Rustic Italian Pizza with Pomi Strained Tomatoes

I spent two weeks last month in Italy celebrating my sister for the marriage to the love of her life. They got married in Volterra, a gorgeous little hillside town in Tuscany, it was what all my daydreams are made of.  That and pizza. The night before the wedding we hosted a rehearsal dinner pizza party in the ballroom at the Villa where our closest family and friends were staying and my sister was to be married the following day. The pizza was brought in from a little Bed and Breakfast just down the hill, the same place we had went for numerous espressos, wine, pasta and of course, pizza! My Grandma Josephine, who was born and raised in the south of Italy became fast friends with the lovely couple that ran the B&B and also the husband and wife team that cook everyday for them. We asked what the secret to that perfect pizza was, and he told us everything, it was a special kind of flour and of course the SAUCE!

I've teamed up with Pomi to share this little secret of how to make the best authentic rustic Italian Neopolitan style pizza! The crust is thin, crispy and extra delicious!

       Ingredients for the pizza dough:
·   5 cups all purpose or 0 flour + some for dusting (This was the biggest thing that set apart the dough that my grandma has always used. You can also use 00 flour if you can't find 0)
·   1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
·   1 1/2 tsp sea salt
·   2 1/4 cups COLD water
·   1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

·   1 box Pomi Strained Tomatoes 
·   pizza mozzarella ball
·   1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
·   one large clove of garlic, smashed (this is just for flavour)
·   1/2 tsp salt
·   1/2 tsp fine black pepper
·   pecorino romano or parmigiano reggianno 
·   fresh basil leaves 

Secrets to the best pizza ever!:

  • bake on a pizza stone, this made such a huge difference on how the curst bakes!
  • you can use a kitchen aid (or other) mixer, but we did it the old fashioned way, with your grandma laughed at me when I suggested using the mixer with the dough attachement
  • you can make this dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for tomorrow or freeze for later
I made this recipe with my grandma, we did it her way and it could not have been more perfect!

To make the sauce:

1. Place one box of Pomi Strained Tomatoes into a sauce pan. 

2. Add the smashed garlic clove, salt, extra virgin olive oil and fine black pepper and let simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. 

To make the dough:

1. Mix the dry yeast with the water.

2. In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sea salt and mix. Then add the yeast and water mixture and knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes. You can also use the dough hook attachment on an electric mixer for about 8 minutes. If the dough is too dry, add some water, if it is too wet, add flour. 

3. Once you have a nice soft dough, cut it into 6 strips and form into round balls. Drizzle with olive oil. Now it's time to let them rise. You can do it the old fashioned way that I have always seen my grandma do whenever she is making pizza or bread dough and that is fold a soft table cloth in half and then half again, put the dough rounds on one side of the tablecloth and then fold the other half over. This is to ensure that no draft gets to the dough while keeping the moisture in to help the balls rise. You can also place them on an oiled cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in a draft free area at room temperature. Let rise for 2+ hours.

4. Be sure to heat up your oven to as high as it can go with the pizza stone in it at least 45 minutes prior to baking it. My grandmas goes up to 550F. 

5. Flour your work surface lightly, take one of your balls and start to flatten it out with your hands and knuckles. We used a rolling pin to flatten it out, very lightly. Be sure not to rip or get any holes in the dough. 

6. Dust your pizza peel with flour, or if you don't have one, you can use a piece of card board. Gently slide your dough onto the pizza peel. Top with sauce, making sure not to go right to the edge, leave a little room for the crust, and sliced mozzarella. Carefully slide the pizza onto the preheated stone in the oven. Bake for 7 minutes, and then turn the oven to broil for 1 minute to get that lovely golden brown edge.

7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese and fresh basil leaves. 





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