Pizza alla Napoletana

Pizza alla Napoletana

When it comes to topping pizzas, do as the Italians do and keep it simple. Though adorned with nothing more than tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, and fresh herbs, the enduring quality of this pizza resides in its perfect interplay of clean and simple flavours.

1 1/3 cups (330 mL) warm water
2 tsp (10 mL) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp (2 mL) honey
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
1 3/4 cups (435 mL) whole wheat flour
2 cups (500 mL) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 – 28 oz (796 g) can San Marzano plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
8 oz (225 g) fresh mozzarella, such as buffalo mozzarella or fior di latte, torn into pieces
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Fresh oregano and basil
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

In large bowl, stir together water, yeast, and honey. Set aside for 5 minutes, allowing yeast to bloom. (If mixture does not become frothy like the head on a beer, the yeast may be inactive and you will need to repeat this step with a new pack of yeast.) Stir in oil. Add flours 1 cup (250 mL) at a time, stirring well after each addition until smooth. Along with last addition of flour, stir in salt. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until satiny and firm, about 8 minutes.

Place dough in bowl lightly oiled with olive oil and turn to coat. Cover with clean kitchen towel and set aside in warm corner of kitchen to rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. At this point, refrigerate dough overnight.

If you have one, place pizza stone in cold oven and preheat oven to 550 F (290 C).

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and shape each into a thick disk. At this point you can freeze your dough, sealed tightly in an airtight container for 2 weeks. Let dough thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before continuing.

Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, with lightly floured hands, gently start to stretch the edges of dough. Once pizza is about 8 in (20 cm) in diameter, drape dough over your fists and gently move your hands away from each other, turning the dough as you go. When dough is about 1/2 in (1.25 cm) thick and 10 in (25 cm) in diameter, place on oiled pizza pan, flour-dusted pizza peel, or rimless cookie sheet. Cover dough with clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

Working with one pizza at a time, lightly drizzle with some olive oil and scatter some of the tomatoes, mozzarella, and garlic over top. Slide pizza onto hot stone (or bake in pizza pan) and bake until crust is golden brown and bubbly and cheese is completely melted, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Carefully remove from oven, brush crust with a little extra olive oil, if desired, and top with some oregano, basil, and a little ground black pepper (if using) before slicing into wedges. Serve immediately while continuing to top and bake remaining pizzas.

Serves 8.

Each serving contains: 331 calories; 13 g protein; 12 g total fat (5 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 45 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars, 5 g fibre); 189 mg sodium  

source: “Italian Food the Italian Way“, alive #366, April 2013 

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