Tuesday, April 6, 2010
That's it, I'm done with ordering Pizza out...okay, well, I guess not because there is nothing like that salty yet savory lazy day New York Pizza after a long day of traveling. Or a long day of work paired with a nice glass of wine or beer.
But C'mon, America has Bastardized good pizza just like they have fucked up "Italian" or "Mexican". If you live in small town America you know what I"m talking about. "Real Italian" and "Mexican" in Middle America is just smothered with cheese and sauce. Thank you to the "TGI McFunsters" and "SchnappleBEAS" all over the planet advertising cheap eats, drowned with frosty mugs of domestic beer...ahhh, I abhor you, this is why we are so goddamned fat!
Excuse my digression, but this is why we cook. Why pay for overpriced meals that constantly fall short (Exceptions are of course excellent chefs)? Aha...yes, further digression would be nonconstructive...to the Pizza
First admission, we cheated, we have the recipe for dough...but we haven't yet made it fresh. Instead we snitch our dough from the local Italian Delicatessen, Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Pizza Shop, or Grocery Store. Now heaven forbid you get those Boboli pre-made pre-baked crusts...yechh! You have to get the ball of dough, frozen or fresh...it works, and it works well.
The type of Pizza we generally make is in emulation of the Classic Neopolitan originated in Naples.
You need a few other things to make your life easier:
1) Pizza Stone...they are pretty ubiquitous now, google it, or go to a kitchen store, it's essential for getting that nice crusty part to your pizza
2) Pizza Paddle: Another easy find...get it, make your pizza on it, but make sure to cover it with a generous amount of flour thus helping the dough not stick. Transfer to hot pizza stone in oven, cook till golden brown, spatula it back to pizza paddle (Meg and I first started with pan spatulas and cookie sheets and had a hell of a hard time, the right tools are essential).
3) Warm your oven to 500 degrees. Theory is, you're simulating those brick ovens from Italy...hot hot hot gets the dough to a crispy outer texture while keeping the inside insulated to that chewy almost half underdone mouth feel...melding with the ingredients.
4) Dough...and you don't have to try to spin it on your fists to a perfect disc. Just try and make it as circular as possible. Honestly, look at the pictures in Italy, the pizza turns out how it turns out...quite simply, it's bread with stuff on top, make it taste good to your liking.
5) Simple Simple Simple: We don't need all that horseshit "Meatlover Onionlover, Mushroom, Extra Ranch Dressing Topped Pizza" Start with some Crushed Red Tomatoes (Preferably from San Marzano...the best sauce tomatoes around, and they are easy to find, just something you don't know to look for), fresh Mozzarella (It comes in a ball, slice the ball and top on the pizza, dont' use the shredded kind), and Fresh Basil...done, that's it.
If you're feeling fancy, add some Meatballs. Find your favorite Meatball recipe. We do simple and fresh. The meatballs you're seeing on our Pizza were from "Molto Mario" Here's a simple recipe from a tried and true source as well:
6) Wine: If you imbibe, grab something to pair. Now pairing isn't that hard. If you feel something is easy drinking and you like it, grab a glass of it and accessorize with Pizza. We consider ourselves simple wine snobs. That means, If we like it we drink it.
7) Don't forget: For this type Pizza (The Margherita), when it comes out of the oven, sprinkle fresh Basil on top, Parmigiano Reggiano, and good Olive Oil. Most Importantly, do NOT forget a healthy dosing of freshly ground Sea Salt or Kosher Salt with freshly ground Black Pepper (We prefer Baleine Sea Salt and Tellicherry Black Peppercorns...these are easy to find).
Let it rest for a few minutes, cut to your desired slice, and enjoy.
Last night we enjoyed this with a great and overlooked movie called, "Bottle Shock", an entertaining history of how the Napa Valley came to the forefront of wine (overtaking the French in a blind tasting) in 1976. Cute movie, simple story, a little bit of drama. Grab a nice bottle of wine and thank your heavens you aren't killing your body with the preservative laden Middle American Bastardized Diet of "Real Italian Food".