Pizza Tricolore

Pizza is one of my favorite Italian dishes, as long as it resembles the real deal, and not some bizarre concoction from a fast food chain. I know everyone likes their food differently, so no offense to anyone, but pizza crust stuffed with fake cheese and topped with clumps of mystery meat is not pizza. That’s about as far removed from pizza as instant coffee is from cappuccino made with an espresso machine. The ultimate affront though are those awful garlic sticks on the side, especially when they are pimped with one of those slimy sauces that come in little plastic containers.

Whether you like your pizza crust thin or thick, one thing is for sure – making pizza at home is fun and tastes so much better than the frozen or delivered stuff. In fact, there’s no comparison. While I am partial to tomato sauce on my pizza, I don’t always feel like making it, especially in the summer when I like dishes to be light and easy. Representing the three colors of Italy’s national flag, this is probably the easiest pizza you can make at home. With the aid of a food processor, making the dough is a snap, and once the dough has risen you’ll be eating home made pizza fresh from the oven in no time. It’s a real treat in the summer when ripe tomatoes and fresh basil add their intense flavor to this dish. Buon appetito!

Pizza Tricolore (serves 2)
For the dough:
1 tablespoon dry yeast
pinch of sugar
2/3 cup warm (not hot!) water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, depending on the flour

your favorite ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
a few tablespoons of ricotta
some grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling
chopped garlic
salt, pepper
fresh basil leaves

1. Put the water, yeast, and pinch of sugar in a small bowl or cup.
2. Let stand for a few minutes until foam and bubbles appear on the surface.
3. Put flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough hook.
4. Add olive oil and water and yeast mix, and process until a smooth dough forms.
5. The dough should be elastic but not too dry or too sticky.
6. Knead dough a few times on a floured surface. Form into a ball.
7. Put dough in a bowl lightly brushed with oil, and cover.
8. Let rest for about 20 – 30 min. or until doubled in size.
9. With a rolling pin, roll out dough on floured surface to desired thickness.
10. Transfer dough to baking sheet.
11. Spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese onto dough.
12. Sprinkle with chopped garlic
12. Distribute tomato slices evenly, and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
13. Season with salt and pepper.
14. Bake in a preheated oven at 220C/425F for about 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
15. Let pizza cool, sprinkle with basil leaves, and drizzle with some olive oil.


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