Now That's a Mouthful

Episode 60: Pizza!

Episode 60: Pizza!

Making pizza in the home kitchen lets us be as ambitious or as simplistic as we want. Thick crust, thin crust, Chicago deep dish, Philly’s tomato pie, it can be stylish or casual. It is one of the all-time best foods.  We consider different ways to think of pizza, dough and crusts, toppings and "tip sag," so you can make perfect pizza anytime you want.

We talk about…

  • There’s really no one right way to make Pizza.
  • You can easily make a better pizza at home than just about anywhere in the world
  • Pizza is nothing more than a yeasted flatbread from Greek origins. Pizza-also known as, “pie,” “za” or even, “da wheel.”
  • Pizza speaks to the culture and region where you are visiting; seek out a local pizzeria when you travel.
  • Resources for pizza and pizza making include The Elements of Pizza, by Ken Forkish, published in 2016.
  • Canned San Marzano tomatoes make an excellent sauce.
  • “Tip Sag” and its importance in defining a style of pizza.
  • The importance of crust. It is the platform and must be perfection.
  • Chef Donna’s 8 tips to make the best pizza possible
  • 1. Make (or buy) the best dough possible. AP flour makes a chewier crust; Bread flour gives you a crispier crust. Even if you’re making a vegan/cauliflower crust drain off all the moisture. You can make galettes or crostatas into savory pies, too. These are free-form, super easy and rustic looking. Try doughs and crust recipes from Pie Squared or the Tomato Pie from Stir Sizzle Bake, by Charlotte Druckman. Use your cast iron skillet and flip it over or a baking sheet; Chef Donna’s and Cherie’s tips for making crisp bottoms to your crusts.
  • 2. The topping to crust ratio is critical. Here’s where your pizza gets personal. Choose what is most importance, sauce cheese or toppings? We refer to EPISODE 59 Sharing Our Kitchen Space. Always consider the moisture content and drain as much water out of your vegetables or tomatoes. EPISODE 43 The Importance of Cheese. Use real cheese; it melts.
  • 3. Do as much by hand as possible. Make your ingredients exactly the way and size you want because all the best pizzas in the world are made by hand.
  • 4. Consider the season and the climate.
  • 5. Allow flavors to develop. Experiment with what you want and how you combine them, if you combine them at all.
  • 6. Don’t under-estimate the role of salt. Keep the balance; there’s a lot of salt in many of the ingredients. Or, use balsamic glazes, vinegars, oils or grate fresh lemon zest.
  • 7. Let your taste be your own guide.
  • 8. Fresh herbs or your favorite seasoning blend takes your flavor to the next level.
  • The different types of pie, including New York style, Chicago pan-style, Philadelphia-style Tomato Pie.
  • Great ideas to try: Mortadella and Pistachio Pizza; Carbonara Pizza. Add a fresh egg on top of a pizza is very current. Basil Pesto and Burrata on a flatbread. Salad greens on pizza like radicchio, escarole or arugula are delicious on a Socca (chickpea flour) flatbread. From the Elements of Pizza try the Brooklyn Hot Honey Pie (mozzarella, pecorino romano, tomato, pickled onions, prosciutto, honey with chili flakes), or the Vodka Sauce and Sausage Pizza.
  • Freeze your pizza dough so it’s ready when you want it.
  • Chef Donna’s one thing to learn from this episode: When it comes to pizza you can easily make better pizza at home then you can buy. Period. It’s what we’ve been talking about all season long….It’s a simple exercise in having a well-stocked larder, and having an idea of what you’re truly hungry for… knowing whether you want that thick dough-y crust, or that thin crispy one that offers you the perfect amount of “tip sag” and is made out of the ingredients that satisfies your personal dietary needs. You just have to give yourself permission to take the time you’d spend ordering out to craft one at home. Try it. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll create.
  • Cherie’s Wrap: Pizza is life in many parts of the world-it is the go-to classic, the bad day cure, the Friday night family pleaser. Step into your kitchen, put your hands in the dough and roll or toss yourself the base for an amazing treat! You have the power to make your pizza anything you want it to be. For breakfast, lunch, or dinner; as a snack or meal; hot or cold; this brilliant combo of bread, sauce and cheese is a delicious social food that brings us together and keeps us coming back for more.

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