Back in December I came down with a pretty bad stomach bug and couldn’t eat anything. I made the mistake of watching Eat, Pay, Love and decided I must try pizza from Naples. Since going to Naples is out of the question (for now) and I do not have a brick oven, I needed Plan C. Make it at home.
Let’s begin with the crust. Neapolitan pizza crust is not the same as New York style pizza. It’s incredibly thin and crunchy. We’re not making something chewy and soft. The flour is what defines this crust, so it’s important that you not substitute unless you want to make regular, boring pizza.
Here’s what you need –
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ tsp active yeast
- 1 ¼ cup of type 00 or type 0 flour
- ½ tsp salt
Combine the yeast and water in a bowl. Let sit for five minutes. Add the flour and salt, mix to combine. If you have a KitchenAid, use the dough hook to knead for 5 – 8 minutes. If not, sprinkle additional flour on the table and give it a good old knead. Shape into a ball, set it in a bowl, cover with a towel and give it a few hours to rise.
Fast forward a few hours to dinner time. Here’s what you need for part two –
- 1 – 2 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 2 tbsp of fresh basil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Preheat your oven and pizza stone to 550 F for thirty minutes. While this is heating up, prepare your ingredients. Roll out your pizza dough to fit on you pizza stone. It should be between 1/8 – ¼ inch thick. Use corn meal or flour to keep it from sticking. Note that you’ll need to slide the prepared pizza onto the stone. My recommendation is to do this on a moveable flat surface (cutting board, cookie tray) so that you can transfer easily.
Spread olive oil on pizza dough and sprinkle garlic on it. Arrange tomatoes and mozzarella and top it off with basil. Slide this onto the hot pizza stone (an extra pair of hands is nice). Cook for 7 – 8 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the pizza dough has bubbled and cooked.