Posts Tagged ‘Astor Wines’

Here is a non-comprehensive, un-exhaustive list of mostly-useful stuff for making pizza. I will take it from the top:

10. Vino!!!! It helps you think you’re making the BEST PIZZA EVER! Plus, with all our help from Astor Wines, you’ve got plenty of good matches to pick from.

9. The Scizza! Pizza scissors. I don’t own a pair, but I want to. I think they’re pretty cool.

8. FRESH Mozzarella cheese. We like to stress fresh ingredients. It truly helps.

7. A food processor/mixer. I love my Cuisinart one.

6. San Marzano crushed tomatoes: tastes so good, you don’t even have to add anything to them. Except love. That always helps.

5. FRESH basil. Is there an echo in here?

4. Truffle Oil (or salt): We all know I can’t get enough. Keste’s Del Re Pizza was my first experience and I’ve been in love ever since.

3. 00 Bread Flour: super fine and fancy stuff.

2. Semolina flour: to put on your pizza peel and make it easy to ease your uncooked dough onto the pizza stone.

1. Pizza Stone and Peel: these have to go together.

And, in case of emergency (put on these) and dial your local pizzeria (thanks to Kelvin Slush for suggesting the telephone as a top pizza tool).


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Today I wanted to present to you a combo – something that is both simple AND pizza. I also wanted to depart a bit from the dinner time pizza and give to you – Lo and BEHOLD! – a dessert pizza!

WHaaaaaat? Pizza for dessert? What madness is this? It’s not madness, it’s good sense people. Even though it’s coming from me.

This is a great pizza to make for a simple dessert or even as a little appetizer for a brunch.

What You Need:

Pizza dough (made or bought)

Honey (you can use a flavored honey if you want – go nuts!)

Ground cinnamon (a healthy sprinkle)

Ground cloves (a smaller sprinkle)

What To Do:

Preheat your oven with pizza stone to 500 degrees for at least a half an hour.

While your oven is heating up, roll out your dough and place it on your pizza peel (that has been sprinkled with semolina flour or cornmeal for easy in-and-out-of-oven transfers). Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Sprinkle with cloves.

Put it in the oven.

NOTE: This is going to smell incredible. Like cinnamon heaven. Resist the urge to open the oven door and put the piping hot pizza in your mouth. Whole. Because you will want to.

Remove pizza after about 10 minutes, or when the crusts are golden-brown and the topping is bubbling. Let it rest for a minute or two before you dive in: hot honey is HOTTTTT. Like really hot. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Prepare for amazingness.

But WAIT! To make it even more wonderful, drink this wine with it (thanks to our friends at Astor Wines for the recommendation):

It’s Sparkling Blanc “Ze Bulle”, Zéro Pointé – 2009, and if this appeals to you (I don’t see why it wouldn’t) you can find it here.

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It’s Pizza Friday once again! I’m sure many of you were leery about those sprouts on Monday. Admit it, you were. WELL, my faithful readers, put those doubts aside, because this pizza is fan-freakin’-tastic. It’s got the crispy, vegetable French fries (sprouts), the ever-glorious pancetta, and parmesan cheese.

As an added bonus, our friends at Astor Wines have provided wine recommendations to pair with this pizza. So, on our way we go:

First, a note: pancetta is salty. And you have already salted your sprouts when you roasted them, so I would advise in this one case NOT to salt your pizza before popping it in the oven. Unless you like a little sodium overload.

What You Need:

Pizza dough made or bought

Roasted sprouts (recipe here)

1/4 lb thickly sliced pancetta

Olive oil

Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese

What To Do:

Fire up that oven (complete with pizza stone if you are using one) to 500 degrees.

Roll or stretch out your pizza dough to a circular-ish shape. Drizzle the dough with olive oil. Set aside.

Heat a teeny amount (1 tbsp) of olive oil in a pan on the stove top. Place your slices of pancetta in there and let them brown on both sides. Not too brown, don’t fry them to a burnt crisp like bacon or anything. They should still be juicy and just starting to brown. Like toast. Meat toast. Got it?

Place your meat toast (pancetta) on the pizza dough, spacing them evenly on the dough. Arrange your sprouts nicely on top of the pancetta. Then take a knife (or if you have one of those fancy cheese cutters that makes nice curls, use that thingy) and slice some very thin strips of Parmesan. Place those on there as well.

Pop that bad boy in the oven for about 10 minutes or there-abouts. When it’s toasted to your liking (the edges of the dough should be browning, topping should be a-bubbling), remove it from the oven and grate a little extra Parmesan cheese on top.

Serve! With these:

1. Pettirosso, Punta Crena NV (22940): A lovely sparking rose from Liguria that delicious on its own, but would pair nicely. It’s has the slightest hint of sweetness (slight is even being generous) that will contrast the salty pancetta and parm and it ends with a touch of bitter cherry pit that mimics the bitter end of the Brussels. It also has a touch of tannins on the end that the pizza will soften.

2. Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Fattoria il Palagio 2008 (21685): This is a rich white wine that blends earthy and lemon-y flavors that are complex yet totally approachable. By roasting the Brussels this brings out an earthier flavor, this wine will play with those flavors. The wines acidity will cut through the “fatty” pancetta and Parm.

I think that Rosé is calling my name. Can you hear it? Elaaaaaaaaaanaaaaaaaa…..Or is that just the wind?

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I don’t know what I’m going to do when Pizza Month is over. Luckily for me (and you) we are only about half way through, because we’ve got some good ones for you. Including today’s feature: Roasted Pumpkin Pizza with Fried Sage and Toasted Pecans. And as a special treat – at the end of the post Astor Wines has again treated us with some wine pairings. So don’t forget to check those out.

So, by now I am assuming that you have roasted your wee lil’ pumpkin just like I told you to on Monday. If not, get to work, post-haste, because you are going to need those little golden nuggets of roasted pumpkin-ness right now. And go:

What you need:

Roasted pumpkin slices (use your judgment on how many)

A handful of whole pecans (more if you snack on them while you cook, like I do)

A small bunch of sage

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp butter

Pinch of nutmeg

1/8 cup grated Parmeggiano Reggiano

salt and pepper

What To Do:

Heat up your oven (with pizza stone if you’ve got one) to 500 degrees. Prepare your dough. Maybe by now you’ve tried your hand at making some? At this point it should be ready to go, so get it ready by rolling it out and placing it on your pizza peel (sprinkled with semolina flour or cornmeal so your dough doesn’t stick) and set it aside.

In either a grill pan or a frying pan, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter. Then place your slices of roasted pumpkin in the pan to toast them. Give them a sprinkling of salt while they are in there.

Once you’ve got those pumpkin pieces nice ‘n’ toasty, set them aside in a bowl.

Now, get excited everyone, because we are going to make an Alfredo sauce – or a variation on it – for the pizza. Get out a frying pan (or wash and reuse the one in which you toasted your pumpkin). Melt the other 1 Tbsp of butter in there. Pour in the 1/3 cup of heavy cream. Add some salt, pepper and the dash of nutmeg and stir. You will want the cream mixture to start bubbling a bit. Keep stiring. You need it to thicken (so it doesn’t run right off the pizza and make a big ol’ mess, setting off all the smoke detectors in your kitchen….not that that’s ever happened to me or anything. I’m just warning you). As it thickens, you will notice that it will start to coat the back of your wooden spoon (or whatever stirring implement you happen to be using – I find a small squeegee works in a pinch*). Once you have the sauce at a nice thickness, remove from the heat and stir in your grated parm. Oh so creamy!

Ok, before we get too excited, let’s put all the pieces together.

Using a spoon, smooth that Alfredo sauce on your uncooked, rolled-out, fantastic-looking pizza dough. Then, place your roasted, toasted pumpkin slices on top of that, in a nice arrangement. Then, place some pecans on top of that.

How’s it going? Good? Good. Now, shimmy that thing into the oven and onto your pizza stone (which by now should be nice and hot) via your semolina-coated pizza peel.

Now, we are gonna need that frying pan a THIRD time. I know, it’s nuts. But it’s worth it. Heat a little olive oil in the pan. How much? 1 Tbsp? Just a bit. Take about 5-6 leaves from your bunch of sage, and once your oil is nice and hot, throw those little leaves in the pan. They should start to fry and get crispy. Once that happens you can take them out of the frying pan. And put them in the fire. NO! Put them aside (on a dish or paper towel).

Now I know you’ve been keeping an eye on your pizza that’s in the oven during this time. Please don’t forget about that. Take a peek at it and see how things are moving along in there. Is the sauce bubbling? Are the outer crusts turning golden brown? If so, you have my permission to remove the pizza (carefully) from the oven using your trusty peel. Once your masterpiece is out, place it on a serving dish and garnish with the fried sage leaves.

You’re gonna like it.

When we made this, we added a salad of spinach, purple figs and cucumbers with a honey dressing. Like this one:

Now, the obvious question remains. WHAT are you going to drink with this? To answer this question, I turned to the experts at Astor Wines in NYC. These guys are just so helpful. They seemed intrigued by this combination in a pizza and have offered 4 different wines. Below, I give you their recs with tasting notes.

1. Bourgogne Rouge “Le Chapitre”, René Bouvier 2006 (20558) – A pinot noir with nice red fruit, here you get rustic raspberries, again will work well with the pumpkin. This wine also shows a bit of herbaceous notes and is slightly earthy on the end making it a no brainer with the sage and pecans.

2. Lagrein, Muri Gries 2008 (45679) – Pizza/Italy/Italian wine – a natural choice for the type of dish but also will go beautifully with the ingredients. Like the pinot noir, it will offer some lush fruit, but as a relative to Syrah, it also offers some spice and herb qualities that can bring all the flavors together in a unique and delicious way.

3. Moscato Giallo “Vigna Giere”, Vivallis 2008 (20466) – This Italian white has a touch of sweetness on the palate that will actually play off the natural sweetness of the pumpkin, making this dish a touch more savory as a whole. The slightly floral aromatics will blend nicely with the sage. Watch to not over-chill the wine or you’ll miss out on the subtle orange aromatics.

4. Stuhlmuller Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2008 (22188) – Chardonnay that has a touch of oak influence will blend the creamy aspects, the pumpkin and cream. The food and the wine together will create a nice round feeling in your mouth and with hints stone fruit in this white the fruit will bring out the pumpkin flavor.

* We would like to note that a squeegee actually makes a terrible Alfredo sauce stirring device. We just really like the word “squeegee”. Squeeeeeeeegeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee… ok, sorry.

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Remember on Monday when we made caramelized onions? Your apartment/kitchen/house might be starting to lose the onion smell by now. DON’T PANIC!! You saved those onions, right? Ok, good. Now, we are going to put them on a pizza. With some gruyere cheese.

A few words about this pizza before we begin.

I LOVE it. Ridiculously. I look for excuses to make it. And I force it on others too. It’s very endearing, I’m told. I was first inspired to make this pizza when I had the caramelized onion and gruyere grilled cheese sandwich at the West Village watering hole, Wilfie & Nell. They are quite well known for this particular grilled cheese, and I think they do a bang-up job on it. I loved it. And it seems to me that anything that is good in grilled cheese form is also good in pizza form.

One of the wonderful things about this pizza is that the onions (already caramelized – you held back on the stirring them like a maniac, right?) get nice and crispy as they are baking in the oven on the pizza. Very much like thin cut onion rings. So when the whole thing is done, you get this amazing combination of gooey and salty (cheese) and sweet and crispy (onions). Pile that onto a nicely toasted pizza dough and I don’t know what else you could ask for. Maybe some wine (see the end of the post for Astor Wine’s recommendations).

John had this to say about it: I absolutely love this pizza. The sweet, nutty Gruyere, which is also a great melting cheese, maintains its flavor well even when scorched. It really kicks some tag team ass with the sliced, stringy and cooked onions.  It’s a powerful, yet not overwhelming combo. It also just looks and sounds like a million bucks, which has to add some value if you’re looking to impress somebody.

What you will need (to impress people):

Pizza dough (made or bought)

Gruyere cheese (I like a nice aged one, like THIS ONE from Murray’s Cheese – thanks for the rec, Murray’s!)

Caramelized onions (already made – recipe here)

Olive oil

Sea salt (or if you are feeling adventurous black truffle salt)

What to do:

Heat up your oven (with pizza stone or cookie sheet) to 500 degrees for about a half hour before you drop the hotness in there. While things are heatin’ up, roll out your pizza dough on a peel (utilizing a little cornmeal or semolina flour underneath so your dough doesn’t stick to the peel). Drizzle some olive oil on top of your rolled out dough. Throw on some Gruyere cheese (not too much!) and then top with your caramelized onions. Sprinkle with salt.

Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes. This is a loose time estimate, though, so keep an eye on it. It will be done with the cheese is bubbling, the onions get really toasty and the edges of your pizza crust are toasting a nice amber color.

Take it out and let it chill for a minute or two (if you can) before you slice and eat!

What to Drink:

On a whim, I tweeted Astor Wines and asked them what you should all drink with this fabulous pizza. They have helpfully offered us three fantastic recommendations, and here they are:

1. Côtes du Jura Blanc, Jean Bourdy – 2005

2. Gewürztraminer, Elena Walch – 2008

3. P’tit Rouquin ” Les Vins Contés” VdT, O. Lemasson – 2009

I went with the Geurztraminer, both because it’s named after me, and it’s from Italy. Which means pizza, right?. Perfect recommendations!

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