Remember when I said I was a pasta snob? Well, that goes for pizza, too.  Are you surprised?

Sounds simple enough…dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella, right? Yes & no. Pizza has become a craft, an art…a cultural movement if you will. The ingredient list might sound simple, but there are tons of  styles & many different theories related to the preparation of this dish. I can’t help but favor the Neapolitan style the most, though.

Naples is a rough place. I’m not saying that the mafia runs the place, but I’m not saying that they don’t. One thing the city has down pat, though, is their pizza. They even have an organization (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) that regulates how it’s made giving only the true pizza Napoletana a DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status. Needless to say, these people take pizza very, very seriously. As do I.

napoletana pizza dough

A peel is very helpful tool in maneuvering a pre-cooked & finished pizza.

Tools of the Trade

At Home Pizza Oven – When I first started making pizza at home, I invested in a pizza stone. I was happy with the outcome using the stone combined with my oven broiler. However, I knew I could improve if I had a hotter oven.

I ended up purchasing the Breville Pizza Maker & will never go back to the stone. This countertop pizza oven can reach up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit – way hotter than your normal oven. Traditionally, pizza Napoletana is put into a wood-fired oven burning at around 900 degrees Fahrenheit. So, the hotter, the better.

Pizza Peel– I recommend using a peel (wooden or steel) to build your pizzas on and to transfer them in & out of the oven. This will help you to maneuver an uncooked pizza onto the oven without making a mess & remove it from the heat without burning yourself.

It’s all in the Dough

I can’t take credit for developing my own pizza dough recipe. Sigh. But, I do recommend using Tony Gemignani’s The Pizza Bible. This cookbook shares an endless amount of information about all things pizza. Whether you like Chicago deep-dish or Neapolitan, there’s something in here for all pizza lovers. I swear by his Napoletana dough recipe that uses 00 (doppio zero) flour & takes 48 hours to rise – well worth the wait. The longer rise time allows for a more complex & flavorful dough that will set it apart from others.

napoletana pizza dough

See The Pizza Bible for dough recipe.

But, it’s also in the Sauce

Two words: Tomatoes & salt – that’s it! That’s why it’s important to use great San Marzano tomatoes, which are sweeter & less acidic than other types. You can find San Marzano peeled tomatoes at most grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s  & Target.

Tip: I top my prepared pizza with a sprinkle of sea salt before putting it in the oven to enhance the flavors. 

Don’t Forget the Cheese!

I’ll never forget being a ten year old kid visiting my grandparents’ hometown in Basilicata & having my great aunt (Zia Bettina) place the world’s biggest ball of mozzarella in front of me. To my ten year old eyes, it seemed like the size of a cantaloupe. I didn’t even recognize it as mozzarella. I was mesmerized.

GOOD mozzarella like this is hard to find. Although, the mozzarella craft is starting to develop more & more in the U.S. I use store-bought mozzarella & I find that “ovoline” or 4-oz. balls (cut into thin slices) are the perfect size for making pizza. Sometimes, I use burrata & wait to put it on after the dough/tomato sauce has cooked resulting in fresh globs of creamy cheese on top of a cooked pizza – Heaven.

Now for the fun part…putting it all together!

Pizza Napoletana
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins

This recipe is intended to be used with the Breville pizza oven OR other similar countertop pizza ovens that reach about 650 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Servings: 2
  • 14.5 oz can San Marzano peeled Tomatoes
  • two 4oz balls Fresh Mozzarella
  • Fresh Basil
  • Sea Salt
  • Napoletana Dough see The Pizza Bible for recipe
  • drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Refer to The Pizza Bible for dough recipe/instructions.

  2. Preheat the pizza oven to 650 degrees F.

  3. For the Sauce: Blend the San Marzano peeled tomatoes in either a blender or food processor until smooth. Then, add sea salt.

  4. Slice the mozzarella into thin slices & set aside.

  5. Ladle tomato sauce onto prepared pizza dough & sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top.

  6. Place uncooked pizza dough & tomato sauce combination in the oven for 5 minutes.

  7. Open the oven to add the sliced mozzarella. Then, continue to cook closed for another 3-5 minutes.

  8. Remove pizza from the oven, add fresh basil leaves, drizzle of olive oil & serve. 

    Repeat for 2nd serving.*