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How to Make Rome’s Forno Campo de’ Fiori Pizza, At Home

I’ve recently noticed that when I think back on my recent trip to Rome, of all the amazing food I enjoyed, it’s pizza I remember best. Well, maybe it shouldn’t come as such a surprise given the city’s pizza-making notoriety, but I didn’t expect it to be the dish that would stick to my mind. During our stay in Italy’s capital, E and I had pizza at many different trattorie, but the one pizza I remember best and still long for, months after, was the one served by weight at a take-out counter. Forno Campo de’ Fiori was always packed: keeping my place in line without being passed by locals used to the place’s chaotic ordering and check-outing process was always a bit of a sport, but the prize was absolutely worth the struggle.

Forno Campo de’ Fiori

Forno’s pizza is cooked as 6-foot long pies and is served with different toppings, but the combinations are always very simple. Usually, two or three carefully chosen ingredients garnish the pizza’s crunchy dough, but the place is also famous for its minimalist pizza bianca, topped only with olive oil and coarse sea salt, which should become the poster-child for the merits of culinary simplicity.

Forno Campo de’ Fiori’s Pizza Bianca:
Forno Campo de’ Fiori's Pizza Bianca

We loved Forno’s so much that we went back to taste many varieties but our favorite was the zucchini pizza – the soft, nutty taste of thinly sliced zucchini combined with the milkiness of fresh mozzarella, contrasting with the crust’s saltiness was an absolute chef d’oeuvre and we went crazy for it. Seriously, I could have eaten that pizza every day for a week. Of course, the fact that we enjoyed our €2 slices sitting on the rim of Campo di Fiori’s fountain under the warm fall sun, while we watched busy and elegant Romans walk by didn’t hurt to imprint the souvenir upon my memory either.

Campo de’ Fiori’s Zucchini Pizza:
Campo de' Fiori's zucchini pizza

Picture-Perfect Campo de’ Fiori, Rome:
Market day, Campo de' Fiori, Rome

Back home, I started to experiment making Roman pizza, wanting to come as close to Forno’s as I could. Much of the success depended on the crust’s crispiness, which was difficult to achieve in a regular home oven. Also, as I usually made the pizza dough in my bread machine, my efforts produced a crust which rose too much during the baking process, even when rolled paper-thin.

Then the “new” Bon Appetit came along, with its first Italy-focused issue. I bought it out of curiosity, and found a recipe for Roman pizza that felt very close to the goal I was trying to reach. I couldn’t resist trialing the recipe just a couple of days after. I kneaded the dough by hand and noticed right away that it stretched very easily and held its shape even after being rolled extremely thin. I felt hopeful and garnished the pizza with a classic tomato,mozzarella di bufala,  and fresh basil combination. The result was flabbergasting in its deliciousness: I couldn’t have come closer to the goal I was trying to reach. We wolfed down the first pie and I promised to quickly make the zucchini variety – which I did a couple of days later with equal success.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil & Rocket Roman-Style Pizza

I now believe I have found the perfect Roman-style pizza dough. If you like thin, crispy pizza, I believe you’ll fall in love with it too. Don’t be put off by the idea of making your own dough by hand, it’s a lot quicker than you think – believe me, I don’t have a lot of patience for dough but this one was easy. Once you have made the dough, the key to the perfect pizza is keeping the toppings simple and using the very best ingredients. Now is the time to use your best olive oil, to splurge on mozzarella di bufala and to sprinkle liberally with precious fleur de sel. Your taste buds will thank you.

Zucchini, Buffalo Mozzarella & Thyme Roman-Style Pizza

Roman-Style Pizza Crust

Adapted from Sarah Tenaglia and Selma Morrow, Bon Appétit Magazine

Rolling the dough extra-thin and the use of a pizza stone to bake the pizza are essential to get a crispy Roman-style crust. This recipe is for the crust only; choose the topping you want to try (see recipes below) and read recipes carefully to multi-task while the pizza dough is resting.

2 tsp sugar
1½ tsp active dry yeast
2½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp kosher salt
2¼ cups (plus more for dusting) all-purpose flour

Combine ¾ cup warm water (100°-115°F), sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until spongy, 4-5 minutes. Mix in 1½ tbsp oil and 1 tsp salt. Stir in 2¼ cups flour. Turn out onto a work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour when the dough is sticking, about 6 minutes total (I kneaded for exactly 6 minutes and it was perfect). Grease a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add dough, cover bowl with plastic; let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.

Meanwhile, position one rack in top third of oven and another in bottom third; place a pizza stone on top rack and preheat oven to 500°F. Preheat for 45 to 60 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. At this point, you can wrap the dough balls individually in plastic and store in the refrigerator for a couple of days, or store in a plastic storage bag in the freezer for 1 to 2 months.

To roll the dough: Sprinkle countertop and a dough ball with flour. Roll out dough very thinly in a large rectangle with rounded corners (it doesn’t have to be perfect; in fact, it’s more authentic if it isn’t!). The thinner you manage to roll the crust, the crunchier it will be. I like to go as thin as ¼-inch, but you can go thicker if that’s what you prefer.

Rolling out the pizza dough 1/4-inch thick.

Cut out a piece of parchment paper big enough so it’ll hold the pizza dough. Fold the dough in half and transfer to the parchment paper (the paper will make it easier to transfer the pizza to the oven, as the thinness of the crust would make it virtually impossible to slide the pizza off onto the stone). Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

The dough is now ready to garnish with the toppings of your choice. Here are my two favorite recipes:

Zucchini, Buffalo Mozzarella & Thyme

Inspired by Forno Campo de’ Fiori

Zucchini, Buffalo Mozzarella & Thyme Roman-Style Pizza

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, best quality, plus more for drizzling
1 clove garlic
2 small zucchini (using yellow and green zucchini makes the pizza extra-pretty)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 ball of buffalo mozzarella, sliced thinly
1 tbsp picked fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper and fleur de sel, or coarse sea salt

Prepare ingredients: Pour ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a little bowl. Smash the garlic clove with the side of a knife, then put into the olive oil to infuse. Slice both zucchini in extra thin slices (a mandolin makes this super fast and easy to do).

Roll out one ball of dough very thinly and let rest on parchment paper, as instructed above.

Garnish the pizza dough:

1. Brush dough generously with garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil
Brush dough generously with garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil.

2. Sprinkle a third of the grated parmigiano-reggiano over the dough, then distribute the slices of buffalo mozzarella.
Sprinkle a third of the grated parmigiano-reggiano over the dough, then distribute the slices of buffalo mozzarella.

3. Place the thin zucchini slices over the pizza in an overlapping pattern.
Place the thin zucchini slices over the pizza in an overlapping pattern.

4. Sprinkle zucchini with a generous pinch of fleur de sel (make sure the salt is distributed evenly all over the pizza), then with ground black pepper, thyme and the remaining parmigiano-reggiano. Drizzle with remaining garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle zucchini with a generous pinch of fleur de sel (make sure the salt is distributed evenly all over the pizza), then with ground black pepper, thyme and the remaining parmigiano-reggiano. Drizzle with remaining garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil.

Bake the pizza:

Using a large cutting board or a pizza peel, carefully transfer the pizza (with the parchment paper) onto the preheated pizza stone in the oven. Bake until crust is browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil & Rocket

Adapted from Sarah Tenaglia and Selma Morrow, Bon Appétit Magazine

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil & Rocket Roman-Style Pizza

Extra-virgin olive oil, best quality
¾ lb. cherry or grape tomatoes
¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 ball of buffalo mozzarella, sliced thinly
Chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper and fleur de sel, or coarse sea salt

Roast the cherry tomatoes: Preheat oven with pizza stone inside as detailed in pizza crust recipe above. Scatter cherry tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, toss and season with salt and pepper. Place on oven’s lower rack and roast (with oven at 500°F) until skins split, 10-12 minutes. Let cool. Continue heating oven as described above.

Roll out one ball of dough very thinly and let rest on parchment paper, as instructed above.

Garnish the pizza dough:

  1. Brush dough generously with extra-virgin olive oil
  2. Sprinkle with the grated parmigiano-reggiano, then distribute the slices of buffalo mozzarella. Top with the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake the pizza:

Using a large cutting board or a pizza peel, carefully transfer the pizza (with the parchment paper) onto the preheated pizza stone in the oven. Bake until crust is browned and crisp, about 10 minutes.

Finish and serve the pizza: Pull the pizza out of the oven. Sprinkle with a handful of rocket leaves.

 

Yum

53 Responses to How to Make Rome’s Forno Campo de’ Fiori Pizza, At Home

  1. We spent a month in Rome this spring and enjoyed many, many pizzas. Your website saved me hours of research. We enjoyed both your pizzas and they were as good as in Rome. I use a bread machine to make a double portion of dough, divide it into four parts, and freeze them. Thawed dough is relaxed and a lot easier to roll and stretch. I have a steel, 16 inch perforated pizza form and it works well. I have not found a large enough pizza stone to suit me. I am thinking of cutting down a large floor tile to fit my stove. I have photos to share, but don’t know how to send them to you. I am looking for more toppings.

  2. I agree, the parchment makes this whole process doable. I used commercially prepared dough and still had great results. I also used the Cuisinart processor to cut the zucchini evenly and thinly. The pizza was wonderful and I have referred to your blog. Also, my second pizza was a base of homemade pesto, mozzarella, coppociola, fresh herbs and parmesan regianno. Superb. You can even make it ahead of your guests’ arrival and reheat it for 5 minutes at 400.

  3. Hi, this recipe looks and sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try it. Can someone tell me how long this dough can keep in the fridge and freezer? make ahead would be ideal! Thanks :)

    • You can keep the dough wrapped in plastic wrap and a freezer-safe resealable bag for 24 hours in the fridge and up to a month in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

  4. I made this dough yesterday using bread flour. I let it sit in the fridge overnight and most of the day today. Brought it to room temp. Rolled. Topped. Baked. I love this dough. I also love the parchment idea. It worked terrific. Normally I get mad because the pizza sticks to the peel and then my toppings are a mess when it finally hits the stone.

  5. I just made this for lunch. The best thin, crispy pizza dough I’ve made so far! Very easy and I think any toppings would work well with the crispy base. I used homemade pesto and leftover roast duck. Odd combo, but tasted great with the wonderful pizza base!

  6. Made this crust in my stand mixer, and added in Italian herbs and garlic powder to the crust. Baked on the stone, and it was like time traveling back to Rome, with the cobblestones, the street vendors, the peroni’s…thanks for this! The Mr. and I loved it. So glad there’s more crust in the freezer!

  7. Thanks for the recipe, I too am longing to recreate that super thin base. I have a pizza oven in the garden which I am going to cook it on but don’t have a pizza stone so am going to use my 100 year old cast iron bake stone – fingers crossed!

  8. I found your blog after returning from Rome and wanting to reproduce that Forno pizza. I watched those think fingers spreading and thinning that dough for an hour. Thanks so much for putting this dough recipe up and giving me such a head start. I plan to try it tonight.
    At a small place near the Pantheon I had a slice that included an egg. The combination was procuitto, artichoke, green olives and mushroom. Small amounts of each ingredient. The egg seemed poached, but I assme it was just cracked raw onto the pizza. It was incredible.

  9. […] with ramps, asparagus, salad turnips, Swiss chard & parmesan cheese Sun. dinner: homemade pizza party with friends (+ no-bake layer bars) Mon. lunch: peanut butter sandwich & banana Mon. […]

  10. Thank you so much for posting this! We fell in love with the pizza in Rome and it frustrates me that I have never found this style pizza available in the US! I am excited to try the recipes. Does anyone have a recipe for the sliced potato version?

  11. OMG, we lived in Rome for two years between the best two places to get pizza bianca: Forno Campo de Fiori and Roscioli’s so I became totally addicted. I’ve been feeling deprived since returning to the US, there is nothing like it here. This recipe is an amazingly close reproduction. Made several last night for a party and the italians were amazed. Thanks, the parchment trick nails it for the home cook!

    • Your compliments, especially coming from someone who lived in Rome for two years, are really appreciated! I always make this crust now, nothing satisfies our pizza cravings better.

    • Happy you liked the pizza! Isn’t it a great way to make memories from that trip to Rome last for a longer while? Forno was my best discovery in Rome, so simple, so inexpensive, but so, so good!

  12. Thank you for these wonderful posts including the Madeleine info. Delightful. We are trying the pizza crust today. Enjoyed the Forno there this summer on several occasions including pizza packed up for our train trip out of Rome. Two of us liked the zuccini pizza best, the other two the one with the thinly sliced potato. Great memories.

  13. My husband I traveled to Italy for our honeymoon last June. We stayed 10 nights in an apartment on Campo de Fiori. I cooked this crust tonight with just mozzarella and basil. It was a great way to reminisce about our trip and eat a delicious meal.

    I made this in a kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook, kneaded for 6 minutes on the lowest setting. Worked great. Also, I did not have a pizza stone, so I preheated a pan in the oven for 15 minutes, then put a little bit of olive oil on the pan before transferring the dough. I then put the broiler on about a minute before pulling out the pizza. It only took 7 minutes to cook each pizza this way. Next time I make this, I plan to crack and egg on the pizza. We had never heard of putting egg on pizza before we visited Rome, but now we have decided it’s quite good.

    Very good! Thank you. This one is a keeper.

    • I’m sure it was great to stay right on Campo di Fiori! I loved Trastevere, but if I had another place to choose, it would definitely be around Campo di Fiori. It is one of my favorite places in Rome! I’m happy that you liked the dough (I never make any other dough now!), and thanks for the tips to cook the pizza without a stone.

      I’ve seen pizzas topped with an egg quite a few times now but never tasted it. I think trying it at home would be a fab idea! What other toppings do you use to go along with the egg?

      • I’m on a veggie kick right now so the pizza was very simple with tomatoes, basil, and I added some spinach, however I have added ham before which is a nice combo with the egg.

  14. Frustrated by the time it takes to heat the oven, I have now become a pizza baker using my gas grill. My stones heat in about 15 – 20 minutes. Much less energy used, as well.

  15. Hello!
    today I was for a task at “Campo de Fiori” (I live in Rome) …and, as usual when I go there, I had a piece of pizza bianca. :)
    Back to home I wanted to explain it to my american friends and, looking for pics in the web I found your blog.
    I want to say to you, you explained it in the best way possible! :)

  16. hi there! just came across your site. i have actually eaten pizza there, in italy!! it was my FAVORITE SPOT, as our hotel was just around the corner. i am going to give this a try for SURE!!

  17. After freezing the dough in freezer, how long do you have to let it sit out before it is usable? Does freezing affect the ultimate taste/texture of the pizza crust? Thanks!

    • Dough defrosts quite quickly, it should be ready to roll after 25-30 minutes on the countertop or a couple of hours in the fridge. Because there’s just two of us at home, I always freeze half of the dough I make and I find it just as good once defrosted as it was when made fresh, especially because it’s a thin crust. Give it a try and tell me what you think!

    • You got me curious and I read Goop’s oven method – it’s not that different, except they recommend broiling the pizza after the first 3 minutes of baking. I’ve never found this necessary because the preheating makes the stone and the oven so hot, but I’m sure the results are amazing just the same. I’m really happy you loved the crust as much as I did, it’s definitely a keeper!

  18. I’m so glad I saw this on Foodgawker! I was living in Rome last summer and have been missing every thing about Italy ever since, especially the pizza! Looking forward to making this!

  19. hey, im a big fan of pizza bianca which i shamelessly eat for breakfast and lunch most days. forno is one of my regular spots. one of the tricks to achieving the proper texture is to work the dough by hand. pizza bianca is never rolled. that squishes all those great bubbles that develop in the dough!!!

    • You’re right Katie, the dough is traditionally worked by hand! But since I’m not a professional pizza maker, I can never make my crusts as thin as I like them if I don’t roll out the dough. Because the dough rests for 15 minutes after it’s been rolled, it rises slightly again and as you can see from my pictures, it still bubbles very nicely and has an awesome texture when it comes out of the oven! It’s kind of a shortcut of mine, but your comment makes me want to practice hand-stretching though!

  20. The parchment paper idea is fantastic. I used to get cornmeal all over my kitchen floor transferring the pizza to the stone and then again when it was done. Can’t wait to try the parchment paper!

    • It’s especially useful when you like your crust extra-thin! I was never able to slide thin pizzas off on my stone, often making a huge and frustrating mess in the process (upside down pizza anyone?). I found that a layer of parchment paper doesn’t hinder the heat conduction and still makes a perfect crust, so I never do without anymore!

  21. Looks great! Excited to try this. I noticed the recipe for the crust stipulates 7 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, but I think you only use a total of 2 1/2. Or am I reading that incorrectly?

  22. My mouth is watering and my thoughts are all tangled up with Roman street food. Thanks for this post – the details and authentic references are perfect! Cheers

  23. Thank you so much for this post! My boyfriend and I were recently and Rome and fell in love with Forno! The pizza was so utterly delicious (as was their bread, vegetables, pastries, etc.). I loved watching the Romans eat there – we saw one man order a simple pasta with clams and a bottle of prosecco – and consume all of it for lunch!
    This post brings back such pleasant memories of my trip – and I can’t wait to make this pizza at home. Grazie mille!

    • So happy my post transported you back to Rome! Casual food all around the city was my favorite – in fact, it was so good that we didn’t even think of going to fancy restaurants! It’s a magical city that is impossible to forget.

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