More on Pizza


Celeste’s pizza inspired me to get some prosciutto and stuff at the store, the night before I headed for the airport.

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I often use a pizza stone as a sort of tray; it works pretty well. I don’t bother with the whole process of preheating the stone and all that.

I dust the stone with a half-handful of rough ground corn-meal. As I was making this, I noticed the brand name of the corn-meal; I won’t be buying that any more. You can get coarse semolina flour on amazon, and it’s actually quite a bit better than cornmeal anyway.

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I haven’t learned how to stretch/throw the dough, yet. I’ve only been making pizza for about 40 years or so – give me time! What I do is stretch it with my fingertips then roll it with a wine bottle. Once that’s done, I usually open the bottle to see what’s inside. Usually, it’s wine! OMG!

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Contrary to what some of you appear to believe, one can make pizza without a base of red/marinara sauce. This is basil pesto! Since it has plenty of olive oil in it already, I just fingerpaint it right onto the dough.

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I do eat animals occasionally (not very often) – this is some San Daniele prosciutto. When you’re putting prosciutto on pizza part of the game is to leave little bits sticking out past the cheese, so they melt and get crispy.

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The chunks of white stuff: shredded garlic! I take a clove, bash it with the butt end of a knife and pull the paper off, then rip it up and drop it strategically around the top.

As I put the ingredients on a pizza, I use a Super Secret Squirrel technique: I imagine I am already eating it. I look at each region and ask myself whether that bite looks interesting. So I carefully push stuff around so there will be textures and different flavors as it bakes.

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Normally I use a bit of shredded romano along with the mozarella. This is the gooey plasticy kind of mozarella American grocery stores specialize in. With apologies to cheese purists, I like this stuff. It melts pretty nicely and it’s not full of water like real mozarella (I chose my words carefully there: by saying “real mozarella” as distinct from this stuff, I acknowledge that it’s pretty close to Cheese Food Product(tm))

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When I start to smell it cooking, I open the oven, rotate the pizza stone, and check its progress. I like my pizza a bit brown. I’m a huge fan of wood-fired oven pizza but I have a partially finished pizza oven that I never finished because I was afraid I would die of over-indulgence.

Pictured with the two bottles of strongbow it took to choke half of this down.

Comments

  1. ivo says

    Very nice! But I have to warn you: if you do this in Italy they would probably excommunicate you for putting the San Daniele in the oven (rather than putting it on the pizza once it’s finished cooking)

  2. Holms says

    Normally I use a bit of shredded romano along with the mozarella. This is the gooey plasticy kind of mozarella American grocery stores specialize in. With apologies to cheese purists, I like this stuff.

    Why even apologise? If someone calls themself a _______ purist, I generally assume they are a giant snob on that subject and they can fuck off with their snobbery.

  3. says

    Holms@#4:
    You’re right – you just cut right to the heart of aesthetic decisions right there: we like what we like. If I like rubbery cheese then that’s nobody’s business but mine!

    Edit: by the same token: toasting the prosciutto makes that wonderful succulent fat render out and merge with the pesto and garlic in most heavenly ways. I’m sure that putting it on while it’ cold would be pretty good too but toasted is how I roll!

  4. says

    Caine@#3:
    Thank you for that!! Art like that makes me happy!

    No matter how dark the world gets, there’s still food. True story: I once saved a suicidal friend by reminding her that they were considering never having pizza ever again, and that even if life was worthless why not spend a few more years having pizza and beer? I wouldn’t have made it through high school if not for dunkin donuts. They’re not the best donuts in the world but whatever gets you through the day.

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