Posts Tagged ‘pizza’

John and I have decided to just forget about “Pizza Month” which we began way back in October. The idea that we could limit our intake and subsequent discussion of pizza – a food that we are both clearly obsessed with – to just one month was downright silly and bad judgment on our parts. Our apologies. Going forward, we are going to frequently feature pizza – both the making of it and our maniacal running-around-various-cities to taste it. You can count on us.

Next up on the tasting end of things is Dozzino, a brand-spanking new (as of November 2010) artisanal pizza joint in the ‘Boken. To use some lingo I picked up in California, we were pretty stoked about the arrival of this place in Hoboken. Before, the only solid (in our humble opinions) pizza to be had in Hoboken was Grimaldi’s, of Brooklyn fame. Now we have our very own. We were all a-tingle.

“Dozzino” in Italian means “dozen.” The dozen refers to the amount of ingredients that goes into their pizzas: flour, water, salt, yeast, air, sea salt, tomatoes, fior di latte, extra virgin olive oil, basil, fire, love.

Dozzino is not your typical slice shop, nor does it purport to be. The pizzas can best be described as a combination of Neopolitan and Roman. They are personal in size with that doughy, charred crust characteristic of Neopolitan pies, but much less floppy and soupy in the center of the pie, which gives it a Roman flair. Typical of both areas, the ingredients (and this applies to the toppings as well) are fresh and simple. Pizza is not a complicated food, nor should it be. Keep it simple, stupid.

John and I strolled over to its 6th and Adams location one Saturday night to sample the fare. Upon entering, we were greeted with a well-designed and thoughtful atmosphere. The bar at the back of the front room has a chalkboard wall listing the daily specials in colored chalk. The shiny, chrome espresso maker hangs out back there as well, with a Santa Clause (it was the holidays) Mr. Potato Head keeping close watch over the espresso beans.

The natural wood, farmhouse-style tables have ample room for spreading out your various pizzas, crostini and salads, and the white-washed chairs and walls offer a nice contrast to the wood and chalkboard wall. They have a larger, back room and even a patio with a bocce court.

Since Dozzino is BYO, John skips on over to a local liquor store for a bottle of the Beringer Chenin Blanc shown in the first photo. John insists that I used to make The Box buy this for me with some frequency. I honestly don’t recall this at all (maybe because I’ve drunk too much of it?), but at $8.99, you can’t afford not to. We settle in with our sweet, grape-juice wine and order SPESTO!

“Spesto” is a Dozzino speciaty: a pesto made with spinach and walnuts, instead of the usual basil and pine nuts, and served on crostini of housemade bread. The housemade bread is excellent, and perfectly toasted. It is generously loaded with spesto, which is lucky because we really approve of this pesto modification. Chunky walnuts and mild spinach get a boost from an infusion of chopped garlic and drizzle of olive oil. We cleaned our plate.

After John sends me to the restroom (pics later!) to remove the spinach from my teeth, we receive our two ordered pies: the “La Pizza” and the “Diavola”. The La Pizza is topped with fior di latte, tomato and basil – the traditional pie and one which John and I feel obligated to sample every time we try out a new pizza place. For consistency! And science!

The La Pizza is delicately accented by little semi-molten blobs of creamy fior di latte (a mozzarella made from cow’s milk),  a fine layer of tomato as to appear almost pink, and sprigs of fresh basil. The crust has a bit of a char to it around the edges and is nicely chewy on the inside, although a bit dry. The toppings and crust work well together, making the La Pizza very easy to eat.

The Diavola is next up – a spicy combination of fior di latte, tomato, red pepper and calabrese salami. Sliced ultra-thin, the salami is like a tissue-thin blanket of fiery cured meat tucking in the other toppings on a mattress of pillowy dough. Wow, I just wandered off into a pizza-induced descriptive simile. Apologies. Clearly, this pie was my favorite of the two.

John and I decided to finish things off with two cups of Dozzino’s espresso, which is advertised (on their menu) to be the best in Hoboken and quite possibly in the USA. I do know a good cup of espresso when I have one, and this was definitely a good one. Their ultra-fancy espresso machine churned out two dark, rich cups for us that we threw back like frat boys doing shots at a bar. Minus the fist pumping and hooting.

Let’s not forget the bathrooms! While I was performing some dental-spesto removal, I snapped the following photos:

In addition to being clean and uncluttered, the Dozzino bathroom is well-lit with an ample-sized mirror. White subway tiles, accented by a stripe of red and gold (Roma’s colors) carry the modern and thoughtful interior design of the restaurant right into the bathroom. I would have appreciated some spesto-removing toothpicks, though.

We will definitely be back to Dozzino (John has already returned on his own). The well designed and spacious atmosphere and fresh ingredient pizzas combine to create a unique neighborhood restaurant that is a welcome addition to Hoboken.

Overall Experience: Napolean Dynamite – The Offbeat Success

* Note: The Specials chalk board photo and photo of the oven with espresso cup, courtesy of Dozzino.


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It’s been a big year for us. Back in August we decided to start this blog and now we are on the other side of 2010 – meaning 2011.

Here are a few things we did in 2010, followed by a list of our favorites.

I ran some races. And drank some wine directly afterward.

I went to London with my friend Kaz and had my own cheese plate at Fortnum and Mason. Then I went to Scotland and had some coffee at The Elephant House, where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. That was pretty cool for me.

I made some paella with CHORIZO for The Box for Father’s Day. Thanks, Tyler Florence!

We gave you some questionably recorded, but tasty recipes for Chicken Dip.

John rode a pink bicycle.

I became obsessed with a ginger mint slushie. Thanks, Kelvin Slush!

I got a fancy camera and started taking glamor shots of cookies (the above is from Brooklyn Larder).

Marmo and I went to Italy and ate everything we could.

We made a stop-motion animation about roasting a turkey.

We made fun of ourselves. Quite a bit. Here, here and here.

We made and ate A LOT of pizza. We even made a video about it in which John shows off his mad-crazy pizza skills.

And now our favorites from 2010. We don’t want to say “best of” because we feel that might be a bit heavy-handed. And we like to keep things light around here. Not that we have commitment issues or anything…In fact, quite the opposite. We feel that our favorites from 2010 will carry over into 2011, and maybe you’d like to try some of them in the New Year.

So, with that introduction and without further a-do, here is a non-comprehensive and non-exhaustive list of our favorite stuff. Grouped into non-sensical categories.

Favorite place to grab a drink on a Tuesday night:
Anfora Wine Bar: I’m (meaning Elana) here every Tuesday night for their “Producer Night” – a special night dedicated to one wine producer. Glasses are usually about $10-$12 for wines that aren’t normally poured by the glass. It’s a great way to learn about new wines, wine producers, and have some amazing Ricotta cheese. And lamb sliders. Joe Campanale, a partner at Anfora and sommelier is always in attendance to give you helpful information on the featured wines.

Favorite Coffee in Hoboken:
Maroon: Their French Pressed coffees are so delicious. Smooth, dark and rich, this is coffee at its most indulgent. And the flavors are amazing. I’m not usually a big flavored-coffee drinker, but I can’t help myself with these. The Macadamia flavor might be my favorite of the bunch. They also stock Brioche from Balthazar Bakery on Fridays and make their own delicious scones (love the oat variety with jam). I’ve been trying to become the mayor of Maroon on Foursquare, and as of January 1st, I finally achieved it! I’m not sure I’m cut out for politics…

Favorite Pizza in NYC (so far):

Elana: Kesté: The del Re. And when they have the Burrata (Thursdays – Sundays), I want to cry real tears of joy. Plus, that silver dome of pizza cookery is pretty wild.

John: Di Fara:  Minus the wait – this pizza joint is my favorite. The pie is a work of art, a labor of love. Watching Dom cook them up is a special thing; you know you are never going to get cheated out of an absolute masterpiece.

Favorite Place for Elana to Get Lunch When at Work:
Spoon: I’m addicted to their salads. I usually get either the Chicken Spinach or the Tuscan White Bean. And if it’s cold outside I order a large Orchid Oolong tea, grab a seat at one of the distressed farmhouse-style tables at the back and pretend I am a lady who lunches. Then I go back to work.

Favorite place to get the Largest, Ripest, Most Amazing Avocado this side of Wherever they Grow:
(which would be Brazil, California and Mexico, for example)
Sobseys Produce in Hoboken: Some of the best produce in the land. Mac and Michael hand-pick each piece.

Favorite Expensive British Cereal
Dorset Cereals: The berries and cherries flavor in the purple box is my favorite. They have a contest going right now on their home page: you can nominate a blog and the winner receives a case of cereal! A CASE! You wanna nominate us?

Favorite Meal I’ve Had This Year

Elana: Lunch of Pasta Cacio e Pepe with Fried Zucchini Blossoms at Roma Sparita in Rome.
John: Pumpkin Cappellacci with Brown Butter and Sweet Potato filling at Del Posto.

Most surprisingly good store bought pasta despite the cheesy label:

John: When home for the holidays recently, I was jonesin’ for some pasta and stumbled across a package of Giovanni Rana tortellini in my Mom’s pantry.  So I boiled some up, and made some sauce.  The pasta quality was pretty darn good!

Best ice cream condiment:

John: The homemade caramel sauce at Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  The ice cream is also of top flight caliber – smooth, creamy and rich – but the sauce was outrageous. It has a bitter, tastily burnt characteristic to it which really compliments the sweetness of the ice cream.  The espresso, as seen above, was also wonderful.

Best Bathroom I’ve hung out in:

John: Del Posto’s bathroom.  Can we give these lavatories any more hype?  Ah, who cares.

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What else did we eat at my recent holiday party? A lot more than I posted about on Monday. Actually, it’s impressive that people didn’t start rummaging through my fridge, but not because I didn’t have enough food. Here are a few more hors d’ oeuvres that made an appearance (and then subsequent disappearance) on Saturday night:

Roasted Pork Loin Crostini with Cranberry Relish
This recipe is really flavorful. The pork loin roasts up quite juicy and savory (with the herbs and salt). Topping it with cranberry relish gives it a nice sweet contrast. The added punch from the horseradish (in the cranberry sauce) brings the flavor over the top.

What You Need:

A pork tenderloin
1 semolina baguette, cut into thin slices
Sea salt with dried, chopped herbs (you can use rosemary, basil, thyme, sage…)
Olive oil – a drizzle
Stonewall Kitchen’s Cranberry Horseradish Sauce

What To Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Place the pork tenderloin in a roasting pan and sprinkle with herbs and salt. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast until done – about 45 minutes depending on the thickness of the tenderloin.

Remove from oven and let set for about 30 minutes.

Cut in thin slices and place on sliced bread. Top with Stonewall Kitchen’s cranberry horseradish sauce and serve!

On an adjacent platter were arranged the teeny-tiniest quiches. These can be made and frozen weeks in advance, which is quite handy for party planning. When I first made them for last year’s party, there was a wonderful cheesy/pastry smell coming from the oven mixing with the pine needle smell from the Christmas tree, and it all made me very happy. Bu that’s neither here nor there! When I asked my mom for the recipe to make them, I received the following via email:

Recipes seem to be collected quite randomly in Marmo’s kitchen.

Moving on! We also had the famous Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Pizza (recipe here), which disappeared in a snap. I got a little adventurous and concocted a Raisin Mostarda, which I have been obsessed with ever since I started frequenting Anfora Wine Bar and eating all their Ricotta cheese (which is served with a raisin mostarda).

Here is the recipe that I cobbled together for the Raisin Mostarda:

What You Need:
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
olive oil

What To Do:
Heat a little olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and sauté until soft – about 5 minutes. Stir in the OJ and all the ingredients up to the cumin. Bring the whole concoction to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove it from the heat, let it chill for about 10 minutes. Then stir in the marmalade, mustard and salt. Give it a taste and see if it needs anything else. Then let it hang out in the fridge to chill until you need it (covered, of course).

It’s pretty good, though it’s not like Anfora’s. Honestly, next time I think I will leave out the curry. I liked the flavor, but I think it might be better without it. I served it with Ricotta crostini drizzled with honey.

Onto dessert! What kind of sweets do you offer a bunch of festive maniacs that have had A LOT of wine? And beer. Did I mention that John just HAD to buy PBR lights? Cuz he did. An entire case of them, in fact. Still not sure why. Anyway, I got cupcakes from Sweet in Hoboken. They have some amazing flavors, and I told them to give me a mix of their mini cupcakes.

* Picture from Sweet’s website.

The cake part of these cupcakes is really moist (impressive for the mini cupcakes) and their cream cheese frosting is award-worthy. Especially on the Red Velvet cupcake. My favorite is the Marshmallow, which is a chilled ganache cupcake topped with marshmallow meringue. Out of sight.

I supplemented the cupcakes with my Russian Tea Cakes (a Iaciofano Family Christmas special – recipe here).

Finally, it seems that my holiday parties always end up with a dance party in the kitchen. People love the kitchen. I can’t get ’em out of there. So what kind of music was on the playlist? I’ll give you the top 5:

1. Katy Perry’s Firework – John would NOT STOP playing this song.

2. Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You – I couldn’t help it.

3. Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison – You should see people get down to this song. Yeah, even me.

4. Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls – Gotta love that one.

5. B.O.B’s Magic – So John and I could relive our pizza glory days.

It was all worth it, as a good time was had by all. Even if this was what greeted me in the morning:

* I wasn’t kidding about the PBR Light!

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The Pizz-Off! has been causing a commotion in our circle for quite some time now. What is a Pizz-Off! you ask? It is a pizza-making competition, a pizza Olympics if you will, where people compete (in teams or solo) for the grand prize of BEST PIZZA. We eagerly anticipate each competition with a combination of glee, fear and excessive trash talking.

Usually, we have two categories in a Pizz-Off!, the “Traditional” and the “Creative”. Traditional pies must have tomatoes (0r some kind of tomato sauce), mozzarella cheese, and one optional topping (basil doesn’t count as a topping). Creative pies can be anything, sky’s the limit, go nuts.

For our first Pizz-Off! We used the dual ovens at our parents’ house. We drank about 500 bottles of wine (for 5 people). After everyone had left, John and I watched 3:10 to Yuma, never saying a word to each other until the final 10 minutes, when I looked over at him and said, “Dude…” and his response was, “Sick, right?”

I am still not sure if we were talking about the pizza or the movie. Both were out of sight.

Our second Pizz-Off! was held at my apartment. We had 5 teams of competitors, fake moustaches,rating cards, and a leader board that looked like this:

We set off the smoke detectors repeatedly and after a while we just gave up trying to disable them, because no one seemed to care. The oven door was watched like the last few seconds of the Super Bowl, and the whole place was tricked out like a New York/New Jersey pizzeria (many thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Low for all the accessories).

This most recent Pizz-Off! was a success as well. Our friend Justin hosted at his place, and as the above slide show demonstrates, a good time was had by all. And some dang-good pizza as well. I honestly have no idea who won. I think maybe Justin, but we had amazing representation from all three competitors (Justin, myself and John). What we bring you below are the recipes for the three most-loved pies of the evening: Justin’s Kale and Sausage, Elana’s Roasted Chestnut and Pyrenees Brebis, and John’s Margherita.

First up, is Justin:

I first picked up this pizza from the master pizzaiolo and Jersey native Paulie Gee. The ideal kale pizza should have leaves that have crisped due to the high heat, with a soft pliant crust. The pie is easily adaptable. Some other possible flavor pairings would be crushed tomatoes, pancetta, or sopressata.

The Ginge (adapted from Paulie Gee’s)

What You Need (to make approximately 12 inch pie):

1 pizza round
1 link of fennel sausage, crumbled, cooked
1/4 lb. of fresh mozzarella, cut into disks or chunk
1/2 bunch of kale (lacinato preferred, but any will do), stems removed, roughly chopped, dried thoroughly
1 clove garlic, sliced very thin
1/4 tsp sea salt (more to taste)
olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper
grated pecorino romano or parmiggiano, to taste

What To Do:

1. While waiting for dough to rise, place chopped and dried kale in a sealable plastic bag. Add sea salt, garlic, and pinch of crushed red pepper. Shake to distribute evenly. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Shake. Briefly “massage” olive oil into kale, making sure all leaves are coated. Let sit at room temperature from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

2. Approximately one hour before cooking, turn oven on as hot as it will go.

3. After rising, place dough on well-floured surface. Press down into pancake form. Allow to relax for 3-4 minutes.

4. Begin to work dough into shape by pushing out edges in a circular motion. As you work dough, try to maintain a fatter lip or “cornicone” along the edge. Stretch out until it reached approximately 12″.

5. Place dough on pizza peel or the back of a cookie sheet that has been dusted liberally with flour or cornmeal.

6. Sprinkle with olive oil and spread a thin film over dough. Add mozzarella evenly. Add crumbled sausage evenly. Shake pizza on peel or cookie sheet to ensure it has not gotten stuck.

7. Shake any excess olive oil from marinated kale and nest on top of pizza. (Kale will “deflate” a bit during cooking).

8. Slide pizza onto peel and cook approximately 8-10 minutes depending on oven.

9. Remove and add grated pecorino romano or parmiggiano. Serve!

John’s Margherita

What You Need:
1 pizza dough
1 can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
Burrata mozzarella (procured from Trader Joe’s in this case)
Fresh basil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

What To Do:
Stretch out your pizza dough onto a pizza peel (that has been sprinkled with cornmeal for easy maneuvering onto the pizza stone).

Using a spoon, dollop (yeah, that’s a verb) the San Marzano tomatoes directly from the can onto the dough. Slice the Burrata mozzarella over the tomatoes (be careful because Burrata is ooey-gooey on the inside, like a cheese version of a chocolate truffle). Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with salt.

Pop that baby in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the middle is bubbling and the edges are brown and toasty.

Remove the pizza from the oven and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Elana’s Roasted Chestnut and Pyrenees Brebis Pizza

What You Need:
1 whole wheat pizza dough (substitute 1/2 the amount of flour with whole wheat flour).
Coarsely chopped roasted chestnuts
Pyrenees Brebis cheese, sliced
Fresh rosemary
Extra virgin olive oil

What To Do:
Stretch out your pizza dough on a cornmeal-sprinkled peel.

Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and rub it around the circumference of the dough.

Slice the Pyrenees Brebis cheese and arrange it on top of the dough. Sprinkle the roasted chestnuts on top of the cheese and drizzle some honey over the whole enterprise. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.

Ease it into the oven, and await a bubbly-toasty masterpiece.

Remove it from the oven and garnish with fresh, chopped Rosemary.

The above three pizzas guarantee amazingness. You should have your own Pizz-Off! and invite John and I. John even puts his dishes in the dishwasher! We can’t guarantee your smoke detectors won’t go off…but it WILL be worth it.

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Just when you thought you were done with Pizza month, we pull you back in.  Due to the plethora of Pizza joints within the area,  Elana and I have agreed to stop this soon and continue at a later date… but there is still work to be done.  This week’s review is of Luzzo’s, on 211 First Avenue in the East Village.   Since it was Elana’s birthday, we invited a whole crew of pizza enthusiasts and made a reservation way in advance.  Our crew had grown to 15 people, and I was skeptical of how they would handle our posse.

Accommodations turned out to be no problemo.  One of the waiters took our crew down a flight of stairs to their basement.  If anyone is thinking about booking a large group for some delicious pizza, ask to be downstairs in the basement.  We basically had the place to ourselves.  It even comes equipped with a stereo system in which the staff at Luzzo’s actually encourages you to supply your own music.  Unfortunately, none of us were aware of this ahead of time, so Elana’s whack-ass mix of early 90’s techno supplied the musical backdrop.  Also in the basement is a bar, stocked with wine and ice cold Peroni, the latter of which was ordered by all the male participants in half hour increments; like clockwork, one of us would twirl our index finger in the air, while our waiter would rifle off bottle caps and dispense the brewskis.  Did I mention how awesome the basement is?

After ordering a few snacks, the pizzas arrive.  Like Keste, Luzzo’s is very much a Naples pie; the mozzarella is barely melted, the crust is charred, yet chewy.  It is extremely simple in its look, yet sophisticated in its creation.  Luzzo’s gives the option of ordering either 12 inch or 16 inch pies.

For the group, we get a bunch of 16 inch pies; 4 of which are Bufala Mozzarella pies.  This pizza is definitely some of the best we have had.  It is a little thinner than that of other Neapolitan pies,  which isn’t good or bad – just figured i’d say so.  Its bufala mozzarella is great; despite its spotty application, it is huge on taste:  milky, salty, and a touch sour.  Perfect.  The tomatoes are of equal quality, extremely fresh with perfect compliments of oil.  Take a look at the oil which swims on top of the slice.  It’s there, but not overwhelmingly so.  And the crust is of fine craftmanship – the blackened portions of the crust are contrasted with its doughy, pillowy insides.  Rugged exterior, tender underneath it all.  Alot like myself.

(This picture is from the bar afterwards.  As you can tell, it was fun)

We ordered a few more pies.  One was a white pizza with truffle patte (pictured above). Another was a magherita pizza with prosciutto and arugula.   A third one was a white pie with prosciutto and mushrooms seen below.  All were very good; building on Luzzo’s wonderful pizza making philosophy with wonderful pizza making accompaniments/ingredients.

Those looking for a high end Neapolitan pizza will not be disappointed by stopping into Luzzo’s.  In comparison with Keste, our other reviewed Neapolitan pie, it is slightly thinner and tad more simple and bare.  Yet in taste, they’re in dead heat.  Stay tuned for our pizza rankings in the coming weeks.

Overall Movie ExperienceShawshank Redemption

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Life is uncertain: eat dessert first. Does anyone know who said that? It was apparently an American writer named Ernestine Ulmer. I actually just looked that up, because I didn’t know.

Today’s post most certainly involves eating dessert first, a practice that I whole-heartedly support. I also support eating dessert last. First AND last would be best, I think.

While in Rome, Marmo kept going on and on and on about a bakery called Antico Forno Roscioli. It got kind of annoying, so I had to take her there. Then, once we got there, she kept going on and on and on about this particular pastry, ventagli, which means “fans” in Italian. So we had to eat one.

The sign lodged in the ventagli says “no eggs, no milk” so I can only assume that means one thing: BUTTER. Also: SUGAR. As for taste, a few words come to mind: HOLY %^$& that’s good!

Honestly, I was a little skeptical when Marmo was going on and on about ventagli. It really didn’t look that special to me. I like desserts and pastries that I can sink my teeth into. This one looked like it was going flake all over me, leaving me with very unsatisfying bites.

I was wrong. Proven wrong by a pastry is really not all that bad, folks.

This little “fan” was surprisingly hearty. It had a nice snap upon biting into it, and the layers, rather than being a flaky mess, really hung together making it more dense than it appeared (a good thing). As you may note from the photo above, the sugar coating looks intense, but honestly, this was not a sickly sweet dessert. The balance of sugar-to-pastry was quite good, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing in that regard.

Antico Forno Roscioli stocked a number of other freshly baked items, including pizza in the Roman style. I really liked those long ones shown in the above photo, but I have no idea how you go about baking such a monstrosity. However, for pizza I wanted to go to a real Roman pizzeria. I was going on and on and on about it. I think it was annoying.

So Marmo took me to Monte Carlo Pizzeria, where we sampled two beauties: the Margherita and the Fiori di Zucca (squash flower).

Pardon this PIZZA TANGENT: Roman pizza is characterized by an especially thin and crispy crust. The use of a pizza stone when baking this type of pizza is imperative as the crust really needs even heating from the bottom. The crust should have some give to it, like a thin bread. It shouldn’t crumble or have the texture and consistency of a cracker.

In terms of preference I’m not sure where I stand: Neopolitan Style or Roman Style. I like both, but if pressed, I may veer towards Naples. I am Neopolitan, after all…Feel free to leave your comments about your pizza preference!

Onto the Margherita:

You can clearly see the thin crust in the above photos. However, the pizza doesn’t stay rigid, but is a bit bendy (like bread). The taste was excellent. Pure crushed tomatoes combined with a thin, even layer of mozzarella cheese. I did find it interesting that there was no basil. I do love basil. I also loved the bubbles that formed around the outer crust (you can see this well in the top photo). Some of these bubbles got nice and charred, and really gave the pizza a kick.

Next up, squash flowers:

As I may have mentioned, I have become a bit obsessed with these flowers. I wanted them on everything while I was in Italy. This combination of the squash flower and lightly-cheesed pizza was quite good. The flowers have a very mild taste, almost buttery. This soft, buttery flavor compliments the salt of the mozzarella cheese. As you can see, this pie also had a nice char going on around the edges, which gave it a slightly smoky taste. Definitely a winner.

Overall, both of the pies were very light. It was quite easy to eat an entire pie and still have some room left over for dessert (again). Did I hear someone say gelato? This is both because of the thin crust, and also the light, even-handed application of the toppings.

I’m thinking this style of pizza would be a great appetizer at a party, cut into small pieces. I’m going to try out a thin crust in the laboratorio semi-moderno (test kitchen) soon for you all.

In the meantime….I did hear someone say gelato?! Let’s have some:

A few gelaterias to keep in mind, should you find yourself in Rome or Orvieto:

San Crispino, Rome

Ciampini, Rome

Gelateria Pasqualetti, Orvieto

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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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