Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pompeii, We Owe You One!

On August 24, 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted burying Pompeii in volcanic ash 10' deep. Mount Vesuvius is projected to have spewed an ash and pumice column about 66,000' high for about 18 hours. It is estimated that at least 2000 people died in Pompeii. Poor Pompeii. It was lost for about 1700 years before it's ancient ruins were accidentally discovered in 1749. Today, it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and draws about 2,500,000 visitors every year.

As a result, Mount Vesuvius created an especially fertile soil perfect for growing the best plum tomatoes in the world, San Marzano tomatoes. If you are lucky enough to find these, you must make the classic Neapolitan pizza, Pizza Margherita, named after Queen consort, Margherita of Savoy. The crust is thin and crisp, topped sparingly with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil (the colors of the Italian flag). One of my favorites, this delicious pizza reinforcing the idea that less is definitely more!

Margherita Pizza

Makes 1 large pizza.


1, 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, whole and peeled
4 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella, drained if packed in water
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chiffonade
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet


Prepare pizza dough. Rinse and drain the tomatoes in a colander. Squeeze them by hand and allow to drain some more in the colander. (Be careful, I've squirted juice on my husband from across the kitchen!) Preheat oven to 500 degrees with rack on the lowest setting. When the dough is ready, roll it out as thin as possible. Place it on an oiled baking sheet. Spread the tomatoes across the dough, leaving room for the crust. Sprinkle with the sliced garlic. Tear the mozzarella into pieces and place over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. You can put the basil on now, but it will turn black while cooking; so, I prefer to put it on after it comes out of the oven. Bake according to My Basic Pizza Dough instructions. When done, garnish with the basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Yummy!

No comments:

Post a Comment