October is Pizza month in the U.S. We're always celebrating something it seems...so, having just returned from our Campania and Napoli culinary tour we're featuring this delicious "staple". This month Gina is featuring several blogs on pizza. This first one is below.
We thoroughly enjoyed our groups in Campania and Tuscany and all that joined Gina for her day cooking classes at the mulino this fall. Grazie for coming to visit!
Gina and Mary
Pizza Month is October
In our family, every Friday night was pizza night. Mom made the dough in the afternoon and allowed it to rise, then punched it out onto a baking sheet, covered it with tomato sauce and Polly-O whole milk mozzarella, a sprinkle of basil and oregano and a drizzle of olive oil. Served with lentil soup, that was Friday night supper for years and years. And the leftover pizza sat on the kitchen counter all night and we ate it for breakfast Saturday morning! Simple and delicious.
Pizza can get really complicated outside Naples, but the traditional pizza is still the most honored in that food centric place: marinara with tomato sauce, oregano and garlic slivers; and margherita with tomato, mozzarella and basil leaves.
Pizza in Tuscany tends to be thin and crunchy, almost cracker-like. This is caused from rolling the dough flat with a rolling pin or a rolling machine, thus destroying all the bubbles formed by the yeast. In Naples and Rome, they punch the dough out or gently stretch it to form it or put it in the pan. This way the bubbles remain and when the pizza hits the hot oven, they expand and give a lovely chewy crust.
- 1 package dry yeast or ˝ cake yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 teas salt
- 4 or more cups flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Dissolve the salt in the water and add the yeast, stirring to dissolve. Begin to add the flour a little at a time, mixing with your fingers or a fork, incorporating after each addition, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, at least 15 minutes. You can put it in a kitchen aid with the dough hook for this if you like.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to rise. For individual pizzas, cut (don't tear or pull) the dough into individual portions, roll each into a ball and place on a plastic lined tray. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving enough space for the balls to grow.
Sugo di Pomodoro
(tomato sauce for pizza)
Often only canned tomatoes are used, with the addition of a little salt but no garlic or olive oil. Oil is always drizzled on top of the pizza.
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 3 cloves garlic
- olive oil
Gently sauté the garlic in olive oil until warm then add the tomatoes and take off heat, adding salt to taste.The more raw the tomato, the better the pizza.
Dried oregano should be sprinkled on top of your pizza before cooking for a true Napolitano flavour. You can brush the crust with olive oil when it comes out of the oven.