Do y’all ever make pizza at home? It rocks! Nearly two years ago, Tom and I missed Pinocchio’s pizza (Cambridge, MA) so much that we decided to try and replicate it at home. It soon became clear that doing so is not remotely possible, BUT we have mastered the art of a pretty fantastic at-home pizza which we now make once a week. I often use the goodies from the Sunday farmers market. Though the topping variations are limitless, two clear favorites have emerged for me. Tom pretty much sticks with the same old, same old every week.
You gotta start with a good crust. If we’re tired, we go for the crust you can buy at Vace (local Italian store, Bethesda or Conn Ave for peeps in this area). If we’re feeling energetic, want whole grain and think about it in advance (you can see that this is probably the road less traveled), we make our own.
You also really need to dedicate yourself to mozzarella di bufala (buffalo milk mozz) which is transcendantly good. It comes in one large ball, and I could eat gazillions of them. But I don’t. I think the best is the buff mozz from Vace or the Rustico brand at Whole Foods. Both run $9-$10 but once you taste, you will see why and you will not balk.
Beyond our love of the same crust, cheese and fresh basil, T and I are like day and night with our topping preferences. He tends to go: tomato sauce, slivered garlic, artichokes, sweet Italian sausage. I am: EVOO, crushed red pepper, loads of slivered garlic (admittedly I overdid the garlic last week so don’t use 6 cloves on half of a crust), and either zucchini run over a mandoline so it’s paper thin or quickly sauteed lacinato kale. If squash blossoms are in season, in your garden or at the farmers market, those are a fabulous addition to the zucchini version of my pizza, but layer them UNDER the zucchini rounds so that they don’t fry to a crisp in your hot oven.
We let our crust rise a lot, sometimes all day, as this was really the only tip I could coax out of the guy who owns Pinocchio’s. Hey, if I made pizza like that, I might not share much info either. Anyway, then we often prebake the crust for 4-5 minutes on a sheet of parchment so the bottom crisps up a bit. Then we top and cook for another 12-14 minutes in an oven set to Convection Bake 495 degrees. Because we cook it on parchment only, it’s useful and so spirited to have a pizza peel. We have an enormous, rectangular, wooden one that we bought at a fab Philly restaurant supply store.
Do y’all haunt restaurant supply stores? They are the cat’s meow!
Off to preheat my oven and saute my kale…Thinking about wine…a nice Italian chianti is good here, or a montepulciano d’abruzzo, or an arneis…Really, this is a flex meal!
Oh, once you get your ‘za out, grate fresh pecorino over the top and bring your Maldon salt to the table with you in case you need a finishing touch.