Flatbreads baked with toppings date back to Roman times, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that Italians added tomato sauce and cheese.
The basic pizza in Naples must have three components: a thin crust, fresh tomato sauce and buffalo milk mozzarella.
San Marzano tomatoes from the slopes of Vesuvius are the best if you can get them.
Good mozzarella di bufala can be hard to find outside Campania.
Fresh cow’s milk mozzarella (fior di latte) is an acceptable stand-in.
Makes 2 medium or 4 individual pizzas
- Pizza dough — 1 recipe
- Peeled whole tomatoes, drained — 1 (14-ounce) can
- Olive oil — 1 tablespoon
- Oregano — 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt and pepper — to taste
- Fresh buffalo or cow milk mozzarella, sliced into thin rounds — 1 pound
- Olive oil — for drizzling
- Make the pizza dough according to directions. Set a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F.
- Put the tomatoes through a food mill or pulse them lightly in a food processor or blender., leaving them a little chunky. Stir in the 1 tablespoon olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough one-half of the dough into a 13-inch round. Transfer the round to a floured pizza peel. Spread about 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the dough, starting in the middle and working in a circular motion outward. Leave a 1-inch border around the edge of the dough.
- Lay half of the mozzarella slices evenly over the pizza, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
- Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and bake until cheese is melted and the crust is cooked through and browned, about 7 to 9 minutes.
- Remove from oven, cut into pieces and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining dough.
Pizza Napoletana Variations
- Pizza Margherita: Named after an Italian Queen, the toppings on this “queen of pizzas” represent the colors of the Italian flag. When the pizza comes out of the oven, scatter with about 1/2 cup of torn basil leaves.
- Pizza Marinara: Sprinkle the top of the pizza with 2 cloves of very thinly sliced garlic before it goes in the oven.
- Pizza Romana: Top the pizza with some anchovy fillets before it goes in the oven. Sometimes capers are added too. Curiously, this pizza is known as pizza napoletana in Rome, where it is made with a thicker crust, baked in a square baking pan and cut with scissors.
- Pizza Capricciosa: Capricious in nature, the ingredients for this pizza vary widely, but basics are usually ham, artichoke hearts, olives and mushrooms.
- Pizza Quattro Staggione: Once again, ingredients vary widely, but each should ingredient should be representative of one of the four seasons. Try olives (winter), artichoke hearts (spring), tomato (summer) and mushrooms (fall). Place each ingredient on one quarter of the pizza.
- Pizza ai Quattro Formaggi: Mix together fresh mozzarella, shredded fontina, crumbled Gorgonzola and grated Parmigiano and sprinkle evenly over the pizza with tomato sauce before baking. Quattro formaggi can be made as a white pizza (pizza bianca) with no tomato sauce.
- Pizza Pugliese: Top with a can of drained, crumbled tuna packed in oil and thinly sliced red onions.
- Pizza alla Diavola: Top with thinly sliced pepperoni (salamini piccante).
- Pizza al Prosciutto: After the pizza comes out of the oven, lay very thin slices of prosciutto over the top.
- Pizza Prosciutto e Funghi: Saute some thinly sliced mushrooms in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle them over the top of the pizza before baking. After the pizza comes out of the oven, lay very thin slices of prosciutto over the top.
- Pizza con le Verdure: Top with grilled vegetables like eggplant, peppers, zucchini, onions.