To shake things up a bit, I thought I’d showcase a pizza that originated in Calabria, Italy, just a stone’s throw away from my Sicilian birthplace. I didn’t know much about this pizza until my friend Peter Calabrese, a New York pizza maker originally from Calabria, told me a little more about it and piqued my interest. This simple pie uses tomato paste instead of sauce. In the old days, we used tomato paste for everything, because it cost less and went further (we could make a gallon of spaghetti sauce with one can of tomato paste), so I was interested in making the Calabrese pizza because it uses paste in place of sauce. I chose to use sundried tomato paste instead of traditional tomato paste to give the pizza a bit more sweetness. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a great simple recipe that can be easily modified to accommodate individual tastes.
- 1 1/2 lb. basic pizza dough
- 4 tbsp. sundried tomato paste
- 5 1/2 oz. ricotta cheese
- 10 sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to form a circle. Place the dough on a cookie sheet, pushing out the edges until even (the dough should be no more than 1/2 inch thick, because it will rise during cooking). Spread the sundried tomato paste over the dough and add several spoonfuls of ricotta cheese to cover the entire pie. Arrange the sundried tomato strips on top of the pizza. Sprinkle the thyme on top; add salt and pepper to taste; and bake the pizza in a preheated oven at 400°F for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.