Going authentic with pizza from Naples

I’ve often spelled out on this blog exactly how bad I am at making dough, any kind of dough. But it never stops me from trying. In my new Mediterranean cookbook, I came across the recipe for a basic pizza dough, so I had to give it a try. It turned out really good. In part, I think it was helped by my inability to get back to it in a timely manner.

Pizza1

To start, I mixed 1/2 tsp dry active yeast in a cup of very warm water, then added a cup of unbleached all-purpose flour until just mixed. The recipe states the dough can be lumpy at this point – thank god, my kind of recipe. Then you cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel and leave at least a half hour.

At this point, I was required to do all sorts of mother- and renovation-related tasks, and didn’t get back to (remember) the dough until about four hours later. At that point, it was a soupy mess, bubbling like a primordial swamp. In a word: perfect.

Pizza2

 

 

Next I added half a cup of flour and a cup of whole-wheat flour. I mixed a tsp of sea salt in half a cup of water, then added half of this. You can add more if you need to, but that was all I needed. I’d never had a dough that was so wet before – it was great. Dropping the dough to a floured surface to shape, I had to keep on adding more flour to the mixture (up to a half cup) to get rid of all the tackiness, and the end result was a springy, elastic dough.

From here, I rinsed the bowl out and smeared it with olive oil. The dough is turned into the bowl, the surface coated with oil. You leave it for at least an hour (or three, in my case) to rise.

Pizza3

 

 

I didn’t get exactly the same awesome results after leaving the dough this time around, it didn’t really need to be punched down, which I dutifully did anyway. Then – shaping the dough. These are my attempts at a circle. Whatever, I’ll never become a master pizzaioli, but it still tastes the time. Now the hard stuff is done, it’s just a matter of choosing delicious toppings.Pizza4

 

 

I went with roasted vegetables, red peppers and red onions cooked in olive oil. Yum, these were good enough to eat just like this off the plate.

Pizza5

 

A few dollops of goat’s cheese and a sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano round it out, covered with a dribble of olive oil.

 

Pizza6Add to it some broccolini and a glass of Valpolicella, and you have a great, heart-healthy dinner. Yum, this was so good, and the leftovers kept up as well. Which I of course had to have for breakfast.

Word of the day:

Excoriate: to denounce or berate severely; flay verbally: He was excoriated for his mistakes.

 

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