Evoking fond memories of his Southern Italian upbringing, pizza holds a special place in Cucina Porto’s Executive Chef, Martino Pulito’s heart. This World Pizza Day, Martino reflects on one of his favourite memories surrounding pizza and shares a recipe for how to create a delicious, simple pizza dough at home.
“Growing up in Puglia in Italy we used to eat pizza every week. My uncle was the designated person in the family to make pizza – he was so committed to it he built his own pizza oven at home using local stone! Every weekend on a Sunday night we used to go over to his house – after a day spent swimming at the beach – and all have pizza. I loved that it united us all together, as we stretched and made the pizza. In Australia, we have BBQs, and in Italy, we make pizza. There were always two tables – one for the kids and one for the adults – and there was always a challenge for who was going to get the last slice of pizza!”
“I love that pizza brings people together. It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from or how old you are, we can all come together and connect with one another over pizza. Everyone loves pizza – all generations – and it’s perfect for any occasion, from a first date to a family celebration. Pizza truly brings joy.”
While there are many different styles of pizza found across Italy – and indeed the world – Martino says that at Cucina Porto himself and his passionate chefs recreate a Roman style of pizza, where the base isn’t too thick and it’s topped with high quality and fresh ingredients.
When it comes to making the perfect pizza at home, Martino says to ensure you use the best possible flour you can source – he uses 00 pizza flour. He also recommends using your hands to knead the dough, insists that resting is key and you should rest your dough for a minimum of eight hours (but up to 24 is best!), and do not put your toppings on straight away or they will burn in the oven (cook the base with just tomato for 15-20 minutes, and then add your toppings and finish off for another five minutes or until golden and the cheese is melted!).
To help you nail your at-home pizza game, Martino has shared his recipe for pizza dough – one that’s sure to have everyone lining up at your door to be invited to your house for dinner.
Makes: Two pizzas
● 1L water
● 1.6kg 00 flour
● 50g salt
● 2g yeast
● 20g sugar
● 50ml extra virgin olive oil
1. Sift the flour in a large bowl and mix in the dry yeast.
2. In a separate container, dissolve the salt in room temperature water (it’s very important that the salt doesn’t get in contact with the yeast).
3. Start mixing the four ingredients with your hands, though only mix in half of the flour for now.
4. Now it’s time to add the sugar and the oil, then add in the rest of the flour.
5. In Italy, we say “Lavare le mani con la farina“, which means “wash your hands with the flour”. Place the dough on the bench and work for it for 15-20 minutes, gently folding it all the time.
6. Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.
7. Then cut the dough into two 300gr balls, put it on an oiled tray and let it rest for at least eight hours.
8. Once the dough is rested, place baking paper down on two trays and then drizzle with olive oil. Stretch the dough making sure that you cover all the edges of the tray and leave it to rise by double in a room with no air flow (I always put it in an oven that’s not turned on).
9. Once the dough has risen (it usually takes two to four hours) it’s ready for baking. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Add a tomato base, and cook for 15-20 minutes.
10. Then, add your favourite toppings and cheese and cook for a further five minutes or until golden and the cheese is melted.
11. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!
Serving up simple, honest Italian food using the best ingredients along with a touch of old-world hospitality and charm. We look forward to welcoming you at Cucina Porto.