Spicy Thai chilis, homemade herbed tomato sauce, spiced salami, thin pizza crust, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Have I caught your attention?
This pizza is certainly not for the faint of heart. It is a flavor punch to the face with knock your socks off spice, which pretty much sums up my ideal meal. Anyone else with me on that?
My favorite Italian restaurant in Toronto, hands down is La Vecchia. This uptown gem is incredibly authentic (or so I’m told by my Italian friends) and literally never disappoints. My go to dish is their diavola pizza with their homemade chili oil and hence the inspiration for my own homemade diavola pizza. Ohhhhhhhhh em gee does this pizza ever hit the spot every single time. I don’t know why I waited so long to recreate it at home! It packs quite a bit of heat but of course, I had to take it to the next level using Thai red chilis. Everything is better with spice though, no?
What’s so crazy about this dish is how simple it is, with fairly limited ingredients yet the flavor is anything but that. It’s got all the traditional inclusions you’d expect in a pizza. Mozzarella cheese? Yep. Homemade tomato sauce? Yep. Salami? Got it. Then unexpectedly – BAM, spicy salami. BAM, red chilis. BAM, fresh chopped basil. And just like that, this pizza is basic no mo’!
Has all my talk about spice scared you yet? I think I’ve scared myself at this point. In all honesty though, if you like a bit of a kick but can’t quite handle the intense heat, just take it down a notch. Thai chilis are quite spicy so I would substitute them for crushed red pepper flakes which come from cayenne peppers. A lower heat pizza still earns diavola status, don’t worry.
I’m a bit of an overly zealous hostess in that I am constantly looking for new menu items to serve my guests. Do you have this obsession too? Well, one of my favorite things about pizzas and flatbreads is that they are perfect for entertaining. Just chop the thin crust into smaller slices or squares for an easy, grab and go appetizer. Or, make it your main squeeze with a side salad. It’s so simple and pleases any crowd. Make it a theme by serving this diavola pizza and as a vegetarian option, my Fig and Caramelized Onion Flatbread with Balsamic Reduction.
Also, PS. If you’re intimidated by making your own crust, don’t be! No need for a pizza stone (yes, it would help the texture but is not a necessity). I make this crust in minimal time and don’t own a pizza stone. YOU’VE GOT THIS.
Happy cooking y’all!
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- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup water
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. cornmeal (optional)
- Spicy Salami, sliced (desired amount)
- 2 Thai chilies, chopped
- 1 package mozzarella, sliced
- 2 tbsp. goat cheese
- 5 large, fresh basil leaves, chopped julienne
- 1 tsp. dry oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 roma tomato, chopped
- 1 tsp. dry oregano
- 1 tsp. dry basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and mix with a spoon. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes until it is slightly frothy.
- Combine the flour and salt with the water mixture in a bowl. Add the yeast and oil and mix until incorporated.
- On a floured surface, kneed the dough for a few minutes. Form dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warmer area for about 2 hours while dough rises to twice the size.
- While dough is rising, in a small pot add olive oil and garlic to medium-low heat. Cook until garlic is fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, spices and herbs and allow to simmer, partially covered for 10 minutes.
- When the dough has risen fully, remove it from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it forms a very thin, 12 inch round surface. (roll the dough starting in the middle and working your way towards the edges)
- Carefully transfer the dough to parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet for baking. (Optional - Sprinkle the parchment paper with cornmeal first)
- Spread desired amount of sauce onto the pizza crust. Crumble the goat cheese and scatter on the crust.. Layer the mozzarella and then salami on top. Sprinkle with oregano and thai chilies.
- At 400F, cook flatbread in the oven for about 12 minutes or until your desired level of crunch. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool a bit. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.