If you’ve landed here, you’ve most likely seen the Netflix show, Chef’s Table: Pizza. Chris Bianco was featured in Episode 1. He’s originally from New York City, and grew up working in pizza shops. His first job as a teenager after school was to fold pizza boxes for hours.
He eventually moved to Phoenix and in 1987 opened Pizzeria Bianco, which turns out critically acclaimed pizzas to this day. They now have four locations between Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Chris’ Marinara Pizza is different, quirky and can be controversial for some of the picky stick-to-the-rules pizzaophiles. Let’s start with that last one. When I posted this on the socials it was criticized because marinara sauce is a cooked sauce, and Chris uses raw peeled, crushed tomatoes.
I say, “Eh! So what!?!” Fun-killing haters get no pizza from me.
It was also suggested that I put the basil on after it cooks. This IS exactly what I do most of the time as I think it looks way better, and the fresh basil is a nice contrast. However, for this pizza Chris put the basil on before the bake. He also just puts three leaves placed near the middle. I did say “quirky”, didn’t I? Not everyone is getting basil on their slice.
In my post on Ann Kim’s Korean BBQ Pizza, I talked about how menu descriptions don’t tell the whole story. The menu description for this pizza doesn’t list the basil.
He salts the pizza after the bake with Maldon Salt. I had finishing salt flakes from the Xwejni Salt Pans of Malta, so I used that.
Chris’ pizza uses a Neapolitan dough and is made in a wood-fired commercial pizza oven. I use a NY-style dough recipe, and bake it in a regular home oven. Trust me. It comes out great. I do it all by hand, just like Chris.
As I said, I baked this in a conventional home oven. I have a pizza stone on the bottom rack, and a pizza steel on the top rack. The oven gets preheated to 525º F, and then holds for one hour before baking the pizza. (If your oven will go to 550º, do that, and if you have convection, do that too.)
I went for 7 minutes on the stone on the bottom, and then switched to high broil, and moved the pizza to the steel on the top rack for 1.5 minutes. (Keep an eye on it though. It may need more or less time on broil.)
If you only have a stone, just keep it on the bottom rack the whole time. If you only have a steel, keep it on the top rack, and just switch to broil at the end.
The prep time does not include making and fermenting the dough, which is linked in a separate recipe. You can substitute a store-bought dough if you want, but making your own and fermenting it isn’t hard, and yields phenomenal results.
Chris Bianco's Marinara Pizza
- 1 Pizza Peel (Wooden)
- 1 Pizza Stone or Pizza Steel
- 14 oz Pizza Dough for 14" pie (See dough recipe link in instructions below.) 12 oz for 12" pie) (See dough recipe link in instructions below.)
- 6 oz peeled crushed tomatoes
- dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic sliced super thin
- 3 leaves fresh basil
- olive oil extra virgin
- sea salt Flakes for finishing. Chris uses Maldon. I used Xwejni from Malta.
Preheat Conventional Home Oven
- I baked this in a conventional home oven. I have a pizza stone on the bottom rack, and a pizza steel on the top rack. The oven gets preheated to 525º F, and then holds for one hour before baking the pizza. (If your oven will go to 550º, do that.)
Pizza Dough Base
- See my Pizza Dough Recipe: https://pizzaismylife.com/pizza-dough-recipes/easy-ny-style-pizza-dough-recipe/
- See my How-To on Shaping the Dough: https://pizzaismylife.com/pizza-dough-recipes/how-to-form-the-pizza-round/
Topping the Pizza (Pre-bake)
- Put the crushed tomatoes into a small bowl and crush them some more with your hands.
- Distribute the tomato sauce over pizza dough.
- Sprinkle dried oregano evenly around the pizza.
- Place the thinly sliced garlic starting in the center of the pizza with the center more densely populated. Work your way outward with less garlic as you go.
- Place the three fresh basil leaves near the center.
- Drizzle extra virgin olive oil all around the pizza.
Baking the Pizza
- Bake at 525° F 8-9 minutes for 14", or 7-8 minutes for a 12" pizza.
Topping the Pizza (Post-bake)
- Sprinkle your salt flakes of choice evenly over the pizza.
- Slice and serve.