An Italian Chef Reveals The Secret To A Perfect Homemade Pizza

Italians will search for months for the place to enjoy a perfect pizza with friends. There are those who prefer them with a thick crust, Neapolitan-style, and those looking for the thin and crispy Roman-style. But they all agree on one point: it must be easy to digest, not a pleasure that is paid for with hours of thirst and a heavy stomach. Preparing it at home is easy, just follow the advice of Italian super- chef Michele Leo, who has made his name with the Neapolitan-style in particular.

“The key is to know your raw materials. With the ingredients being only water, flour, salt and yeast, it is obvious that everything revolves around quality and how long we are willing to wait before enjoying our dish. The richer the flour is in gluten, the longer the leavening takes, if the pizza is to be easily digestible. So before kneading you should find out how much gluten your flour contains: if the label carries the words “pizza flour” it means there is not too much and that we are already on the right track. Then you must allow 8-10 hours for it to rise. This also solves the problem of yeast intolerance, which is increasingly common because the dough is often placed in the oven before the yeast has finished doing its job.”

RECIPE by Michele Leo


For the dough:
A quart of water
1 1⁄2 tsp of yeast
3.3 pounds of flour
1 oz. of salt
Extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing:
2/3 cans of peeled tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil,
Fior di latte mozzarella (or buffalo)
Fresh basil

Make the dough by mixing all the ingredients (and in the order in which they are listed, keeping in mind that the quantity of flour can be reduced) and prepare a dough that must be left to rest for 8-10 hours. An hour before baking, prepare the trays.

There is a perfect equation: one side multiplied by another side
(of the pan) divided by two. For example, if we have a 50x30 cm pan, the right amount of dough is 750g (50x30 = 1500: 2 = 750). Then wait 8-10 hours for the dough to rise. An hour before baking, heat the oven to 220-250 degrees C and roll out the dough on a board after covering the surface with of durum wheat flour.

Roll out the dough, remove the excess flour and put it back in the pan either covered with a baking sheet or greased with extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped tomatoes and salt, lastly adding a little oil, and bake on the lowest shelf for approximately 15 minutes. Turn the baking pan halfway through cooking because the inside of the oven, next to the fan, is warmer and so cooks faster.

When the base is cooked, add the mozzarella and place on the top shelf for a few minutes. Add a little basil, and enjoy your meal.