Some drunk guy invented this pizza. He came in the shop and ordered, “Hold the mozzarella cheese, add garlic and anchovy. The grated cheese is okay, too, but no mozzarella.” And then didn’t come back to pick it up. That forced me to eat it, and I discovered how great this pizza It’s much lighter than a regular cheese pie but definitely not less flavorful. You can omit the anchovies, but that would be a mistake.
Adapted from Pizza Camp by Joe Beddia, published by Abrams c 2017
- 1 ball dough (about 1-pound/304 g)
- 1 1/2 C (360 ml) tomato sauce
- 1 or 2 large cloves garlic (or more, if you like), thinly sliced
- 2 pinches dried Sicilian oregano
- 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 C (50 g) or more grated hard cheese
- 6–8 anchovy fillets, cut in half
- 1 (28-oz / 800-g) can crushed tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand or passed through a food mill
- 2 cloves garlic (don’t buy the pre-peeled shit from China, for crying out loud!)
- 1 1/2 t fine sea salt, or to taste
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
Makes 3 1/2 C
Dump the crushed tomatoes into a nonreactive container, just large enough to store them in. Trim off any hard parts of the garlic; if there are green sprouts, leave them on. Push the garlic through a garlic press directly into the tomatoes. Add the salt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. You don’t want the sauce to be too salty since it will cook and concentrate further on the pizza. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before using. You can store the sauce covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to one week.
For the Pizza
Place your stone on the lowest shelf of your oven, then turn your oven to its highest temperature. Most ovens go to 500°F (260°C) and some to 550°F (287°C). Heat your stone for at least one hour before baking.
If you’re taking your dough out of the fridge, give it about 15 minutes or so to warm up a bit so it will be easier to work with. It should have doubled in size in the fridge. If it hasn’t, let it sit at room temperature, covered with a slightly damp towel, until it does.
Lightly flour your counter and your hands. Flip the dough into the flour bowl so the top side of the dough ball gets dusted first. Flip it once more, making sure that the dough is completely coated. Press the dough down into the flour, then pick it up and place it on the floured countertop.
Pressing your fingers firmly into the dough, start by flattening the center and work your way out toward the edge to make it wider, until it’s about 7–9 inches (17–23 cm) wide. Pushing down on the dough will release some of the gas and actually begin opening up the dough. Be careful not to disturb the outermost lip. This will eventually become your crust.
The next step is a bit tricky. Your goal is to take this disc of dough and carefully stretch it to about 14–16 inches (35.5 to 40.5 cm) without tearing it or creating a hole. I pick it up with floured hands and begin to gently stretch it over my fists, letting gravity do most of the work.
Once you’ve stretched it enough, put the dough back on the counter, making sure there is a generous dusting of flour underneath. Take a few generous pinches of semolina flour and dust your pizza peel. Make sure it’s coated evenly. Gently lift and transfer your dough to the peel. Make sure both your hands and the peel are well-floured. You are now ready to dress your pie.
Spread the sauce on the dough. Add the garlic, then the oregano, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Transfer to the oven.
Bake for 4 minutes. The crust will rise significantly. Then change the oven setting from bake to broil, cooking the pizza from the top down until the crust begins to blister. The residual heat of the stone will continue to cook the bottom. (If your broiler is at the bottom of your oven, skip this step and continue to bake the pizza as described.) I cook all my pizzas until they’re well done, which could take up to 10 minutes total, though this pizza normally cooks a minute or two faster than one with cheese. It will also be a little crispier. (Both good things.)
Sprinkle the grated hard cheese over the finished pie. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut the pizza. Lastly, arrange your anchovies so each slice has one anchovy, adding more if you like.
Cheers to the drunk guy!