Pizza Napoletana is a testament to the simplicity of Italian cooking. It has barely a handful of ingredients to it, but still manages to be deeply satisfying with its anchovy powered saltiness.
I wouldn’t usually recommend using canned products at all, but canned tomatoes make for the best sauces. This is probably because the tomatoes they use are gorgeous ripe, red ones which have soaked in their juices for ages. If you find exceptionally good, fresh red tomatoes, go ahead and use those. Remember to blanch them in boiling water (after making a little X cut along their bottoms) for 40 seconds so the skin peels off easy. Once peeled, cut them in half and squeeze out the seeds and watery bits and use only the fleshy bit. Healthy red tomatoes are such a rarity here that I usually prefer to go for the canned option. Conversely, you could choose to make this when you see lovely red tomatoes in the market. So bookmark this recipe already!
Use a baking stone for this pizza (and all pizzas ever). The first part of the baking process usually happens in a tray. The two part split happens so that the tomato gets cooked into a sauce right on top of the pizza base, while it also firms up, without getting soggy. The second bake happens on the baking stone, because this is where it gets all crisp and ready.
This recipe is adapted from The Silver Spoon.
Anchovies (tinned ones, or the dried ones rehydrated carefully in warm water)
Mozzarella cheese (How much, entirely up to how gooey you like it and how much your heart can take).
Half a can of whole tomatoes
1 fat clove of garlic minced
3 large leaves of basil, chiffonaded (rolled into a cylinder and sliced into little strips)
½ tablespoon olive oil
- Using your fingertips, pulp up the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil till the sauce is chunky. Use only the flesh of the tomatoes, squeeze out the liquid and seeds inside.
- Spread the sauce on the base and bake in a tray at 220°C for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the mozzarella by tearing it into bits and dropping it all over the surface of the pizza. It’ll melt slowly, this is good.
- Arrange as many anchovies as you’d like on the pizza. Salt gently, because anchovies tend to be rather salty by themselves.
- Slip this onto the baking stone and bake for about 7 minutes.
- Remove, slice and serve.
- Like most pizzas, drizzling oregano over this before serving makes it smell just heavenly.
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