History Stories


Pizzas Past and Present (Video)

Host Ian Knauer serves up pizza history, from ancient flatbreads to today’s pies.

In this exclusive Hungry History video, host Ian Knauer serves up pizza history, from the flatbreads of ancient Pompeii to today’s pies. He also takes us through the steps of making a classic Margherita pizza at home. Follow his recipe (taken from his cookbook “The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food”) to turn your own kitchen into an authentic pizza parlor.


1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Stir together yeast and water until dissolved.

Stir the ingredients together in a large bowl until combined, then transfer the dough to a flourless work surface. Knead the dough until it becomes elastic and pulls off the work surface.

Oil the bowl, then shape the dough into a ball and place it back in the bowl, turning to coat.

Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour in a warm room.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to grease pan
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 8-ounce ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, drained
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
Cornmeal for dusting

Preheat pizza stone in oven to 450 degrees.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the minced garlic, thyme and oregano. Cook until just fragrant, then add the crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes to reduce and concentrate the flavor. Shut off the heat and set aside.

Stretch pizza dough into a 15-inch round by tossing and stretching. Lay on cornmeal-dusted pizza peel. Smear with tomato sauce, then tear up the mozzarella and scatter it evenly over the top of the pie. Give it a final season with salt and pepper to taste, then bake in the hot oven until golden and bubbly, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove from oven, tear basil and sprinkle over pizza. Cut into slices and serve.

About the Host: After spending close to a decade in the test kitchens of Gourmet Magazine, where he developed recipes and co-hosted “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” and “Adventures with Ruth,” Ian poured his love of food back into his family’s Pennsylvania farm. There, he grows his own vegetables and cooks everything from scratch. He recently released his first cookbook, “The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food.” He also writes for several publications and contributes to Cooking Channel’s “Unique Eats.”

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