowl, add the flour with the 
    salt and make a well in the center. Add the yeast and with a 
    fork, incorporate the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture. 
    Add a little bit of water to hold the dough together if necessary. 

2. In a floured surface or a bowl of your mixer with the dough hook,  
    knead the dough until soft and pliable. Shape into a dome and  
    with a sharp knife, make two slits at the top. Return to the bowl and  
    cover. Set in a warm draft-free area until doubled in size. 

3. With the dough rising, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  
    Add the garlic and saute until slightly browned. Add the diced  
    tomatoes with the juices and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a  
    boil and simmer covered over low heat for about 15 minutes. 

4. Uncover the pot and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes or  
    until the sauce is thick. Check for flavor.

5. When the dough has risen to twice its size, punch it down and turn it  
    into a floured work surface. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Using a 
    rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 to 12 inch circle. Transfer the 
    dough into a baking pan dusted with corn meal. 

6. Cover the dough with the ragu and top with slices of fresh Mozzarella 
    and basil leaves. Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes in an oven 
    preheated to 500°F. 

7. Remove the pizza and cut into serving pieces. 

*Loren, S., Sophia Loren's Recipes and Memories, GT Publishing, New York: 1998.

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