Friday, August 5, 2011

Benny the Chef's Roman Pizza

I am very thankful to Benny for allowing me post this recipe from his newest cookery book, The Art of Cooking According To Me. The book is fast becoming one of my favorites, do check it out!

If you are a novice cook, don't let the long rise time or the two step dough process worry you. This Roman pizza crust is absolutely perfect in taste and texture and remarkably easy to make. Benny recently built a gorgeous Roman Coal Fired Oven and posted a bunch of great pics on FB showing the process and food (like the pizza below) cooking in it, so go Like Benny the Chef! on Facebook and check them out!

Roll the crust out thin, it's the Roman way.

Benny the Chef!

I set the nutrition facts at Calorie Count for four thin pizzas.


2 lbs of flour, "00" or pizza/bread flour
20 fl oz of warm water
1 3/4 oz of yeast


Put 1 lb of flour on a table and make a well. In a small glass bowl put 10 fl oz of warm water, the yeast, and let it dissolve completely. Add it to the well and start to mix. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Make a ball, cover with a towel, and place the dough in the refrigerator. Let it rest for 3 hours.

Now put the rest of the flour on a table and make another well. In  another small glass bowl, put the other 10 fl oz of warm water, add 5 teaspoons of salt, and let it dissolve completely. Add it to the well and start mixing. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Flatten the salty dough a little bit. Place the yeasty dough on it, and mix together. Knead until you get the homogeneous and very elastic dough. Make 4 balls, cover with a towel, and let them rest for 6-9 hours. The dough has to rise far from air-conditioning and heaters. The perfect temperature is between 74F and 78F.

pizza cooking in Benny's Roman Wood Fired Oven
Now roll the dough and make your pizza! Make it with anything you like, but remember the more simple the pizza, the better it will be.

(!): for a perfect Neapolitan style pizza, you should use, as we do in Italy, natural or beer yeast. You have to roll the dough very thin in the middle and leave it a little taller at the boarder. Place it in the oven at 450F and cook for about 10 minutes. If you like a less crispy pizza, place it in the oven at 375F and cook for 15-20 minutes.

(?): Pizza is probably the most eaten food in the world. Originating in Napoli (Naples), soon it became very popular in the cuisines of many different countries. The most famous and delicious pizza is the Margherita: made with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil. This pizza was created in 1889 by the Neapolitan master pizza makers for the visit of Margherita of Savoy, Queen of Italy. The pizza was named Margherita in honor of the queen, and served for resembling the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), white (mozzarella), and green (basil).

@: Add two teaspoons of sugar to the warm water for the yeast. It will give more fragrance and a golden color to the Pizza.

As you can see by the pic of my Roman pizza to the left, I made mine thicker than Benny's. It was excellent thick too - light yet chewy in texture, but next time I'll roll it out thinner like Benny does!

Make your first dough after breakfast and the salty dough three hours later, the combined doughs then just sit and rises til almost time for dinner allowing plenty of time for lots of mindful decisions about the toppings.

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