Pizza Montanara Starita (Fried Pizza with Marinara Sauce)
This signature pizza of both Naples’ Starita and New York City’s Don Antonio pizzerias is at first fried, then slathered in a rich marinara sauce before it is quickly baked to melt the mozzarella. This recipe first appeared in our May 2013 issue with Keith Pandolfi’s article The Gold of Naples.
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil, plus more
- 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 (28-oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes packed in purée, crushed by hand
- 3 sprigs basil, plus 16-20 leaves
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1 recipe Naples-style pizza dough
- Fine semolina, for dusting
- 1 lb. smoked mozzarella, shredded
- 1⁄4 cup grated pecorino romano
- Heat olive oil, chile flakes, and garlic in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, basil sprigs, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, until sauce is slightly thick, 35-40 minutes. Discard basil.
- Place a pizza stone under the broiler; heat for 30 minutes. Pour enough canola oil into an 8-qt. saucepan to reach a depth of 2″. Heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Working in 4 batches, dust 1 ball dough with semolina. Using your fingertips, press dough into a 10″ circle about ¼” thick, leaving a 1″ crust around the edges. Hold dough straight up, and with fingertips circling crust, slide fingers around crust in a circular motion as you would turn a steering wheel until dough in the center is stretched to about ⅛” thick. Using a fork, poke holes all over the dough; gently lower into oil. Fry, flipping once, until golden and puffed, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a pizza peel; spread ½ cup sauce over dough. Distribute a quarter each of the cheeses and basil leaves; drizzle with oil. Slide pizza onto stone; broil until cheese melts, about 1-1½ minutes. Serve hot.