One of my head pizzaiolos, Laura Meyer, has lived and studied in Italy and speaks Italian fluently. So when the world championships in Parma, Italy, rolled around, she was excited to give it a shot. We flew over together and planned her entry in the pizza in teglia (“pan pizza,” or what we would call Sicilian) division. I advised her not to go too off the wall—Italians don’t love that, especially from Americans—but to add a little twist that would be just creative enough. Laura settled on a classic pizza alla diavola, which is made with whole-milk mozzarella, tomato sauce, and slices of the spicy oblong salami known as soppressata piccante. Her clever addition was a scattering of arugula on top of the finished pizza. When they announced the final results, Laura heard the word vincitrice—the feminine form of “winner,” and, being the only woman in the finals, she knew she’d won before she even heard her name. I asked Laura to give it a name. “Now that I’ve been crowned,” she said, without missing a beat, “how about La Regina, Italian for ’queen’?”
What to buy: Look for flour with a protein content of 13 to 14 percent—All Trumps High Gluten Flour and Pendleton Flour Mills’ Power Flour are both excellent. The King Arthur brand of diastatic malt powder is fairly easy to find, though I highly recommend Central Milling’s Low Diastatic Artisan Malt.
Special equipment: You’ll need two pizza stones and a 12-inch-by-18-inch steel Sicilian pan that’s been seasoned.
Game plan: The tomato sauce can be made up to 3 days before using; cover tightly and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before assembling your pizza.
Reprinted with permission from The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.
To make the dough:
To parbake the crust:
To finish the pizza: