Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Semi-Recipe: Pizza Puttanesca

I made this without thinking about whether or not I would post about it until I took a picture of it, so this is really more of a semi-recipe (ha. as opposed to all the other much more precise ones). There are probably a gazillion variations of this floating around, but this way is one of my favorites. It is, essentially, a deconstructed puttanesca sauce atop a pizza, thus the name. I am assuming (because otherwise I would need to give good directions) that you know how to make pizza, and that therefore, the part you’re interested in is this topping. Although I mention chopping in the recipe, I do not actually bother with a knife. I just tear up the olives and anchovies.

Preheat your oven at the temperature you bake pizza at; I usually go 425-450 degrees, but my oven is more than 50 years old (not kidding), so this setting means that my oven is somewhere between 300 degrees and 550 degrees at different points in baking. I don’t even bother with an interior oven thermometer any more, because I found it just upset me. The oven will behave as it will.

I say half a recipe of pizza dough in the recipe (okay. "recipe") because the children feel that this does not count as pizza. There is no delicious, gooey mozzarella baked on top. I have not bothered engaging on that particular argument, since it’s awfully easy, when baking pizza, to adjust for personal preference. Therefore, half a recipe goes for pizza puttanesca, and the other half goes to what the kids want to eat (on this occasion, it was the little meat pizzas in Claudia Roden’s Arabesque).


½ recipe pizza dough
About ½ - ¾ cup tomato sauce (I like it smooth, but chunky is fine, too)
About 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
10-15 black olives, pitted and roughly quartered (or chopped very coarsely). I prefer oil cured black olives, but on my last batch, used empeltre (my snack olive of choice), which were very successful.
2 Tablespoons capers
6 anchovy fillets, cut into thirds or quarters
Red chili flakes, to taste
¼ cup or a little less of grated parmesan.

1) Preheat oven. Roll out pizza dough fairly thinly into however many pizzas you’re making (I usually go about ¼” or less) and brush lightly with olive oil.

2) Spoon tomato sauce onto the pizzas, spreading it out. Don’t go too thickly.

3) Sprinkle olives, capers and anchovies over the pizza so they’re fairly evenly distributed, and then do the same with the chili flakes, to your taste.

4) Put a light sprinkling of parmesan over the whole shebang, and then bake it.

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