The drive to Sorrento from Naples is unbelievably breathtaking along cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples and you will get a chance to take fantastic pictures of Mt. Vesuvius. We were in Sorrento for just a day and found pizza making for the whole family at Ristorante Tasso. The restaurant is very open with inside or patio seating. While eating, sipping wine or waiting for your pizza to cook, you can watch the people walking about the town.
The pizza making started out with an Italian waiter demonstrating how to make pizza and describing the meaning behind the Margarita Pizza (colors of the Italian flag). The table was set up with a pan, dough, sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. The kids loved making their own pizzas and then handing them off to a wood burning oven. Tasso also makes their own wines and with our tour came an array of white wine selections throughout our lunch.
Mario Batali’s Authentic Margherita Pizza
1/2 recipe pizza dough, recipe follows
Unbleached all-purpose flour for rolling the dough and coating the peel
2 cups Quick Marinara Sauce, recipe follows
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 basil leaves, washed
Punch down the dough, divide in 1/2 and loosely form 2 balls. Place 1 ball in a well-greased plastic storage bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Place the other on a floured surface, cover with a large inverted bowl, and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Place a large baking stone on the oven’s lowest rack and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Generously dust a wooden peel with flour and place dough on the peel. Make a disk shape by pressing dough with the heel of your hands, rotating the dough between presses. Continue to press and stretch dough into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Spread the sauce on the pizza in a thin, even layer, making sure to leave a 1/4-inch border around the edges of the pizza. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the mozzarella.
Slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the bottom of the crust begins to brown.
Remove from the oven, tear the basil leaves and scatter over the pizza. Slice with a pizza wheel and serve immediately.
1 cup tepid water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Stir the water, oil, sugar, and salt in a liquid measuring cup until the sugar dissolves. Whisk the flour and yeast in a large bowl, make a well in the center and add the liquid mixture. With a wooden spoon or your hand, gradually stir the flour into the liquid to make a rough dough. Pull the dough together into a ball, (if there is a bit of flour left, don’t fret).
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface dusted with flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, using more flour if necessary to keep from sticking. Divide into 4 equal portions, form into balls, and put on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops of the dough with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Yield: 1 (12-inch) pizza dough
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree (about 1 (28-ounce) can) roughly chopped
Sprig fresh thyme
Sprig fresh basil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste. Use now, store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Yield: about 3 1/2 cups
Prep Time: about 15 minutes
Cook Time: under 15 minutes
Sorrento is a very quaint town with a bunch of small shops, hotels and places to eat. Many of the buildings are painted yellow with huge lemons everywhere. There are shops on every corner which sell Limón cello and offer samples.
As we made our way through the shops, we stumbled along a store called Gioia Company which specializes in Inlaid Wood and provides tours. We purchased inlaid wood coasters as souvenirs for around 12€ each. The store will ship items to your home address as well.
$$ saving tips: Take advantage of sampling the Limon cello. We went from shop to shop and sampled Limón chocolate, lemon candies and Limón cello. The kids ordered a frozen Limon drink which was much like a frozen lemonade. In reviewing the prices for pizza on the menu at Ristorante Tasso, it is much more cost effective to take the tour which comes with pizza, wine and dessert.
Sorrento (Neapolitan: Surriento) is a small town in Campania, southern Italy, with some 16,500 inhabitants. It is a popular tourist destination which can be reached easily from Naples and Pompeii, as it lies at the south-eastern end of the Circumvesuviana rail line. The town overlooks the Bay of Naples as the key place of the Sorrentine Peninsula, and many viewpoints allow sight of Naples itself, Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri.
The Amalfi Drive (connecting Sorrento and Amalfi) is a narrow road that threads along the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Ferry boats and hydrofoils provide services to Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capri and Ischia. Sorrento’s sea cliffs and luxury hotels have attracted notable people, including Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti.
Sorrento is famous for the production of limoncello, a digestif made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar. Other agricultural production includes citrus fruit, wine, nuts and olives. Wood craftsmanship is also developed.
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