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Eating pizza, Italian style – my family pizza recipe

My last (and also first ever on the blog) recipe was a “fusion” take on the very traditional beef fillet, inspired by my partner British and Malaysian heritage. As you maybe know, the other half of our household is Italian- that would be me. So I felt I needed to redress the balance with a quintessentially Italian recipe. And what is more Italian than homemade pizza? So here is my family recipe and method to make pizza – for both traditional electric or gas oven and for the stone-baked type (with a Ferrari pizza oven). It is fairly different from what you will eat in a traditional Italian pizzeria and it is not meant to be the same, it is just a different style and you can easily recreate it at home.

homemade pizza recipe italian

I have been spending lots more time with my family in Abruzzo- a region in central Italy- over the past few months. Although the reasons for this are not necessarily positive, as it often happens many good things have come out of this temporary halt to my London life. I have taken a forced, but welcome  break from the London hustle and bustle, and the obsession with money and career which sometimes plague my beloved city. I finally found the time to start a blog about  Abruzzo food, wine and nature  and got to know some interesting people through it.

Most of all, I have been living and observing the Italian small-town way of life with different eyes from those of an angry teenager who didn’t dream anything else than going away and making it in the big metropolis. One of the things I have come to love the most is the frequency and ease with which families and friends gather – often for a meal, which provides the perfect excuse for a get-together, big or small.

Now, before you start dreaming of a TV-show style “Italian meal” – maybe in a garden perched on a hill, overlooking vineyards, with beautiful lighting, dark handsome men and and voluptuous women in low-cut dresses feeding each other spaghetti, with red Vespas zooming nearby… (thanks Nigella!). This looks great on screen, but the reality is a lot less glamorous; most of our family and friends meal are more on the shabby side of the “shabby chic” definition – plastic tables, paper tablecloths, often plastic plates and glasses, loads of “zampironi” (a mosquito repellent candle for outdoors) and a dress code which is best described as “clothes you don’t mind staining”. So expect white vests and cotton dresses rather than sharp Milan catwalk style.

pizza stonebaked ferrari pizza oven

Food is usually simple and easy to cook in large quantities, like the pizza recipe presented here, or even a tableful of cold cuts and vegetables. We Italians are not always happy, brash, chatty and “passionate” (one of my pet peeves in terms of stereotypes about Italians) and we don’t all worship our parents. Sometimes we gather after funerals, sometimes because somebody is ill and can’t cook, sometimes when there are bad news. Young people are bored nd play with their mobile phones, whilst the grown ups repeat neighborhood gossip and the elderly crack the same jokes as five years ago. Still, we stick together and look for comfort in food and company.

Enough chatter, let’s go straight to the pizza recipe – pictures modeled by my aunt Tiziana as the “pizzaiola”. This is the “non- recipe” we use in my family (meaning that nobody weighs ingredients, everything is done “a occhio”, by the eye). I am sure each household will have its own and of course will think theirs is “better” in some ways. My mum and my aunt, who live just one house floor apart, have slightly different recipes and tricks! Feel free to share yours in the comment, we are always learning from each other…

pizza stone baking ferrari oven

Ingredients for the dough (for 5 people)

  • 1 kg 00 all-purpose flour, plus some for dusting
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 gr of fresh yeast*
  • a pinch of sugar
  • lukewarm water, as needed

*you can use more or less yeast according to how much time you have to prove your dough – 10g is about the right amount for a 8-hour proving. If you have enough time and want your pizza even easier to digest, use half this amount and let it prove 20-24 hours

Ingredients for toppings:

This is pretty much up to you, as each one has its favourites. Just remember, if you are using mozzarella or fiordilatte (and you should) to cut it up and let it drain in a colander for a while so it loses the excess water and doesn’t soak the pizza base.

In general, avoid overfilling your pizzas – you want the texture and taste of the base to come through and to give every bite a different flavour.

A few ideas for traditional Italian pizza toppings:

  • Margherita: a classic- tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil
  • Napoli: tomato sauce, mozzarella, preserved anchovies (some add oregano)
  • Wurstel: yes, we have embraced the not-so-gourmet wurstel, it is a favourite with children- just add to a margherita
  • Boscaiola: no tomato sauce, just mozzarella, sausage and mushrooms
  • Peperoni: no tomato sauce, top with roast peppers; it s especially good with pecorino sliced on top after cooking
  • Tartufata: just spread truffle cream on the base and top with a little mozzarella

Forbidden toppings :)

  • Pineapple
  • Fries (sliced or mashed potatoes are allowed)
  • Chicken
  • BBQ style meat
  • Pesto

This is just a bit of a pisstake of the non-Italian take on pizza. Of course, to each his/her own, just top your pizza with whatever you fancy!

italian pizza recipe toppings

Preparation

On a wooden board (or very large bowl) mix the flour with the salt. Create a volcano crater shape (we call it “Fontana”). Crumble the yeast in the center, add the sugar, about 250ml of water and the oil. Dissolve the yeast in the liquid with your fingertips, then start incorporating flour from the sides. Add water little by little as you go, until the mix is soft but doesn’t stick to the board/bowl anymore.

Dust your hands if necessary.

Knead for about 10 minutes until it’s soft and springy. It’s hard to define the exact texture in words- my aunt suggests it has to be comparable to the feel of your earlobe.

Put the dough ball in a bowl (lightly oiled), cover with clingfoil  and let to prove

Cooking:

a. If you are using the stone-baking oven (Ferrari type)

An hour before starting to cook, divide the dough ball in smaller parcels (abour 200g each) and let to rise a bit more.

You can spread out the dough in a round flat shape with your hands (this will give you a thicker edge, like the Neapolitan pizza “cornicione”); or you can roll it out with a rolling pin, which will give it more of a flatbread texture.

Follow the oven instruction for cooking.

If you have lots of guests, for the sake of time you can pre-cook the pizza bases for a couple minutes each and set them aside; when everybody is ready,  finish the pre-cooked bases with topping and give it a final round in the oven.

how to stretch pizza dough

b. If you are using a conventional oven

After proving the dough, divide it into parcels and line a few oiled pizza trays. Let to rise for a further 30 min to an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 250 °C

Meanwhile, top the pizza with your favourite ingredients, except the mozzarella. Leave in the oven for 15’.

Top with the mozzarella and put back in the oven for 5 more minutes under the grill to allow the cheese to melt.

italian homemade pizza ferrari oven

These pizzas are cooked in the Ferrari pizza oven

italian homemade pizza recipe

This pizza is cooked in a traditional oven as we don’t have a Ferrari in London. Still delicious!

Enjoy your Italian style homemade pizza!

 

 

 

 

 

Summary
Recipe Name
Italian style pizza
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Average Rating
5 Based on 1 Review(s)
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4 Comments

  1. Loved this post! I will try to make your pizza tomorrow! Thanks cara!

    • Oh, so glad you liked it! Have been mulling about it for a while but only just found the time and the occasion. Let me know how you get on making it :)

  2. What would the amount of flour and yeast for just one pizza be?

    • I’d say around 120-150g of flour and a gram of yeast? But I think it is not advisable to make dough just for one pizza, as it is much harder to knead it properly. You can make a bigger amount and freeze the dough you don’t use after the first proving. It keeps for a month and you only spend time making the dough once :)

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