July 14, 2010

Roman Style Pizza

Besides New York City pretzels and bagels, there ain't nothing like a good ol' slice of its iconic pizza. The wide, thin, doughy hand-tossed crust, oozing with sauce and mozarella...munchies perfection, I tell ya! However, some of the most memorable pizzas I've tried were authentic Roman-style ones. On our honeymoon, the hubz and I made Rome the first stop on our European tour. One of the first things we did was wander the streets and grab a quick bite of real Italian food. "Why not start with pizza," we thought. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the pizza was considerably different from NYC pizza. Roman-style pizzas are thin and crunchy and are topped with a more conservative amount of sauce and cheese. They are also usually baked in wood burning ovens, giving them a distinct "old world" taste.

Here is my version of a Roman-style pizza (I had to use my plain old electric oven, but I think it turned out almost as good!)


4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

5 tbsp. wheat flour

1/4 cup semolina flour

1 tsp. yeast

1 3/4 warm water

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling)

3/4 cup tomato sauce

3-4 cups mozarella cheese

1/3 cup basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450°F. Dissolve yeast in warm water for 4-5 minutes. Sift together all-purpose, wheat and semolina flour with salt. Slowly add in water and then olive oil. Knead for about 2 minutes and form into a ball. (Take care not to over-knead the dough as it will overwork the gluten network, making it more gooey than an typical Roman-style pizza). Move to another bowl that is coated in olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1-2 hours until dough has risen. Punch down dough and knead for another 2 minutes. Place in fridge for another 2 hours. Take out dough from refridgerator, spread onto pizza stone (or a baking pan if you don't have a stone) and shape with your hands. The shape doesn't have to be perfect as this adds to the pizza's rustic quality. Top with tomato sauce, cheese and basil leaves. Bake for 15-20 minutes.