What better way to make use of summer's finest fresh flavors than by making a simple pizza. Did you know an authentic Italian pizza contains only a few simple high quality ingredients?
I know that may seem weird to most of us because we're used to piling a bunch of crazy stuff on pies but according to Biba Caggiano in her book, Modern Italian Cooking "good pizza should not be smorgasbord of contrasting and, very often, clashing ingredients, but rather an orchestration of well-balanced tastes that complement each other. To be good, pizza needs only three things: a crisp good dough, fresh tasting ingredients, and a light hand in using them."
As you can see, this Pizza alla Napoletana contains only a few ingredients but they've got to be stellar. It is ideal for using those perfect tomatoes fresh from your garden, if and when you're so lucky to have some. As for me, I simply squeezed the juice and seeds out of a vine ripened orb and called it garden fresh. Hey a girls gotta' do what a girl's gotta do, but some of those lovely tasty little mini plum or cherry tomatoes packed with flavor would work just as well.
Along with a couple of minced garlic cloves, a sprinkle of oregano, some fresh mozzarella as well as assorted grated Italian cheeses courtesy of Trader Joe's and a smidgen of good olive oil, last night's dinner was ready before I was.
Incidentally, this pizza looks less "rustic" than usual because I cooked it in a number 9 cast iron pan that I warmed on top of the stove before it hit a 500 degree oven. The result was an incredibly crisp crust - relatively thin just as I prefer and cleanup was a cinch. No messy peel to wash, no cornmeal mess to sweep off the oven floor and no leftovers. Darn!
Pizza alla Napoletana (from JBug’s Kitchen adapted from Modern Italian Cooking, Biba Caggiano)
2 fresh ripe tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
3/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese or 4 cheese blend
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pizza dough for 1 12 inch pie
Preheat oven to 500. Brush a small amount of oil onto bottom of a well-seasoned 9 or 10 inch cast iron pan. Roll or stretch pizza dough out to 12 inch size and line bottom of pan. Using kitchen shears, cut off any excess dough. Squeeze juice and seeds out of tomatoes and slice very thin. Arrange on top of pizza dough followed by garlic, oregano and grated cheese. Sprinkle lightly with olive oil. Place plan on high heat and cook for 2 minutes or until pizza starts to sizzle. Move pan to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until crust is golden.
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