Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

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Fire Roasted “Ratatouille”

Okay so not really a true ratatouille in that you are not stewing the vegetables together but the high heat of the Forno Bravo gives the vegetables a great sear and roasted flavor. I’ve also taken liberties from the classic and added fennel, one of my favorites, for some extra depth. You do not need to be fancy with this one, let your knife and the shape of the vegetable be your inspiration. Do your best to keep the cuts the same size so that they cook evenly.

1 small eggplant
1 each yellow squash
1 each zucchini
1 each red pepper
½ yellow onion
½ fennel bulb
4 cloves garlic
3 each tomatoes
8 basil leaves, chopped
2 sprigs oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper to taste
Pinch red chili flakes

Cut eggplant into large pieces / rustic dice, place in a large bowl and season liberally with kosher salt. Set aside for 15 minutes, then transfer to a strainer and rinse with cold water. Set a side and let dry for 10-15 minutes.

Cut the remaining vegetables but the tomatoes into large pieces / rustic dice. Place in a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper. Slice the tomatoes into equal wedge pieces and set aside with herbs.

Preheat your cast iron skillet or similar pan in your oven. Once heated, about 3 minutes, add the olive oil and chili flakes, let stand for 1 minute. Add diced vegetables, including eggplant to the skillet and return to the oven. Let roast for 12-15 minutes. Pull skillet from oven, add tomato slices, basil and oregano, stir vegetables throughout and return to the oven for an additional 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat add the balsamic vinegar, still again to incorporate and transfer to a serving dish. Enjoy … until next week feast well!

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

New Tradition – Forno Bravo Oven Fire Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving is a mere two weeks away so why not throw a turkey in the “Drago Affamato” or “The Hungry Dragon” as my family calls our oven. Obviously maintaining a steady low fire is key to evenly roasting for your bird. Think back to your cure, ideally a low fire around 350 is ideal. You’ll get charring, similar to your pizza, in spots, especially on the top but the crispy blistered skin and silky smoke flavors are a pleasant bonus. To make it easier and less time, I’ve opted to remove the wings, legs and thighs for this round. For the legs and wings, I’ve roasted them separately in the oven and transferred into my stockpot for a rich, roasted turkey broth base for my gravy. As for the thighs, I’ve minced them up and added the meat to my stuffing for an additional layer of flavor.

1 10-12 pound turkey, fresh
1 each small-medium yellow onion, diced large
1 each lemon, diced large
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme, picked
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, picked
6 sage leaves
6 basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Rinse the turkey in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove legs, thighs and wing joints. Set aside for other use (see above). Rub the turkey with olive oil add season liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Place the onion, lemon and herbs into a small mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss so that the mixture is mixed through. Stuff the turkey cavities, including the front neck portion with the lemon herb mixture.

Place on a baking pan with a wire rack. Slide into the oven and roast. For this version I had a 12-pound turkey and averaged 350 degrees for approximately an hour and 10 minutes. I rotated the bird every 10-15 minutes to ensure even heating. I did not opt to cover the hot spots with aluminum foil, as I did not want to steam the skin. Once you turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees it is done, remove from oven and let rest for about 20 minutes or 2 minutes per pound to ensure a juicy, tender result. Hope you enjoy … until next week feast well!

I am a bug fan of brining meat, especially turkey. Brining helps retain moisture as well as help season the meat through out. While I did not brine this particular turkey you certainly could do with this simple brine recipe.

3 cups kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
.25 cup of cracked black pepper corns
4 apples, chopped
4 lemons, chopped
2-3 bay leaves
1 head garlic chopped
Water to cover

Combine all the ingredients into a large pot with 1 quart of water. Bring mixture to a boil, remove from heat and let cool. Place mixture into a brining bag or similar large container that can be refrigerated. Remove turkey from packaging, rise with cold water and pat dry. Place the turkey into the brine mixture, and add additional cold water to cover the turkey. Place in refrigerator and let stand for 4 hours. Remove from brine, rise and pat dry.

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Rating: 4.7/5 (3 votes cast)

Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash

As the leaves change color, the days get darker and a welcome chill fills the mid-Atlantic air, it is a perfect time to break out the seasonal fall favorites. From the earliest of childhood memories, roasted sweet potatoes, yams, squashes and root vegetables made their way to our table. Here is one of those simple, favorite recipes to add to your repertoire and maybe find its way into your upcoming Thanksgiving feast. Allowing the butter to brown adds a creamy nutty flavor to the sweet, earthy squash and the fresh grated nutmeg at the ends provides a perfect seasonal punch.

1 each small-medium butternut squash
2 tablespoons of butter divided equally in two portions
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 – 8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 each whole nutmeg
kosher salt and black pepper
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of cardamom

I prefer to use the heat up time of your oven for the roasting of the squash. Low temperatures for a longer time will allow you to cook through consistently without charring. Some charring is desired and it adds a caramelized toasty flavor but with too much it can turn bitter quickly.

Trim the top and root section off on the squash. Leave the skin on. Split the butternut lengthwise in half and using a spoon, clean out the seeds and fibers. Slice the squash into 8 equal wedges and place in a mixing bowl.

Preheat your cast iron skillet or similar roasting pan in the Forno Bravo oven.

Combine the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of butter, thyme, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom in a small sauté pan. Let ingredients steep over low heat until the butter is melted, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately spoon the butter-olive mixture over the butternut squash and toss to ensure ingredients are incorporated and cover the squash.

Place the butternut squash into your cast iron and place in the oven. After about 20-25 minutes as the squash begins to cook through and become tender, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and gently toss through out. Return to oven and continue to cook for and additional 10-15 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender though out, the butter has browned. Remove from oven, and serve. Spoon any residual brown butter over the top and using a microplane grate a small amount of nutmeg over the top.

For a variation substitute sage for the thyme and add a tablespoon of fresh lemon zest or parmesan chees to the end. Hope you enjoy … until next week feat well

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Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)

Steak & Tomatoes

A late ode to the summer grill

Our local farmer’s market had a handful of late harvest tomatoes left and I just could not resist a simple, fast and delicious ode to a summer meal off the Tuscan grill. Once your fire has burned down most of the way and your are left with a great bed coals, spread the coals evenly across the hearth and insert your Tuscan grill centered over the coals. Allow grill to preheat for a few minutes prior to adding your foods.

1 each beef flank steak / flat iron or skirt steak
1 bunch green onion
8 -10 tomatoes, small – medium sized
olive oil
kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Add a bowl of your favorite steak topping, dip or sauce … chimichurri for me!

Remove steak from package, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Set aside on a sheet pan or plate and season liberally on both sides with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Best to let the meat temper to room temperature approximately 15-20 minutes prior to cooking. Similarly once you have cooked the meat, let it rest for 2-3 minutes per pound to help retain juices.

Trim the roots and split the bulb end of the green onions. Place in a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper and a touch of olive oil.

Using a larger metal skewer, or bamboo skewers that has been soaked in water (to reduce burning) align the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Once the Tuscan grill is hot, slide towards the oven opening and place the meat, onions and skewered tomatoes on the grill. Slide grill back over the coals and cook for 3-5 minutes. Using tongs, make a quarter turn of the meat and vegetables and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Slide the grill towards the door, flip both the steak and vegetables and continue to cook until desired doneness … about another 5 minutes for medium. Remove from grill and oven, let meat rest and serve with your favorite sauce. Chef Bart … until next week feast well.

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Rating: 4.4/5 (5 votes cast)

fave pizza toppings

favorites of my pizza crowd..start with your best dough recipe
mine is 2 1/2 c bread flour 1/2 c seminola flour 1.5 cup water
2 tsp sugar one salt 2 1/2 tsp yeast knead cover/ rest 20 min and go

top with oil only bacon, blue chz bake then top with fresh scallions
or
saute shrimp butter garlic lemon zest..top pie with red sauce/shrimp sauce combo
bake then squeeze lemon parm chz light
or
cook round steak strips add jalepeno onion slices red pepper flakers
top pie with sauce meat mix and chz
or
sautee several kind of good mushrooms with a dash of good beer
top sauce cheeze
i could go all night haha!

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Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)

Prosciutto and Concord Grape pizza

Last week a few friends came over for dinner, after indulging on a few traditional top pizzas, challenges began being thrown my way. Conversation and creativity was flowing. One in particular challenge was, “how could you make a peanut butter and jelly pizza be good?” My answer, and interpretations, was found in breaking down the flavors and textures, salty, sweet, creamy and crunchy. The bellow recipe is what came together.

1 each dough ball
2 ounces / 3 slices provolone cheese
1-2 ounces sliced prosciutto
¼ cup concord grapes, sliced in half and seeded
1 spring thyme leaves, fresh
2 tblspn pistachios, toasted, chopped
Fresh cracked black pepper

Work and spread out your dough to desired shape and size. Place provolone cheese over the top, sprinkle thyme leaves, concord grapes and pistachios over the top and season with black pepper. Place in your Forno Bravo oven and cook until desired doneness. Remove from oven and immediately place slices of prosciutto over the top and serve. I think you’ll agree, though not true peanut butter and jelly the concord grapes provide the sweetness balancing the salty prosciutto while the cheese adds a neutral texture completing the experience. Chef Bart … until next week feast well.

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Rating: 3.7/5 (6 votes cast)

Caramelized Apple Pizza

Caramelized apple pizza

Just when I had wrapped up a wonderful evening of fresh pizza making, my family turned to me and with lost looks on their faces collectively said, “what no dessert?” Fortunately I had a couple apples handy and gelato in the freezer. I went to work on a quick dessert pizza. The family was thrilled and spared me to cook for them yet another day.

1 each dough ball
2 each apples, firm granny smith or similar, sliced thinly
2 tblspns butter
2 tblspns brown sugar
1 each juice from on lemon
1 spring thyme leaves, fresh
1 tspn sugar
1 pinch ground cinnamon
Kosher salt

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat place the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Heat the sugar until it begins to melt, bubble and begin to smoke. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and lemon juice turning the mixture into a smooth caramel. Place back on the heat, lower temperature and add apples. Stirring occasionally, cook the apples until they are tender and covered in caramel, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside to cool.

Work and spread out your dough to desired shape and size. Spread the caramelized apple mixture over the top, sprinkle apples with fresh thyme and sprinkle the exposed crust with sugar. Place in your Forno Bravo oven and bake until desired doneness. Slice and serve, gelato optional. Hope you enjoy. Chef Bart … until next week feast well.

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Rating: 4.0/5 (9 votes cast)

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Ribs

Last week I posted a quick recipe and technique to utilize while your oven is heating up and this week I thought I’d share a post pizza party, oven cool down recipe for St. Louis BBQ ribs. The residual heat after an evening of cooking pizzas provides a great opportunity to utilize your Forno Bravo oven for a smoky slow roast. While there are countless rubs and marinades for ribs out there in the community, this is the one, that over the years family and friends have come to love the best.

2 racks St. Louis Pork Ribs
1 cup Ancho Chili Powder
¼ cup Brown Sugar
1 tblspn Mustard Powder
1 tblspn Cracked Black Pepper
1 tblspn Kosher Salt
½ tblspn Garlic Powder
1 cup Apple Cider

In a small mixing bowl combine the chili powder, brown sugar, mustard powder, salt, pepper and garlic powder and mix with a spoon until incorporated.

Rinse the pork ribs with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place ribs on a work surface / sheet tray and using your hands gently rub and massage the spice mixture into both sides of the ribs. Place ribs into the refrigerator and let sit for 4-6 hours. If you feel organized and plan ahead the ribs can be rubbed down the day prior and let stand overnight.

Remove ribs from refrigeration about 30-40 minutes prior to cooking allowing then to temper to room temperature. Place one rack on a large sheet of aluminum foil and fold up the edges around the rack. Add ½ cup of apple cider, and wrap the aluminum foil to cover, leaving a few small gaps open so that smoke is allowed in and repeat for the remaining rib rack.

In this method we are cooking the ribs at a higher temperature for a shorter time than a traditional slow smoke. The addition of the apple cider will assist in braising the meat, making it tender and juice in a shorter time. You can choose to wait the additional time to let the temperature of your oven to drop 200 – 300 degrees and let the ribs go much longer approximately 6 hours.

Place the ribs on a Tuscan grill so that they do not rest on the hearth and air and smoke can circulate the meat. Close the door of your oven so that the remaining coals snuff out and add smoke the meat.

Once the ribs are fork tender, about 3.5 hours at 600 degrees, peel away the foil to expose the meat, transfer to a sheet pan and brush with your favorite bbq sauce on both sides and return to the oven for an additional 15 -20 minutes. Enjoy as a midnight snack or cool ribs overnight in the refrigerator and heat up the next day for a BBQ dinner. Until next week … Feast well – Chef Bart

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Rating: 3.9/5 (11 votes cast)

Fire Roasted Clams with Andouille Sausage

I am a big fan of utilizing the heat up and cool down times of the Forno Bravo oven. Here is a flavor packed simple quick sharable appetizer that is perfect for the heat up time prior to your pizza making. No Andouille – No problems substitute your favorite sausage or skip the meat and throw in a handful of fennel.

Fire Roasted Clams

1 pound littleneck clams, washed
6 cloves garlic, thinly slices
½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup tomato, medium dice
1 cup andouille sausage, sliced
3 tblspns butter
6 oz beer
1 tblspn olive oil
8 sprigs thyme
sea salt fresh cracked pepper

Add the olive oil to your cast iron pan or similar high heat pot and place in your Forno Bravo oven to heat. When the oil begins to smoke 2-3 minutes add all the ingredients, toss and place in the back into the oven. Let cook for 4-6 minutes, stir the clams, and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the clams have all opened.

Remove from the oven, spoon into a serving bowl and serve with great crusty bread.

Hope you enjoy until next week feast well!

Chef Bart

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Rating: 5.0/5 (7 votes cast)

Classic Dough & Smoky Tomato Sauce

I am thrilled to be a part of the Forno Bravo community, and I am excited to share recipes, techniques, videos, photos and musings through the lens of a professional chef. My first post, of course, has to be pizza. However, I promise that I will keep you on your toes with different dishes and cooking methods to show off the versatility of the Forno Bravo oven.

My first dough is adapted from, Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast, The fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza by Ken Forkish.

Ingredients
1000 g/ 7 ¾ cups Caputo “00” Soft White Flour
700 g/3 cups Water (90-95 F)
20 g/1 tbsp + ¾ tsp Sea Salt
2 g/½ tsp yeast

Yield – 5 | 340 g dough balls

Hydrate the yeast with 3 tablespoons of the 3 cups of water.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and remaining water together with a wood spoon or hands until incorporated. Let the water-flour mix sit for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle dough with salt and yeast mixture and using damp hands make quarter folds in the dough until the yeast and salt are fully incorporated. Cover and set aside, let the dough rest for an hour. From the corners, fold the dough in on itself one time, cover and let rest at room temperature for 5-6 hours.

After dough has rested and doubled in size, divide into 5 – 340 gram dough balls. Dough will be slightly tacking, use a bit of extra flour for your hands and work surface as needed. Dough is ready for the oven.

This dough is 70% hydration and yields a traditional Neapolitan pizza. The crust will produce a crisp bite with a great chew, soft fermentation flavors with medium to large air pockets.

I would never argue against the use of San Marzano tomatoes for your sauce, but every so often I crave a little more depth and zip from my tomato sauce. Here is what has become the family favorite.

Smoky Tomato Sauce

6 – 8 each tomatoes, medium size
2 -3 cloves garlic, sliced
8 -10 each basil leaves, fresh
1 tblspn olive oil
1 pinch red chili flakes
sea salt / black pepper

Core tomatoes, slice in half lengthwise and score the bottom with an “x” cross cut.
Place tomatoes in a roasting pan, drizzle olive oil over the top and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add basil and chili flakes and place into the wood oven. I typically roast the tomatoes when the oven is warming up to capture the smoke flavor and a lower heat of 350-400. If planning ahead roast when the fire has died off and the pizzas are done for the day for your next cooking session.

Roast the tomatoes for 10-15 minutes, the skin should blister and the tomatoes should begin to break down and release some of their juice. Remove the tomatoes from the oven, using tongs pull off and discard the skins and transfer the contents to a small saucepot. Reduce the sauce by 2/3 over medium-low heat. During the cooking process, use a whisk to break up the larger pieces of tomato or use a food mill to break down to a smooth consistency. Remove from heat, taste, adjust seasoning if needed. Let sauce cool. Sauce can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 3-5 days our divide equally into ice trays and freeze to use later. One to two cubes equal the equivalent portion for one pizza.

Hope you enjoy, until next week – feast well!

Chef Bart

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Rating: 4.1/5 (14 votes cast)