Well, wait no longer my friends because today is the day I post not one but TWO pizza recipes :-)
Thank you thank you...
I've never mentioned this before but I live near a city in Italy where the original pizza was born. Yes, the place where the pizza is the best pizza in all of Italy and all of Europe and all the World! Naples.
The pizza was invented in Naples, Italy in the late 18th century. The world's first pizzeria dates back to 1738 and is called Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba. They are still open and make pizza to this day.
Legend has it that the Pizza Margherita (plain cheese pizza) was invented in 1889 when the Royal Palace of Naples commissioned a Neapolitan pizza maker whose name was Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of Queen Margherita who was visiting Naples. She was queen consort of the Kingdom of Italy at the time.
The pizza maker created three different types of pizzas for the Queen's visit. Apparently this queen never smiled and was rather surly but when she tasted the Pizza Margherita which was made with the colors of the Italian flag (red tomato, green basil and white mozzarella) the grouchy queen smiled for the first time and the Pizza Margherita was born :-) Isn't that a lovely story?
I know this because I went to a pizzaria in Naples once with a friend of mine and the pizzeria actually was sending customers away becasue the pizzaiolo had quit earlier that day. I thought that was really strange for some reason because there was no one that could fill in for him. Like you would think they would have another pizzaiolo, right? Well they didn't...and we were left with no pizza. Boo.
Nonetheless, I made pizza this weekend and it turned out pretty darn good if I may say so myself! I made a pizza margherita and a spinach ricotta pizza. So the dough, as I'm sure you already know, is the trickiest part. For starters you need a good quality bread flour. Here are the ingredients for the pizza dough. It makes for 2 large pizzas:
- 500 grams of bread flour
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 10 grams of activated yeast
- 270 grams of room temperature water
- 2 teaspoons of salt
As my friend Alessandra says, it's difficult to give the correct dosage for the flour because you have to see how much flour the dough will take. Or better, if the dough is not detaching from the sides of the bowl, it needs more flour so you should add a little more and a little more until you see the dough detach and form a ball. I used 500 grams but I ended up using a bit more for it to reach the right consistancy. The salt is added towards the end of the kneading because if added in the beginning it will interfere with the yeast activity and not allow the dough to rise as it should.
Begin mixing the water, yeast and oil and preheat your oven at the max temperature.
Add the flour a little at a time and begin mixing.
Add more flour and now add the salt. Keep mixing.
Once the dough looks like this and has detached from the sides of the bowl it is done. It takes a while for it to get to this stage. I let my dough knead for a good 20 minutes.
Now divide it into two parts and put each ball into its own bowl like so:
Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Honestly I only let mine rise for 1 and 1/2 hours becasue it was getting late but this is what it looked like. I'm sure it would have risen more if I left it longer.
I then stretched it out on a baking sheet with parchement paper that I stained with a drizzle of olive oil.
I let that sit for the time it took me to prepare the spinach so about 10 minutes. I heated a bag of frozen spinach in a pan with some melted butter and added about half a cup of ricotta cheese some salt and pepper.
I placed it on the dough and put it in the oven on high for about 5 - 7 minutes.
I cooked one pizza at a time. After the first 5 minutes remove the pizza and add the mozzarella cheese. I used fresh buffalo mozzarella which is OUTSTANDING but is only found in Naples (sorry guys...dream crusher) but regular mozzarella works just as well.
So add the mozzarella and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until you see the crust brown.
I know isn't it a beaut Clark :-)
Here's another one
And now the spinach pizza
I didn't have a lot of mozzarella left over for the spinach pizza unfortunately but I made it work.
And just 'cause I think this guy's a cutie...
Thanks for reading my friends xoxo