Don Antonio by Starita's Montanara Starita Pizza
The Montanara Starita—developed by Roberto’s mentor Antonia Starita—is the most popular item on the Don Antonio menu. Fried dough is topped with tomato sauce and smoked mozzarella, then finished in the oven. The oil dries out during the second cooking and the pizza that emerges is surprisingly light and non-greasy.
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs basil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 to 3 cups canola oil, for frying
- 4 12-ounce balls pizza dough, room temperature
- Semolina flour, for dusting
- 1 pound smoked mozzarella, shredded
- ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 16 basil leaves
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- In a large bowl, crush tomatoes by hand. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, basil sprigs, and salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce thickens slightly, about 35 to 40 minutes. Discard basil.
- Set oven broiler to high. Place pizza stone on center rack and heat 30 minutes.
- Fill a Dutch oven or large pot with about 2 inches of oil. Heat over medium heat until oil reaches 350°F. Dust 1 ball of dough with semolina. Using your fingertips, press dough into a 10-inch circle about ¼-inch-thick, leaving a 1-inch border (crust) around the edge.
- Using a fork, poke holes all over the dough. Gently lower dough into oil. Fry, flipping once, until golden and puffed, about 1 to 2 minutes total. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough (fry all 4 rounds before adding toppings).
- Transfer 1 dough round to a pizza peel and spread ½ cup sauce over the surface. Top with ¼ of the mozzarella, ¼ of the pecorino, and 4 basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil. Slide pizza onto heated stone and broil until cheese melts, about 1 to 1½ minutes. Repeat with remaining dough rounds, then serve immediately.
culture: the word on cheese https://culturecheesemag.com/