Nonna’s Pizza

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Preparation info

  • Makes

    one

    12 × 18 inch 30 × 45 cm
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

This is the pizza that I remember my maternal grandmother, Clotilde Basile Lo Conte, making for family celebrations as long as 50 years ago. My mother once told me that when she was a child in Italy, her mother would make bread once a week and send it to the communal oven down the street to be baked. If there was some dough left over, she would press it into a baking pan and make a simple pizza like this one. When we had this pizza at home, we only had mozzarella on it if there happened to be some left over in the refrigerator, so it’s not an essential ingredient. If you do use mozzarella, try to get the freshly made type, which has a sweeter, milkier flavor than the industrially made ones. But don’t break the bank and use imported buffalo milk mozzarella, as it’s wildly expensive and leaks out enormous puddles of water while the pizza is baking.

Ingredients

Topping

  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes, see Note
  • ¾ cup (about 3 ounces/75 grams) coarsely grated or diced mozzarella, optional
  • ½ cup (about 2 ounces/50 grams) finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 large garlic clove, cut into paper-thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Method

  1. When the crust is almost risen, set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Uncover the crust and gently dimple it at -inch (4-cm) intervals, using a fingertip.
  3. Evenly scatter the tomatoes on the crust, followed by the mozzarella, if using, Pecorino, sliced garlic, and oregano. Drizzle with the oil.
  4. Bake the pizza until it is well risen and the topping is dry and beginning to color, about 30 minutes. Turn the pan back to front about halfway through the baking.
  5. Let the pizza cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to slide it onto a cutting board. Cut and serve immediately.

Serving

Use a sharp serrated knife or a pizza wheel to cut the pizza into squares. Serve the pizza for lunch, or as a snack in the evening. Or cut it into 2-inch (5-cm) squares as an hors d’oeuvre.

Storage

For advance preparation, underbake the pizza slightly, until the dough is baked through, but the cheese has not yet colored. About 20 minutes before serving, bake it at 450°F (225°C) for about 10 minutes. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers.