Authentic Italian pizza is a true delight and is very different to American pizza styles like the Chicago deep dish. Both can be equally delicious, but the method for making Italian pizza is significantly different to any American pizza. It doesn’t have to be complicated, however, and can be easily achieved with the right preparation, ingredients and appliances.
It’s always best to familiarize yourself with some recipes to learn the essentials of making an Italian pizza. Different chefs and different regions of Italy will recommend variations on a pizza recipe, so what you choose to use will be mainly down to your personal taste and preference.
Gather Quality Ingredients
Quality ingredients are crucial for anyone who wants to make an authentic Italian pizza. You’ll need the best quality ingredients available and, when possible, genuine Italian brands or brands recommended by Italian chefs. Some of the essential ingredients include:
- Type 00 flour – one of the most highly refined types of flour available.
- Crushed tomatoes
- Toppings of your choice
By choosing the highest quality ingredients, you’re most likely to get the best possible results in taste and authenticity.
Get The Dough Right The Day Before
One of the key things to making the best possible pizza dough is to prepare it the day before so it can proof overnight. Some cooks even choose to let their dough proof for up to 48 hours before cooking. This allows the dough to gain flavor and elasticity, ensuring that you can whip it into the perfect pizza base when it comes time to cook.
Pizza dough should be thin in the middle with crispy puffed-up edges. You can achieve this by rolling the dough into a ball and pressing down the middle until it makes the perfect pizza base shape. Avoid using a rolling pin which can squeeze the air out of your dough, leaving it flat.
Be Sparing With The Sauce
A common mistake when making Italian pizza is to ladle spoonful after spoonful onto the pizza base. This can result in a soggy, unevenly cooked pizza. Use a single ladleful or less to make a thin layer of pizza sauce that covers the base of the pizza. Some cooks prefer uncooked sauce, while others like to cook theirs in advance. You could experiment with each to decide which you enjoy the most.
Invest In A Quality Pizza Oven
The cooking part of the pizza can be difficult to get right using a traditional oven. A pizza oven is one of the best investments you could make if you want to get your Italian pizzas right. If you’re concerned about the cost of a pizza oven or the space it will take up in your kitchen, you can rest assured that there are affordable pizza ovens available that are economical in size. Check out the incredible range at Ooni for some inspiration.
Cook It Hot And Fast
Italian pizza needs to be cooked hot and fast to get the proper mix of crispy crusts and delicious gooey cheese. The higher the temperature, the better, and most traditional ovens don’t have the temperatures needed to cook Italian pizza the right way. This is why a pizza oven can be such an excellent investment. Ideally, the pizza should be cooked for a few minutes at a very high temperature of at least 750° F.
Don’t Overdo The Toppings
It can be tempting to go wild with the toppings and cover the pizza with plenty of delicious meats, veggies and extra cheese. This can actually do your pizza a disservice, as it may end up unevenly cooked and overwhelm you with different tastes. It is best to choose two or three toppings at most and add them sparingly around the pizza to create little pockets of flavor as you eat.
Once you’ve mastered the pizza cooking process, you can enjoy the fun of trying out different toppings to find the combinations you love most. Consider some of the traditional Italian favorites like Margherita, Capricciosa or Vegetariana.
Use Fresh Herbs
While dried herbs will do in a pinch, fresh herbs will give your pizza the incredible flavor and richness you’ll find in an Italian pizzeria. Herbs like basil, oregano and thyme are popular pizza flavoring choices. You should put fresh herbs on your pizza after it comes out of the oven, as putting them on beforehand may lead to burning while the pizza cooks.
Do A Taste Test for your Authentic Italian pizza
Now the best part of all – taste testing your authentic Italian pizza! The proof of the pizza will most definitely be in the eating, so gather some friends and family around to give the pizza a go. If you’re a bit worried about serving your pizza to others, you could also do a taste test on your own before you offer it around. With any skill, practice makes perfect, so don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t turn out perfect on the first try. Keep on experimenting and trying new tricks and ingredients until you’ve found your perfect recipe.