Say Italian food and many immediately think of pizza. Here's an introduction to the world of pizza.
Pizza is the best-known Italian cuisine throughout the world. It has many variations depending upon where in the world it is made. A favorite snack for the ancient Romans was "bread with a savory topping." It was any ingredient that might make a slice of stale bread taste more pleasing and look more appetizing. Eventually someone turned up the edges of the bread, so the topping would not slide off. Allora!, pizza had been invented.
The variations of pizza today are limitless. There is one pizzeria in Venice that boasts 50 different types of pizza. In Italy people order an individual pizza. There is no arguing over whether or not to get anchovies or mushrooms. You can create a classic Neapolitan pizza with little fuss.
Pizza Margherita is the "classic" amongst pizzas, and considered by some to be the first modern pizza. Tomatoes and fresh herbs give this pizza it characteristic flavors. Pizza Margherita was created in 1889 by pizza maker Raffaele Esposito as a tribute to the Queen of Italy, Margherita di Savoia, because its ingredients represent the colors of the Italian flag.
Use the Basic Pizza Dough recipe.
- 12 oz. firm, ripe, plum tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 12 fresh basil leaves, slice 6 in thin strips
- 1/2 pound Mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- fresh ground black pepper
- Peel, seed and crush the tomatoes. Add sliced basil leaves, garlic, 2 Tbs olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- On your baking stone, or pizza pan, form the pizza dough into an 8" circle, turning up the edges just a bit.
- Spread some of the tomato sauce over the dough.
- Spread the Mozzarella over the tomatoes.
- Drizzle each with 1 tbs. olive oil on top
- Place two basil leaves over the pizza as you take it of the oven.
- Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
Note: You should be able to make at least two pizzas from this recipe.
Do not over do the sauce. This is a lighter approach than chain store pizza.
Bella Italian Food Recommends
Baking and Pizza Stone (14x16)
For making the crispiest crusts on your pizza or bread, nothing works as nicely as a clay stone. Because it's made of clay and because of it's weight (about 10 pounds), it retains heat better and maintains an even cooking temperature from the center to the edges. The clay material also absorbs moisture thus, a crispy crust. Made for baking pizza, it's also great for baking flat breads, rolls and focaccia.