Razza Chef Dan Richer’s Di Natale Pizza
In their cookbook, The Joy of Pizza, chef Dan Richer and Rome-based food journalist Katie Parla share favorite recipes from the menu at Richer’s acclaimed Jersey City restaurant, Razza Pizza Artigianale. This one, the Di Natale, stems from a flavor combination they fell in love with while in Naples.
During a pizza tour of Campania — the region of southern Italy that includes Naples —Dan and Katie stopped at E’Curti in Sant’Anastasia, a beautiful town located inside Vesuvius National Park. We can’t imagine a better place to eat or source the ingredients that top this pizza. (The volcanic soil in Campania is part of what makes the produce grown there so special, and the resulting food so delicious.)
E’Curti serves up “trash can” — This sounds better in Italian, we swear! — a traditional Neapolitan pasta dish made from the scraps a Neapolitan family would have left over after preparing a Christmas (Natale, in Italian) meal: tomato sauce, olives, pine nuts, raisins, garlic, and chilies. At the trattoria, Dan and Katie first tasted this combination tossed with spaghetti, but they liked it so much, it got them thinking about pizza. Back in the States, Dan created the Di Natale pizza and put it on the menu at Razza, where it quickly became a hit.
Covered in raisins, small black olives, pine nuts, tomato sauce and mozzarella, this pizza is an excellent holiday treat, but it also tastes good year-round. In keeping with Dan’s larger philosophy around fresh, local and high quality ingredients, he advises using “the best raisins you can find.” When it comes to the olives, it’s more important to use whatever is fresh and good quality, rather than use a specific kind. That said, brine-cured Calletier olives, often called Niçoise, are a great place to start.
Excerpted from THE JOY OF PIZZA by Dan Richer with Katie Parla. Copyright © 2021 by Dan Richer. Photographs by Eric Wolfinger. Illustrations by Katie Shelly. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved.
10 minutes active time, 30 minutes total time (excluding dough preparation)
One 12-inch pizza
250-gram pizza dough ball
56 grams tomato sauce *Dan’s tomato sauce calls for one 800 gram can of whole peeled tomatoes passed through a food mill and seasoned with fine sea salt, but you can use the tomato sauce of your choice.
75 grams fresh mozzarella, torn or cut into 2-3cm pieces
24 grams pitted and rinsed black olives, roughly chopped
9 grams pine nuts
11 grams raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes or in cold water overnight, then drained
½ garlic clove
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh basil leaves (optional)
Homemade chilli oil (Dan recommends pulsing 60 grams of mixed toasted whole dried chilies with 550 grams neutral oil (canola or grapeseed) warmed over heat, then strained. You can also substitute your favorite brand of ready-made chile oil.)
This recipe would suit a variety of pizza styles, but Dan’s Everyday Dough is obviously a great fit. Make sure to prepare your dough ahead of time to ensure it rises at room temperature before heating your oven.
Fire up your Ooni pizza oven. Aim for 500°C on the stone baking board inside. Use the thermometer to quickly and accurately check the temperature of the stone before launching.
On a lightly floured surface, stretch out your dough to 12 inches (30cm), then transfer to a lightly floured peel. Spoon the tomato sauce evenly over the pizza dough all the way to the edge of the raised border. Distribute the mozzarella, olives, pine nuts, and raisins evenly. Shave the garlic over the top using a truffle shaver or sharp knife to 1 to 2 millimeters thick slivers. Drizzle with olive oil.
Slide the pizza off the peel and into your oven. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, turning the pizza regularly to ensure an even cook.
Remove the cooked pizza and garnish with fresh basil, and if using, a drizzle of chile oil. Slice into 6 pieces and serve immediately.