The photograph above was taken in Caserta, Italy, my-in-laws home town. This little place would equate to the local pizzeria's here in North America. I wish pizzerias here were this inviting and charming.
I have eaten pizza all over Italy, and I must say some of the best pizza I ever had is found there, including a little restaurant in Naples called Brandi's. It is the home of the Marguerita Pizza.
Fresh ingredients are key to a great Italian pizza. The Marguerita Pizza consists of fresh dough, tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, cooked perfectly in a woodburning oven. Marguerita pizza was named after Queen Marguerita who visited Naples in 1889 and this pie was created in her honour.
I know many may be disappointed with Italian pizza especially if you love the North American counterpart with its thick crust and numerous toppings.
For me nothing compares to a fresh Italian pizza and I love to recreate these fabulous pies in my own kitchen. Here's my recipe, influenced by my mother-in-law and all the lovely Palermo women I met in Italy. It is a guaranteed winner.
Most pizza dough recipes are same few ingredients. I believe the secret is in the technique. Here's a simple little video to show you how to make pizza dough.
To finish your pizza you will need the following items
1 can of diced tomatoes (drained very well, if you can your own tomatoes even better, if they are not drained well they will make your pizza crust soggy.)
1 ball of fresh mozzarella ( imported buffalo mozzarella is the best, but if you can't find it, most large grocery stores carry fresh mozzarella, they are usually stored in a brine so again drain well.
Fresh basil leaves
Drizzle olive oil across pizza dough
Spread tomatoes on dough than top with mozzarella cheese
Sprinkle with a little kosher salt
Cook in a preheated oven at 475F, a nice hot oven will achieve that nice crispy crust since the majority of us don't own a wood-burning pizza oven.
Distribute fresh basil leaves on the top of pizza. The warmth of the pizza will bring out the flavours of the basil. Do not put the basil on before cooking they will turn black.
Let pizza sit for a minute or two, then slice and serve with a great Chianti! Mangia!
Looking for more recipes steeped in history, click here!