The Philosophers' Pizza

Foodista Cookbook Winner

Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL:

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


For Dough (makes 4 pizzas)
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup olive oil
A pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
For Topping (1 pizza)
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon oregano
5 ounces mozzarella
Grated parmesan to taste


Put yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar to prime.
Let stand for 5 minutes until small bubbles form.
Add flour, oil and salt, and mix until the dough starts to stick together.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 10 minutes.
Put the dough in a large bowl, cover, and let sit for about 20-30 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
If you are making 1 pizza, divide the dough into 4 quarters.
Save 1 and wrap the other 3 in Saran Wrap, put them in a Ziplock container, and put immediately into the freezer.
Allow the 1 remaining ball to rise in a bowl again until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
If you have a pizza stone (we use one), put it in the oven now.
Drop the ball on a lightly floured surface, and with your fingers, lightly press down until you get a flat disc.
To get a nice, even, thin crust, place your fingers at the center of the pizza and press out slowly and symmetrically along an imaginary line.
Rotate the dough 15 degrees and press out again.
Make your hands into fists and hang the dough over them.
Rotate the dough in a circle on your fists, pulling out slowly as you do so to stretch into a wider disc.
Sweat onion and garlic in a tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat.
Break 4 whole San Marzano tomatoes apart, include the juice in the pan with onions and garlic, and add about 1 tbsp more of juice from the can.
Let the tomatoes cook down for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
Add salt, pepper and oregano, stirring every so often.
If using a pizza peel to put pizza on pizza stone, cover the peel with flour to prevent dough from sticking.
Transfer the dough to the peel and add the tomatoes.
Cut mozzarella into 1/8 inch slices and place over the top of the pizza.
Drizzle olive oil over the top and transfer to pizza stone.
Cook for about 12-15 minutes, until the sides become golden brown and the mozzarella begins to look like a roasted marshmallow.
Cut the basil over the top right when it comes out.
Grate parmesan over the top to taste.




Sheri Wetherell's picture

Note: All photos are by Marika though some were uploaded by Foodista (Sheri)


As you know, I recently brewed my first batch of home brew, a light ale from an extract kit from

It turned out unexpectedly well, and we’ve been enjoying it over the last couple of months straight from our very own tap. (Not a tap in a kegerator, mind you, but my jerry-rigged mini fridge from the 80s that houses my keg and co2 tank.)

We’re finally getting to the end of the keg–I think I squeezed the last few drops out last night–but those final two pints did not go to waste, they accompanied the perfect pizza.

Now, I lived in Italy for a year and return periodically to visit friends, eat good food, and drink good wine and beer. I learned how to make pizza from my Abruzzese friends, starting from the dough, up. (Abruzzo, it is said, is the origin of Italian pizza.) Philosopher #2 is part Italian and grew up in New York, eating the likes of Totonno’s, Lombardi’s, Di Fara and Grimaldi’s. Combined, our pizza acumen is higher than our collective IQ.

I am a die-hard traditionalist when it comes to Italian food. These days I hardly ever set foot in an Italian restaurant unless I know for certain that the food is authentic (why bother?). Philosopher #2, on the other hand, grew up with an Italian-American culinary heritage, which is often ironically at odds with traditional Italian cuisine. But we both love pizza. So, we combined our brains and over the course of two years, we set to work refining what would become the perfect marriage of classic Italian pizza and the best of American innovation. We call it the Philosophers’ Pizza.

A traditional margherita napoletana is extraordinarily simple. After letting the dough rise, you break a handful of San Marzano tomatoes over the top, slice a few large rounds of fresh mozzarella (bufala, if you prefer), drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt. Put it in a blistering wood-fired oven, drop fresh basil leaves over the top, then serve. Simple.

It took me a long time to break from this culinary ethic. In fact, it took the insistent threat that the pizza would simply not be eaten by my other half if we did not make a sauce, rather than utilizing straight tomatoes. Thus was born our margherita, made with a sauce, rather than whole-peeled tomatoes.

But I can’t say that I dislike the flavor of this pizza any less. In fact, I like it just as much if not more than the traditional margherita. The Philosophers’ Pizza still has a light, thin crust, and utilizes San Marzanos, fresh basil, and not too much mozzarella. It may not be exactly traditional, but it has the rest of Italy, anyway, ed è buonissima.

Here, so you can build it from the ground up, is our recipe for the Philosophers’ Pizza. Plato would have loved it, and so should you.


1.0 pizza serves 2 people


Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 10:28am


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