Recently I went to a fancy dandy pizza shop. One with an Italian wood burning pizza oven. The pies went in and out in only 3-4 minutes and came out this beautiful randomly charred, bubbling cheesy beautiful pie! I got to talking to the pie master and he explained this process for achieving near brick oven quality at home...
There is a trick of course to getting this look and texture of an authentic Italian Brick Oven pizza in a standard home oven. That is HOT... Hot oven, and a HOT Pizza Stone. Most ovens can reach a temperature of 550 degrees. BUT, if you use the broiler setting, your oven will reach 650-700 degrees and maybe a bit higher. Not as hot as a true pizza oven, but close enough for us.
Italian Brick Ovens will reach a temperature of 800-900 degrees. SO instead of 3-4 minutes, our pizza will take a few more minutes, but we will still get the look and texture of crunchy crispy crust and bubbly cheese.
It is also important to know that these Italian style pizzas are never loaded with ingredients. usually just an oil brushing, a thin layer of cheese and a thin layer of a vegetable (like these tomatoes). While many pizzas will come with a tomato sauce option, this style shown here is much more common in Italy than the traditional American style.
OK... First the basics...
Here's the "How-To" and why of my goal of Pizzeria style pizza at home...
Pizzeria Pizza at Home...
A goal of mine (and an earlier blog post, double click the blue letters). In that post I go into details about the best way to achieve the goal of a making a seemingly simple flat bread, topped with a sauce and cheese. I have a never fail yeast pizza dough recipe, a deliciously fresh rich pizza sauce (from scratch) and a bit of history.
This post has the recipe for the dough that I use.
As to the white garlic sauce... Here's what I did...
3 TBS Butter
3 TBS Flour
6 CLoves Garlic, fine mince
1 Cup Whole Milk (I actually used Half and Half, Whole milk at a minimum, do not try this with 2% or Skim).
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese (Use a micro grater)
Pinch of Salt
- First make a roux... In a heavy bottomed saute pan, melt the butter over medium low heat.
- Slowly whisk in the flour and continue to stir non-stop for 3-5 minutes. It is important to never stop stirring and also important to keep the temperature low, just barely under a simmer.
- After 5 minutes you will start to smell a nutty aroma. At this stage the roux is ready.
- Add the minced garlic, salt, nutmeg and the milk and stir to combine, then stir in the Parmesan Cheese and stir again to combine.
- Continue stirring with heat a little higher, just at a simmer for several minutes until the sauce thickens.
OK... We have the dough, the sauce and the tomatoes are simply sliced very thin from the freshest tomato you can find (I used one of those beautiful flavorful heirloom tomatoes).
Here's your trick... PREHEAT YOUR PIZZA STONE AND OVEN set on BROIL for 30 minutes before you start cooking your pizza.
Assemble a pizza normally... I always assemble on a sheet of parchment paper.
Roll out the dough as thin as possible
Brush with Olive Oil, especially the areas that will not be covered by the sauce, the edges.
Salt and Pepper the oil
Put a thin layer of the cheese sauce
Lay out the tomato slices in an attractive order.
Little more pinch of salt on the tomatoes
Bake on the pizza stone about 8 inches below the broilers for 6 minutes, Quickly check the pizza to see if it is how you like it,just starting to char is best. COntinue to cook as needed, checking every minute to make sure it has not crossed the line from beautifully crispy to burnt.
Once you learn the tricks of the trade, Pizzeria Pizza at home is simple and addictive. My dough recipe makes 4 dough balls, so each time I make pizza I have 4 canvasses to create. Generally I make a pizza Margherita (pictured to the right, sauce, cheese and basil). The Margherita is recognized by many as the first and original version of the modern pizza.
My wife prefers the classic Pepperoni.
That leaves me two canvasses to create. SO many options... different sauces, different toppings, different shapes, different... well, different whatever I want to try.
So, as to the recipes...Well, that is not really the point of the series. It's just a chance to show variety, to make you ponder what you can do and if you have never, try it yourself. there are plenty of recipes, tricks and techniques to get you started over at the Pizzeria Pizza at Home 101 Post. Scratch sauce, Scratch Dough, history and LOTS of photo instructions to get started.
As with most recipes, the basics can be learned in minutes; mastering the art will take a lifetime (or at least 52 tries). You can achieve success with my Pizzeria 101 Link, a cookie sheet, standard oven and items in most every kitchen. But... eventually you will want to try the toys of the trade So if you want to dig deeper, I recommend these books and items...
Enjoy your Pizza making... Let me know what pizzas you are making and be sure to come take a look next Sunday to see what I come up with!
I hope I did not make it sound complicated... it really only takes a few minutes if you are an experienced home pizza maker. The pay off in beauty and taste is well worth the effort. Plus, if you get in the habit of making pizza dough 4 balls at a time (as my recipe does), and you always have a jar of sauce laying around (since I make 8 jars at a time, this beauty is actually very affordable). Your big cost is the toppings, but since mostly I use leftovers, pizza is about as affordable as it gets... As long as you are not buying a $20 pizza at the pizzeria when you CAN make em at home!
And of course... This is a MUST MAKE recipe for my new Page that eventually will be a guide to Italian Cooking (worth following). I will try to research the history, Italian name for the dish and most of all the authenticity (going to be hard not to monkey about with the recipes, but I at least promise to try).
So, Cin Cin indeed as I add Breakfast Pizza Uova e Pancetta Pizza) to my "52 Authentic Italian Recipes".
And if you like this dish and want to see more, be sure to take a minute and "Follow" me on Pinterest for all of the updates to come!!!
This is Pizza #17 in my list of 52 Pizza Party Pizzas...
Week #1 ...
A simple Salami Pizza (break free of the addiction to Pepperoni). A classic example of the Italian belief that less is more... Allow a quality ingredient like the artisanal Dry cured sausage, the sauce and the cheese balance beautifully!
I made a fantastic HOT Sausage Pizza... Made with mini balls of sausage (there is a small trick) that also looks as dramatic as it is tasty!
I was on the grill making a dessert or Appetizer FANTASTIC Honey - Goat Cheese - Arugula Pizza... Delicious and PERFECT if you want to WOW your friends with something unique on the GRILL!
A Pizza from my youth, the (then) exotic sounding Canadian Bacon and Onion GRILLED pizza! Loaded with color and the unique taste of the sweet juicy back bacon that became a legend back in Pekin, Illinois in the 70's.
A fond memory of our time living in the islands... US Virgin Island, St Thomas had a fantastic little beach bar where you could get a Steak and Gorgonzola Pizza (and a bottle of wine) for just $25... one of the few bargains on the island and a darn fine PIZZA!
We stayed out on the grill for a fun APPETIZER PIZZA of Goat Cheese, Honey and Walnuts! Worked perfect to serve as guests arrive, the sweet honey, zippy goat cheese and the savory walnuts paired perfect for a fine welcome treat!
HOW COOL IS THIS BREAKFAST PIZZA??? Ham and Eggs... Cheese and tomato sauce! It is actually a classic Italian recipe for
Bacon and Egg Pizza (Uova e pancetta Pizza)And it is WONDERFUL!
Was something really special for me, a chance to cook with another respected Food Blogger, Penny from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen, AND to use her open fireplace cooking grate to cook over a live fire and make a pizza topped with Ina Garten's Guacamole Salad! Fruit, Vegges, Black Beans... Makes a FANTASTIC Pizza!
My beloved Rotisserie Chicken gets dressed up with Taco seasonings to help create a Taco Chicken and Pickled Red Onion Pizza! A wonderfully colorful and spicy pizza. Something you would expect at a California fancy pizzeria... or now at home!
Cul de Sac Famous empty Nestors that we are, we were a bit intimidated with the idea of sitting for 7 (YES, SEVEN) of our nieces and nephews for a weekend. I decided to make pizza one night, even more challenging I decided to offer each of the kids a chance to pick their own toppings... CHEESE PIZZA was by far the most requested. But just because it is a simple cheese pizza is no excuse not to make it the best. LOTS of tips to make yours better than a pizzeria!
A new twist on the original classic pizza... A Basil Mint Pesto Margherita Pizza. Pesto is loaded with fresh herbs (herbaceous), Pine Nuts (Nutty) and Garlic (you guessed it... garlicky!), making this pizza layers upon layers of flavors! And pretty too!
Another big change of pace that was HUGELY successful as an appetizer was this Black Bean and Quinoa Salad Pizza. Lots of fresh grilled Corn and a sweet sauce of honey and mascarpone cheese. Unusual combination of ingredients, sauce,cheese and a DELICIOUS Change of Pace!
Fresh, Local, and best and SUMMERTIME!
Great produce is available at just about any street corner... And sometimes even your own garden. Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow and work great in container gardens. And they make a FANTASTIC... Cherry Tomato Margherita Pizza. Colorful and Summertime fresh tasting!
More fresh local And Best...
Seasonal Summer Pizzas are very simple. You want the ingredients to shine. The sauce, dough and cheese takes a back seat to fresh garden herbs. This Fresh Herb Pizza tastes like summer in a garden!
This pizza was a delicious trip to my back yard garden! MY TOMATOES ARE IN MY TOMATOES ARE IN!!! A Fresh Heirloom juicy sweet tomato pie! This is what an Italian pizza ought to be... fresh local and loaded with flavors. My favorite so far!
This pizza is a stretch of leftovers. I had grilled some wonderful Korean Style Short Ribs but only had a single serving left. SO... Stretch those ingredients to make a wonderful pizza for two, A Korean Beef Short Rib Pizza for 2!
OK, be sure to come back next Sunday... I already have plans for next weeks' Za!