Traditional Italian Pizza

Carmine and Joey Baffa got theirs in 1961 in New York when they decided to run a massive gambling operation without  giving the Outfit its cut. The brothers had been warned several times to smarten up. They didn't. They died 

Traditional Italian Pizza


25 g (1 oz) fresh yeast
1 teaspoon runny honey
500 g (4 cups) plain (all purpose) flour
a little olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
400 g (14 oz) tin tomatoes, roughly puréed
olive oil, to drizzle

Crumble the yeast into a large bowl. Add the honey, 375 ml (1 ½ cups) warm water and about 150 g (1 ¼ cups) of the flour. Mix well with an electric mixer. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until the yeast begins to activate.

Add the remaining flour and 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix in (with the dough hook of the mixer or by hand) until the dough comes together. It may be necessary to add a drop more water or flour, but the dough should be soft and sticky, not dry. Add the salt and mix through thoroughly. Cover the dough and leave for about 10 minutes.

Lightly brush the pizza trays with olive oil. Gently extend one third of the dough into each of the trays. Don't worry if it doesn't pull to the edge instantly (it will become easier if you leave it for a bit).

Leave uncovered for about 15 minutes and then work the dough with your hands, flattening it to the edge of the baking tray. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1-1 1½ hours or until the dough is nice and puffy.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7) or to its hottest temperature. Season the tomato with salt and spread thinly over the bases, leaving a very thin border around the edge. Divide the mozzarella between two of the pizza bases, reserving a little.

To make the ham, artichoke and mascarpone topping, scatter ham pieces over one of the mozzarella-based pizzas. Scatter with artichokes and then with a little more mozzarella to prevent the ham from drying out. Dot the mascarpone over the top. Drizzle very lightly with good olive oil (or the oil from your artichokes).

To make the pancetta and rosemary topping, drape half the pancetta over the other mozzarella-based pizza and scatter with a little more mozzarella. Scatter the rosemary leaves over the top and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

To make the pepper, rocket and avocado topping, scatter the pepper over the last pizza. The remaining toppings will be added once the base is cooked.

Bake the pizzas for 10-15 minutes (depending entirely on the heat of your oven), or until the top is golden in parts and the bottom is lightly golden and the firm. The 2 mozzarella pizzas are now ready to serve.

To complete the pepper pizza, scoop out the avocado flesh and add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Dot the avocado over the pizza, scatter with the rocket, olives, a dash of Tabasco and a drizzle of olive oil (if you are using chilli oil, leave out the extra olive oil). Serve quickly, before the rocket looks tired.