Top This: Montanara (à la Forcella)

Top This

Learn how to work a new topping onto your pies.

[Photographs: Erin Mosbaugh]

What's better than pizza? Fried pizza. Or this is the thought that popped into my head when I took my first bite of the montanara pizza at Forcella in Williamsburg (reviewed here). It was one of those hit-you-over-the-head good, oh, man, I need more sort of reactions.

Giulio Adriani is the mad creator of Forcella's montanara pizza, which he deep-fries in vegetable oil and then finishes in the oven to achieve a light and airy crust with the perfect chew, and a crispness only achieved by frying at 375°F. He tops the montanara simply with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella that he makes in house, grana padano cheese, and fresh basil leaves.

The thing is, Adriani isn't really a mad scientist of pizza at all. Neapolitan grandmothers have been making fried pizza for ages, frying the dough in a pan filled with hot oil and then topping it with a scant film of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Pizza. Fried. Neapolitan grannys do it, and there's no real reason we can think of that you shouldn't make this fun and fantastic variation on a classic. Click through the slideshow to find out how.

What You'll Need (for one pizza)

  • 1 dough portion
  • Vegetable oil for frying (preferably sunflower oil)
  • Canned, whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella or Fior di Latte
  • Grana padano, grated
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Salt
  • A deep cast-iron frying pan (or a deep fryer)