This week is all about Italian cuisine. The first known Italian food writer was a Greek Sicilian named Archestratus from Syracuse in the 4th century BCE. (Before the Common Era) He wrote a poem that spoke of using “top quality and seasonal” ingredients, citing that flavors should not be masked by spices, herbs or other seasonings. He placed importance on simple preparation of fish.
Pizza was originally invented in Naples, Italy and is now a staple in many parts of the world. This tasty dish is an oven-baked, flat round bread, typically topped with tomato sauce, cheese and creators choice of toppings. Although I am a fan of almost any pizza sauce, ranch, garlic, barbecue, the traditional tomato is still my all time fav.
This first delicious recipe from Saveur is full of flavor and a bit involved but completely worth it. This recipe makes 4 11 – 13″ pizzas
- 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 7 cups 00 flour, preferably Caputo brand, plus more
- 4 tsp. sugar
- 4 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Olivestri Siloro brand, plus more for drizzling
- 1 28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, preferably Cento brand, undrained, passed through a food mill
- 8 oz. mozzarella fior di latte ovoline or mozzarella di buffala, thinly sliced and patted dry with paper towels
- 16 basil leaves, torn by hand
What is oo flour? In Italy, flour is classified either as 1, 0, or 00, and refers to how finely ground the flour is and how much of the bran and germ have been removed. Click here for the full recipe
There are times, when schedules are tight and making your own pizza dough is just not a possibility. That doesn’t mean it’s either take out or frozen pizza, it simply means compromise. Your local pizzeria may have dough you can pop in and purchase and if that doesn’t work for you, there is always the option of refrigerated pizza dough from your local grocer. Prepare your dough, and whip a pizza that is all your own.
Here is a simple recipe from Bon Appetit that can be cut in to small squares and used as a quick starter with cocktails. At times the best inspiration in the kitchen comes from your own pantry. Let your imagination and creative side guide you.
White Four Cheese Pizza with Basil and Garlic
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 13.8-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough
- All purpose flour
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then coarsely chopped
- 3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil