The most famous kind of Neapolitan fried pizza—“pizza fritta”—doesn’t actually resemble a pizza at all: it looks like a big, fried calzone. Montanara (or in this case the smaller “montanarina”) looks like a margherita pizza with a base of fried dough. It’s simpler to make at home than the stuffed pizza fritta, making it a great recipe to try if you want some Neapolitan street food from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make Montanara pizza here:
Makes: 6 mini pizzas
Cook Time: 1 hour of cooking time, with 15 hours of rising time
For the dough, you will need:
1/2 cup (125ml) water
3/4 tsp. (3g) active dry yeast
2 cups (250g) Manitoba or bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp. (10g) salt
Vegetable oil for frying (or other neutral oil of your choice)
For topping, you’ll need:
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fresh basil leaves
In a large mixing bowl, combine the water and yeast. Stir until the yeast dissolves completely. Gradually add the flour while mixing by hand. When all of the flour is added and a rough dough begins to form, mix in the salt as well.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. “Knead” it by gently folding the dough in half about 10 times. Dust the inside of the mixing bowl with flour, place the dough ball back in, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough mature for 12 hours in a fridge.
Remove the dough bowl from the fridge and let it rise at room temperature for 2 hours. On a floured surface, cut the dough into 6 equal portions and form each into a smooth ball. You can do so by gently folding and tucking any rough edges underneath so that the top becomes smooth and even. Place the dough balls onto a floured baking tray, leaving a few inches of space in between. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for another hour.
Fill a small pot with about 2 inches of oil and bring up to medium/high temperature. If you can drop in a bread crumb or small morsel of dough and it starts to bubble immediately, the oil is hot enough to fry.
Remove one dough ball from the tray and gently flatten it into a disc with your fingers. Carefully drop it into the oil. The dough will quickly puff up, this is normal! Turn the dough over frequently as it fries, and carefully baste it with oil using a spoon. When the dough is golden brown, remove it to a paper towel to drain. Repeat to fry the other dough balls.
Gently press down the centers of the fried dough balls. Fill the depressions with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce and top with a generous grating of Parmigiano cheese and a single basil leaf. Serve warm and fresh.
Want to try the Sicilian version of mini street food pizza? Check out our recipe for Rosticeria Siciliana! Looking for other amazing Neapolitan food? Everyone should try Ragù alla Napoletana at least once in their life!