The Montanara Pizza (Classic Fried Italian Pizza).
Umm….so yeah. There is pizza, and then there is this pizza.
I am well aware that it is not your typical everyday pizza, but apparently it’s pretty traditional in Italy.
Ok, and New York. Any New Yorker’s out there ever had The Montanara Pizza?
So, do you remember back in the summer when I made the Mozzarella in Carrozza? and I was telling you guys about that old Italian cookbook my dad got me? Well, this is another recipe idea from that book. It’s not the same recipe, but it’s the same idea, a classic fried Italian pizza.
I am not really sure what’s it is called, because in my cookbook half of the recipes are in Italian, but after a little research online I discovered that a fried pizza is commonly referred to as The Montanara Pizza and according to the New York Times, they are pretty popular in NYC now.
So there’s the background behind this recipe. Super fun stuff, right? Yeah.
Here’s the deal, this pizza is basically a Margarita pizza, but fried and made more consumer friendly – and winter friendly, by using canned san marzano tomatoes.
I used my favorite dough recipe, but this time, I let the dough rise overnight to allow it to develop flavor. Apparently, this is customary in Italy, so I went with it. For the sauce, I stayed pretty traditional, but at the same time, did my own thing, because I just can’t help myself.
And FYI, the sauce is soo good. It’s loaded with garlic, basil and maybe a little butter too. Whaat? Yes.
And oh my gosh? For the toppings, it’s really just some smoked mozzarella and basil. Crazy simple, but it is all you need. If you have some pine nuts, I’d add those too, but other than that, it’s all about the cheese.
Fried crust, melted cheese and fresh basil. Seriously.
Oh, and I figured that if there was ever a time to post a fried pizza, it’d be now, just days before the Super Bowl, when fried food is 100% acceptable.
I feel like I should also explain that we are only frying the dough here. See, you just take one ball of dough and flatten it out into a circle. Fry the circle of dough for about one minute per side and remove from the oil. Then top the fried dough with sauce, cheese and basil, place on a super hot pizza stone, and then under the broiler it goes for about two minutes or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly. And then of course – you eat it!!
If you do not have a pizza stone, you can just use a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet or a baking sheet, but use the stone if you have it (and then the skillet and then if you don’t have either of those, the baking sheet).
Ok, and now I am done. Are you ready for the best pizza ever?
The Montanara Pizza (Classic Fried Italian Pizza).
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 ounce cans san marzano tomatoes 28
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- salt to taste
- 1 parmesan cheese rind
- 16 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese sliced
- pecorino romano cheese grated
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 1 in recipe [pizza dough | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/whipped-feta-and-roasted-jalapeno-greek-pizza/] preferably left to rise the fridge overnight.
- If possible, prepare your pizza dough the night before and allow it to rise in the fridge overnight.
- Heat a medium to large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil, butter, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Slowly cook the garlic in the oil/butter for about 10-20 minutes, but be very careful not to burn the garlic. You want the garlic to be fragrant and lightly caramelized. Now carefully add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hand as you add them. Add the tomato paste, dried basil, oregano, a good pinch salt and the parmesan rind. Bring the sauce to a low boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, with the lid off for about 1 hour or as long as you can. If you are going to go longer than an hour, keep the lid on. You can make the sauce three to four days in advance. The longer it simmers and sits, the better.
- To prepare the pizzas, Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Place a pizza stone under the broiler (or large pan) and heat it for 30 minutes. Pour enough canola oil into an 8 quart pot to go 2 inches up the sides of the pot. Heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350 degrees F. Divide the dough into four balls. Dust each ball of dough with semolina. Using your fingertips, press the dough into a 8-10 inch circle, it does not need to be perfect. Using a fork, poke holes all over the dough; gently lower the dough into the hot oil. Fry, flipping once, until golden and puffed, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a pizza peel or clean surface. Repeat with the remaining dough. Spread each pizza with as much sauce as desired. Distribute a quarter of each of the cheeses and basil leaves over each piece of dough. Drizzle the pizzas with a little olive oil. Slide pizza, one at a time, onto stone. Turn the oven to broil and broil until cheese melts, about 1-1½ minutes. Serve hot with fresh pecorino, basil and pine nuts.
- *Heavily adapted from [Saveur | http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Montanara-Starita-Fried-Pizza-with-Marinara-Sauce].
GOOD. Lets make it already!