Please cease with all the sissy pizza recipes! For the uninitiated the authentic article was created in Naples sometime between 1830 and 1860. It was not created in New York or New Haven in the 1950s, and Wolfgang Puck played no role. The authentic pizza Neapolitana was the perfect match, like the one between Sophia Loren and Clark Gable in “It Started in Naples”. The tomato arrived from the New World most likely via Spain (Naples was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies). There it met Sophia Loren with all the charms of its volcanic soil, water buffalo herds and abundant basilico. There was already a tradition of flat breads as well as a culture of poverty. An ideal match.
To cook pizza the correct way you will need very high oven temperatures or even better, a wood fire that you can stoke with real charcoal wood. The recipe I’m offering employs those things. Not so long ago I purchased a piastra from the cool collection of Mario Batali endorsed products. Essentially it’s a big slab of stone that fits perfectly over my outdoor wood grill. You can find them at Sur La Table. If you don’t have one of these, at least use a large pizza stone that fits in your oven or at worst a very heavy iron pizza pan. You are going to have to crank the heat as high as it will go. Wood burning ovens can exceed 800, yours can’t do that (especially in a New York apartment). That’s why the outdoor method is preferred. Yea, Bobby Flay you can throw the dough straight onto the grill grate but the end result is some misshapen thing that has nothing to do with pizza. Don’t do that while I’m watching.
Of course the tomato sauce, as well as the cheese, are critical too. I prefer to use canned San Marzano tomatoes (28 oz or 800grm) imported from Italy.* I also use real buffala mozzarella.** Italian tomato or marinara sauce tends to be “looser” than American. Keep that in mind. And by the way, allocate two days to do due diligence to a correct pizza. - pierino
We can always count on pierino for strong conviction about the right and wrong ways of cooking a dish. When it comes to pizza he is no different, as you can read in his headnote. But we can't always rely on pierino for details in the instructions. For instance, he doesn't tell us how long to cook the tomatoes or what to look for -- we went for pulpy but still loose enough to drop from a spoon. But we still love pierino anyway. His passion translates into a crisp-crusted pie (complete with authentically charred bubbles), topped with smears of buffalo mozzarella, aromatic scraps of torn basil and a kicky, bright tomato sauce. A couple of notes: we weighed 3 cups of flour and ours came out to be 395 grams, so we went with that. The dough is very elastic so you need to be patient when rolling it out -- do your best to get it super thin. The payoff will be worth it! And our pizza took 8 minutes to bake at 500 degrees. - A&M —The Editors