Instructionals
Welcome to the Pizza Quest Instructionals
Peter Reinhart

Welcome Everyone,

This is where we will be posting recipes and instructional videos by many of the guests featured on the Pizza Quest webisodes. It is also a place where you can comment and share your own thoughts or questions regarding the featured recipes, as well tips and tricks of your own. Considering the collective knowledge and wisdom possessed by the Pizza Quest community, this should be a very exciting and dynamic section. We'll keep adding new video pieces as we get them edited, so check back from time to time to see the latest. Our hope is to inspire you to create your own amazing pizzas (and not just pizza, as we'll be showing some other great dishes too), and to give you some new tips and tools to add to your culinary tool box. Mangia!!!

 
Joseph's Provolone Pizza
Peter Reinhart

As a special welcome to The Fire Within, our newest sponsor, here is a video we shot last October at an oven owners conference hosted by Joseph Pergolizzi, the owner and founder of The Fire Within.  We shot a number of these instructional videos at the end of the conference with various attendees, asking each of the oven owners what kind of pizza they wanted to make, and Joseph chose this one and a couple of others, including a killer clam pizza. In this video, though, we not only get to make a simple yet beautiful pizza with pesto, two kinds of cheese (with a special tribute to Provolone, which both of us love), and local cherry tomatoes, but also talk about the oven rigs themselves.

Note that the crust is a little puffy in this version, almost like a round Sicilian or focaccia style dough, but you can always make the crust as thin or thick as you like when you do it. The dough was so delicious (recipe in the PQ Instructional archives), and the combo of fresh tomatoes, pesto, and cheeses are so perfect that, when the cameras stopped running, we devoured this little pie in about 30 seconds.

For more details on these oven rigs, click through to The Fire Within website on our home page. Joseph and I are already talking about doing another conference in Boulder next autumn and would love to have you there.

 
Oven Roasted Rack o' Pork!
Brad English

I just found the pizza and sandwich topping of the year!  You heard it here first. In this post I'll tell you how to make it and, in future posts, how to use it on pizzas and also how to make the King of all Cheese-(Pork) Steak sandwiches, with the left overs.

Here's the background story: I was looking to play with my Primavera one weekend not long ago.  I was bored and wanted to try something new.  I've had it now for almost 6 months and it still feels new and, I'm still either learning to drive it, or thinking about ways to drive it.  That may be half the fun of it.  Like any hobby, the fun and rewarding part is often as much about the journey and not the destination. I was "feeling" pork that weekend.   I reviewed some of the great recipes on the Forno Bravo Forum, and put in some time searching on the internet, when something caught my eye.

Oven Roasted Rack of Pork.

Rack of Pork?!!!  Now that just sounded too good. Rack of lamb is one of my favorite things to make and maybe that will be next to hit the fire dome, but a rack of pork -- that sounded perfect!  I don't think I have ever had a whole rack of pork cooked for me before.  Pork chops, roast pork loin, smoked pork, barbecued pork, on and on, but never before had a full rack of pork been presented to me.   I found a gigantic 8-bone specimen at the store.  Beautiful!

So, back to my weekend...

It was a slow weekend and I had some time to just hang out with my family.  We had a break in our usually crazy schedule of running the kids from one sport to another, or to one friend's house, or a movie.  When a calm window opens up like this I often feel like cooking.  I do some of my best meals when it's just the family.  I enjoy cooking for and with friends, but there is also something about hanging out and making something amazing when it would be just as easy to order a pizza or to throw some burgers on the grill.  After all, do the kids really appreciate a good meal?  The truth is, even my kids don't!  I can admit it.  You get the occasional, "That was really good!" but on weekends like this it's more about the time you spend with each other.  I think gathering around a big meal, or a special meal means something more than just the food.  With the way the world is these days, this type of time spent together is more and more important.

By the way, that said, a burger on the grill is almost always a good idea!  I'm just saying…

Back to the rack!

I can't take credit for this Rack of Pork creation.  I found it on a website called Ask Chef Dennis - www.askchefdennis.com.  Just click on the *LINK to his recipe and I could stop here and pass you on.  Trust me, you have to make this!

I won't stop though.  I did add something to this which I think our pizza making, wood fired oven lovin' community will appreciate.  I made this in my WFO.  I think it was Newman on one of the Seinfeld episodes that proclaimed about the Kenny Roger's chicken: "It's the wood that makes it good!" You gotta love Newman as he munched through a chicken leg, mouth half full enjoying his chicken while spewing those words.  The wood does make it good, right?  It certainly makes it fun.  And, it makes it more primal.  We like primal.

I followed Ask Chef Dennis' basic recipe.  It's simple, as so much of great cooking is.

 

Ingredients:

- 8 bone center cut rack of pork *Take the pork out of the fridge for 30-60 minutes before cooking.

- olive oil

- sea salt

- black pepper

- Montreal Steak Seasoning

- 2 carrots - rough cut

- 1 small onion cut with skins

- 2 stalks of celery - rough cut

- 6 cloves garlic peeled

 

Instructions:

Since you are on Pizza Quest, it's time to build a fire!  The recipe calls for 450 Degrees for 15 minutes and then turning it down to 325 degrees for 2 hours in the oven.  As we all know, there is no turning a wood fired oven down after 15 minutes.  There's more of a dance to be played out in order to do what Chef Dennis is trying to do here.

So, this is not going to be a pizza hot fire.  I got a small-medium fire going and let it saturate the oven for a little more than an hour or so.  I got the walls up to around the 400's and let the fire settle down. I wanted to get the oven interior temp to be holding in the low 300's and hold that for about 2 hours without loosing too much.  I also wanted to try to sear the pork with a higher heat.  So, I added some small logs to the fire and let it flare up when I put the pork in. After about 15 minutes, I decided to close the door to capture some smoke and to kill the fire a bit and hopefully, get this thing to ride in the low 300's.  You'll see I did pretty well.

 

Now that the fire is rolling, go set up the rack of pork:

- In a roasting pan add the cut veggies *We'll use these and the drippings for some pan gravy.

- Rinse the pork and pat dry

- Place pork fat side up on top of the bed of veggies

- Rub the olive oil all over the pork

- Sprinkle the entire rack with sea salt, pepper and then with a good coating of Montreal Steak Seasoning.  *Use a good amount of the Montreal Seasoning to form a crust.

- Place the roast into the oven.  *See my notes above if using a wood burning oven.

- Use a remote thermometer to get the outside of the racks to reach 160 degrees.  This will make sure that the thicker center is not as cooked as much.  This should take about 2 - 2 1/2 hours, but because you are in a wood oven with less consistent temps, make sure to monitor it.

- Pull the rack of pork out and let it rest at least 10 minutes.

- While the rack is resting, place the roasting pan on your stove top.  Add 2 cups of water and, with a wooden spoon, loosen the scraps and veggies in the pan.  Add a little flour, or pre-make a roux to thicken the gravy. Strain the chunks and bits and you have a delicious gravy!

 

Back to the pork:

- Cut the rack along the bones.  Serve with the pan gravy.

 

I served this with mashed potatoes and some roasted carrots.  So simple and so good!  What a great meal!

Ask Chef Dennis was right!  The Montreal Seasoning and the pork go so well together.  It's not fair to other cuts of meat and spice combinations.  It really isn't.  I hope you enjoy this amazing meal.  Check out the original recipe on the link above if cooking in your home oven, or if you are lucky enough to have a WFO, then get to this recipe and do it soon.  It's a winner and it keeps on giving.

 

 

I'll be back with some pizzas made with left over Rack o' Pork with Montreal Seasoning.  This is an amazing pizza topping and worth the effort to make and use for pizza alone!  And, as I said, I later made a cheesy rack-o-pork, Philly Cheese Pork sandwich that may have put the original to shame.

 

Enjoy!

 

 
Five Cheese Pizza
Peter Reinhart

Scott Thorsen was my wing man at the Fire Within Conference in Boulder last October. Together, we mixed and shaped enough dough to crank out over 200 pizzas during the weekend, and we managed to save a few Country Doughs for this video demo. Scott, who has his own wood-fired rig in Sacramento, California, and a pizza and catering business that he runs out of the rig called Bella Familia, ably backed up all the presenters at the conference by doing much of the prep work and a lot of the heavy lifting. So, I wanted to give him a chance to get in front of the camera before he headed home and show us his pizzaiolo prowess. In this video

 
Spicy Roasted Pistachio Pizza
Brad English

I was shooting a scene for a commercial recently on a sidewalk in Beverly Hills.  Between set ups, I wandered into a juice bar and found a little jar of spicy Mediterranean pistachios sitting on the counter.  I bought them as a snack, but as soon as I tasted them, I thought "Pizza"!  These would make a great option for a pepperoni-like vegetarian pizza.  Pistachios add a nice crunch that can almost be "meaty" in their nuttiness and with these spicy ones, I was thinking it would be as interesting as using a spicy salty porky product that I love so much!

Let's get to the pizza.  This one came out great!  I ended up making 2 variations of this pizza.  For the second variation I added some sautéed broccolini, which was a great addition.

 

The Spicy Pistachio Pizza

Peter's Country Dough

Herb Oil - for the tomatoes and to drizzle on the dough

Halved Garden Cherry Tomatoes

Grated Mozz

Goat Cheese

Spicy Pistachios

Sliced Shallots

Chopped Italian Parsley

*2nd Pizza options:

Sauteed Broccolini with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper

Peter's Neo-Neopolitan Dough

 

Prep:

The cherry tomatoes will become an ingredient in this pizza, but also function as the sauce.  Slice them in half and cover with Herb Oil to coat and marinade.  You can do this in advance.  For this pizza, I just laid out the tomatoes for this pizza and drizzled some olive oil and sprinkled a little dried basil over the top before baking.

Add the grated mozz and pinches of goat cheese.

Lay some sliced shallots around the pizza and sprinkle on the pistachios.

 

That's it.  Into the oven.

 

*An interesting thing happened to my pizza on the way to the oven...

I pre-heated the wrong oven!  My pizza stones, steel and pizza grate are all stored in my lower oven. I accidentally pre-heated the top oven.  Uh oh!  I was sitting there with a pizza on the peel ready to go.  By the time I could get one of the stone/steels into the upper oven and got it up to temperature, my pizza would be wet and stuck to the peel.  Besides, I didn't have all day.

It was then that a lightbulb went off.

I took the cold Baking Steel out of the lower oven and placed it on the stovetop.  I turned the two burners to high and it got really hot in just a few minutes.  With some hot hands, I then placed the hot steel into the hot oven and in went the pizza.

This is one great reason to have a metal pizza surface around like the Pizza - Baking Steel or the new cast aluminum Pizza Grate. i love cooking on my Forno Bravo extra thick pizza stone, but these other products offer some options to play with.

 

In about 7 minutes I pulled the pizza.  Success!  Nicely done.  I sprinkled some chopped Italian Parsley over the top and added some of my favorite Chili Sauce from 800 Degrees Pizzeria. Delicious!  The pistachios were like little toasted pepperoni nuts!  Awesome.

 

*Alternate Version:

For my second version of this I used Peter's Neo-Neopolitan dough and added some sautéed broccolini.  Again, delicious.

 

Two great vegetarian pizzas with some "chops" to stand up and be counted amongst the saltiest and spicy meaty of meatiest pies!

 

Enjoy!

*There are additional photos of the 2nd pizza in the gallery.  The broccolini added a nice juicy texture and flavor to this pizza.

 

 

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