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Now reading Pizza Bianca e Pizza Rossa

Pizza Bianca e Pizza Rossa

Sheet-pan pizza two ways.

Pizza bianca (literally, white pizza) and pizza rossa (red pizza) are staples of the Roman diet. Both are simple snacks that can be wrapped in paper, carried away from a bakery, and eaten on the go. Either can substitute the cornetto breakfast pastry in the morning, or accompany a beer or cocktail in the evening. We love ordering a slice from Forno Campo de’ Fiori in the late morning and taking it to nearby Piazza Farnese for a snack with a view over the cobblestoned square. These incredibly versatile flatbreads are made from the same dough, it’s just their seasonings that differ: pizza bianca features extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt, while pizza rossa is brushed with a light tomato sauce and baked. The way they are consumed varies slightly as well. Pizza bianca can be sliced open to use as sandwich bread and filled with things like mortadella (referred to as pizza cà mortazza in local dialect—the quintessential Roman snack), prosciutto and mozzarella, and prosciutto with ripe figs. Pizza rossa is generally eaten on its own.

Reprinted from Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City. Copyright 2016 by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Photographs copyright 2016 by Kristina Gill. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 t (2 g) active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 C (830 g) cold water
  • 7 C + 3 t (1,000 g) high-quality bread flour
  • 1 T + 1 t (23 g) sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • + neutral oil, for greasing
  • 1 C (125 g) durum flour or semolina, for dusting
  • + extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Salsa di Pomodoro

  • 1 (14-oz) can can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 t sea salt
  • + extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preparation

Salsa di Pomodoro

Salsa di Pomodoro
  • 1 (14-oz) can can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 t sea salt
  • + extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, and salt.

  2. Using your hands or a fork, tear and squeeze the tomatoes to shred them. The sauce should be slightly chunky.

Pizza Rossa and Pizza Bianca

  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 2 3/4 cups (650 grams) water and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast has dissolved.

  2. Put the bread flour in a large bowl and add the yeast mixture. Stir with a spoon or with your hands until there is no more dry flour in the bowl and your dough is shaggy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  3. After 30 minutes, add the salt and remaining water and gently knead. Once all the water is incorporated, cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes more.

  4. Uncover the bowl. With one wet hand, lightly grasp one edge of the dough. Pull this flap of dough upward and outward, then attach it to the top of the dough. Give the bowl a one-eighth turn and repeat until you have rotated the bowl a complete turn.

  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap again and repeat the folding procedure once every hour, three more times, allowing it to rest between each rotation.

  6. After the last gentle folding, place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, cover a clean, dry work surface with a thick layer of durum flour. Grease two baking sheets and set aside. Heat the oven to 480ºF and set a baking stone, if using, in the oven to heat as well.

  8. When the dough is ready, carefully invert the bowl over the floured work surface, gently detaching the dough from the bowl with your fingers, if necessary. Dust the top of the dough well with durum flour, then very gently, taking care not to deflate the dough, put your hands underneath it, fingers pointing toward the center. Slowly pull the dough apart into a rectangle, then change direction and widen the strip with the same technique to create a 15-inch square.

  9. Halve the dough and brush off any excess flour, then quickly and carefully transfer the two rectangles to the prepared baking sheets. Fit the dough to the baking sheets by gently pushing it with spread fingertips, moving from the center outward. If it springs back, allow it to rest for a few minutes before trying again. Set aside to rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.

  10. To make pizza bianca, drizzle olive oil on top of the dough and season lightly with salt. Using your fingertips, make indentations all over the dough to distribute the air pockets evenly. To make pizza rossa, spread salsa di pomodoro over the dough in an even layer, leaving a small border uncovered around the edge. The dough will be lightly dressed.

  11. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until the crust is golden with a few dark spots. Allow to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.

  12. Serve the pizza bianca in slices or slivers, or cut open and fill with mortadella or other cold cuts. For pizza rossa, drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on top of the tomato layer after baking. Serve in slices or slivers.