Ever since I cut into my first ball of burrata cheese and saw the creamy curds ooze out I have been in love with this cheese. Burrata originally originated in Puglia and consists of an outer shell of mozzarella that surrounds a center of curds and cream. The flavor of the curds has just a very subtle tang, and the texture is smooth and oh so creamy. While we were in Umbria this summer, I spotted a pizza on the cover of a magazine, and I was obsessed with making it. The pizza was a simple Margherita pizza which is basically tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil pizza, but what made this pizza special is that as soon as you take the pizza from the oven, you spoon some of the creamy burrata curds over the pizza. The heat of the pizza warms the burrata without truly cooking it, so the pizza has a creamy, cheesy topping. Although burrata cheese used to be almost impossible to find in the states, it is now much more readily available. I even just bought some from Trader Joe’s, although I have yet to taste it.
This pizza truly is special, despite the fact it is quite easy to assemble and uses just a few ingredients. When you are using simple ingredients as I do in this pizza, you must ensure that they are of the very best quality. I prefer to use either Mutti or Pomi brand tomatoes for my pizza sauce, and we like our sauce to have a very fresh flavor like the pizza sauce in Italy, so I do not cook it. To find out if your brand of tomatoes is a good choice, taste it right from the can. It should taste like fresh, ripe tomatoes with no sour taste. The mozzarella should be a fresh one, sold in balls, and if at all possible, I’d suggest using buffalo mozzarella. The burrata is the star of this pizza so it really cannot be substituted with anything else. Of course, the basil needs to be fresh as well. You do not want to be using dried basil from a jar for this pizza! We are lucky enough to have a pizza oven both at our home in Umbria, as well as here in the states, but you can make a pretty good pizza in your kitchen oven. Just ensure that your oven is turned up to its highest temperature and is preheated. I always make my pizza dough the day before we plan to have pizza to help aerate the dough and improve its flavor. If you do not have time to make your dough, many grocery stores now sell pre-made pizza dough.
Our Florida Pizza Oven!
Deborah Mele 2015
- 2 Individual Pizza Dough Balls - At Room Temperature (About 9 Ounces Each)
- Uncooked Tomato Sauce (Recipe Below)
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Diced Fresh Mozzarella
- 1 Ball Fresh Burrata Cheese
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Fresh Basil Leaves
Fresh Tomato Sauce:
- 1 Can Good Quality Chopped Tomatoes (I Prefer Mutti - See Notes Above)
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
- To prepare the sauce, mix the ingredients together in a bowl.
- Heat the oven to it's highest setting (Usually 500 degrees F.)
- To prepare the dough, press each dough ball into a flat disk on a lightly floured counter or bread board. Using your fingers and knuckles carefully, press the dough out into a 12 to 14 inch circle. Place the dough onto a baking peel lightly coated with cornmeal or flour.
- Brush the outer 2 inches of the dough with the olive oil. Place a large scoop of sauce onto each pizza and spread evenly across the pizza leaving a 1 inch edge.
- Scatter the mozzarella cheese on each pizza and place some of the basil leaves on top.
- Sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt, then bake each pizza for about 10 minutes or until the pizza is brown and bubbly turning the pizza halfway if needed for it to bake evenly.
- As soon as the pizza is removed from the oven, cut the ball of burrata open, and spoon some of the curds over the top of each pizza. Enjoy!