Instructionals
A Pizzeria Basta Market Menu Pizza
Brad English

When I make a few pizzas, the one I often end up liking the best was the one that wasn't planned so much, but just sort of came together.  This pizza may have been born because I was in a store and something caught my eye.  I might have come across a new pile of chili peppers.  I might have sampled 5 or 6 salted pork products and found something interesting.  Or, I may have had something at home that spurred an idea or tied some of the other ingredients I had shopped for together. 

This favorite pizza of mine is more often than not the "Last Pizza" I made. It's my left over ingredient pizza, or my "idea pizza."  It's the one where I let chance or even fate drive the story of the pizza I am creating.  This is a fun pizza to make.  It comes together a little more organically, as if you said to yourself that you felt like pizza that day and went out to the garden to see what you could find.  The "Last Pizza" is truly a creation from scratch.  When you hit a home run, or sometimes a grand slam with this pizza, it's a little more special because there is just a touch more discovery here than when you follow a recipe.  I think there is a bit of this in all the pizzas we make, which may be why we're on a quest here.

Kelly Whitaker at Pizzeria Basta has a list of pizzas on his menu that are always there like most restaurants. As a customer, you know you can get your favorite pizza, which is what we often crave. He also has a Market Menu that is driven by this same concept of cooking with the most fresh and interesting ingredients you can find. I love that in a restaurant.  It makes me feel that the chef is thinking and touching the process and, more importantly, caring about it.  If I were a chef, I would certainly want to cook this way.  They spend a lot of time developing the menu designed to satisfy their customers.  But, I think that a chef would enjoy this process of discovering and creating something new even more than I do with my "Last Pizza".  To Kelly, I imagine this is what the Market Menu provides for him. And, if you're like me, it provides a great option as a customer to enjoy something new at a familiar place.

I will probably continue to visit Basta's website (www.pizzeriabasta.com) to see what new Market Menu pizzas Kelly and his team come up with.  After all, I am just a home cook; Kelly is the chef and I am happy to follow his lead and make and share his pizza ideas.  Interestingly, as I choose to make my versions of Kelly's Market Menu Pizzas in the future, they will become my planned pizzas and, while I'm out shopping for those ingredients, I will keep an eye out for something different for my own new Last Pizza for that day!

Looking at his Market Menu pizza online recently, I could see that this was definitely a gourmet ingredient driven pizza.  First of all, he is using the Bianco Dinapoli Organic Tomatoes.  I did a series of recipes using these - just a simple crushed tomato sauce with nothing added, and it was almost unbelievable how good they were.  In fact, my son Owen commented that day on how great my sauce was.  It was such hard work for me.  I opened the can and squeezed the tomatoes into a bowl by hand. How pure is that? 

He also used a nice salami that

 
A Morphed Pizza Dough
Teresa Greenway

Morphed Pizza Dough with Mushrooms, Blueberries and Spinach


Lately I have been thinking about morphing a sourdough crust dough with a commercially yeasted crust dough and combining the best qualities of both. Using a sourdough levain or starter in your pizza dough can make a significant flavor and texture difference. The sourdough starter adds acidity to the dough which affects strength and flavor. The commercial yeast helps the crust ferment more quickly so it is a lighter, less tough dough. Add the two together and you get a quick, airy, chewy crust with good flavor. Here is the recipe for the dough, it makes two large 15” pizzas:

 

Proof two teaspoons of commercial yeast in 2 oz of water for 15 minutes.
Add together in a large mixing bowl or dough mixing trough:
•    10 oz/283g sourdough starter @ 100% hydration
•    2 oz/56g evaporated milk
•    10 oz/283g warm water
•    The commercial yeast/water mixture
•    16 oz/453g bread flour

Mix these ingredients together and allow them to rest for 30 minutes. After resting add:
•    .6 oz/17g sea salt
•    1 oz/28g oil

Stir the salt/oil in well and then add an additional:
•    8 oz/226g bread flour

For the last 8 oz of flour, add most of it (6-7 oz) to the dough and then knead the dough for 10 – 15 minutes using the flour left over for kneading. After the dough feels smooth and soft and you can stretch a windowpane, pat or spray oil on the outside of your dough and then let the dough bulk ferment for two hours in a covered container. Divide the dough into two pieces once the bulk ferment is done. Then proceed as usual. I divided the dough and let the pieces set for 15 minutes and then stretched/rolled them out. I placed them on parchment paper and allowed them to proof for 45 minutes. Then spread your choice of sauce and toppings. I used white cheese, spinach, mushrooms and blueberries. Bake at 500F on a very hot baking stone for 7 – 12 minutes. Makes about 3 lbs of dough @ 65% hydration.

Teresa Greenway
http://www.northwestsourdough.com

 

*Note from Brad:  Thanks again Teresa for another great recipe!  I hope this inspires others to jump in and try these and even share more of their own with us all here!

 

 
Kelly's White Pizza
Brad English

I'm currently exploring some of Pizzeria Basta's great pizzas.  The word Basta means "enough" in Italian.  I think that word offers a great insight into Kelly's cooking in general.  With Basta he created a pizzeria restaurant that showcases delicious foods in a simple and pure way.  He also wants everything to be "touched by the fire," so literally everything eventually sees some time in his custom wood fired oven, either from start to finish, or as a finishing touch like his Sous Vide Beef Ribs that slowly cook under pressure for up to 72 hours, and then see the intense heat of the wood fired oven just long enough to add the crispy charred outer layer that completes the dish.  He allows his ingredients to speak for themselves and blends them beautifully.

I think Kelly's concept of "Enough" speaks to the simplicity, balance, and purity of the tastes he is striving to share with his customers.  When you watch him preparing a dish (we hope to bring you more videos of that soon), you see that he is taking those elements into consideration at every step.  He doesn't just place an ingredient on a pizza.  You see him staring, almost analyzing each move he makes.  You can imagine that in his mind you'd be hearing "That's just right.", or "Enough" when he places his basil down, or adds a touch of salt, or even the amount of cheese he lays across a pie.  The bottom line is that he cares about what he is doing and that transforms ordinary quality ingredients into something great.

I love that about his cooking.  It brings a true balance to all of his food.  He allows each ingredient to be tasted and yet become something more when brought together.

Enough!

One of the perfect pizzas on his menu that celebrates this philosophy is the White Pizza.  It is dough, cheese, basil and a little garlic.  That's simple perfection.  You'll see below how, in my version, I added a little more than enough of one ingredient.  Although my pizza was fantastic I came away with a better understanding of what Kelly was striving for because of my own lesson in finding balance.


Kelly's White Pizza


- Peter's Classic Pizza Dough *See archives for recipe
- Peter's Herb Oil *See archives for recipe
- Ricotta
- Mozzarella
- Parmesan
- Sliced Garlic
- Whole Fresh Basil Leaves

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to highest temperature (550 on most home ovens) for at least 45 minutes to an hour prior to baking in order to get your pizza stone up to the right temperature.

Spread out your dough and place it on your well-floured pizza peel.

Add a little Herb Oil to the dough - Hint: use just "enough"!

Add the Mozzarella and pinches of the Ricotta cheeses.  Consider how they will melt together to determine the amount you want.

Add a little thinly sliced garlic

Drag your basil leaves through the garlic oil to coat and place them on the pizza.  In fact, if you are doing this, you may even omit the step where you add the herb oil to the dough.  I think this alone will be "enough".  I like the way the basil comes out when it has some oil on it.  It stays a little more moist and also gets crispy.

It's time for the oven.

This one baked for 7 minutes on Convection Bake - which adjusts my temperature down to 525 degrees.

Looks nice! It has a nice deep colored crust and a little charring.

Add a little Sea Salt and you are good to go.

The crust is puffy and the pizza has some nice caramelizing all around.  It is delicious.  You experience the warm crust followed by the garlic cheese and the then aromatic basil chimes in as a finishing note. 

*Note: As I said above, my version had a little too much oil.  Next time, I would adjust the amount I used on the crust back a little bit.  I don't know if Kelly used a little oil on his crust - it's not listed in the ingredients on the menu.  I added it because I love what this herb oil does - especially on simple cheese featured pizzas, so I almost always add it if I'm not using another sauce. 



 
Kelly's Arugula Pizza
Brad English

When we first began contemplating what Pizza Quest could be as a Travel/Food Series, one of our early goals was that the show would vicariously transport viewers around the world as we journeyed on our quest to find the secrets to that perfect pizza. I wanted people to feel what I had when I first read Peter's book, "American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza".  As I read the opening chapters I felt as if I was connected to Peter as he described the places, the people, the smells, the tastes and some of the secrets of the master pizzaiolos he had found.  I knew right away that this had to be a show some day. I mean, who doesn't love pizza?  But, even more than the recipes and great pizza I hoped to make, I think it was about the experiences that Peter shared that made the biggest impression on me (don't get me wrong, the recipes are great and my pizzas are well on their way toward perfection, if that's even a possible end goal).

Over the years I had always loved my own "journeys" when I watched Anthony Bourdain exploring so many cultures and tasting such amazing food.  My favorite parts of those travels was when it seemed I forgot I was watching a show and would just get lost in the moment, as if I was with a good group of people all enjoying the shared passion of good food and good conversation.  Nobody can take you to this place like Anthony.  You really should "travel" with him if you can.  He's on TV every week - don't miss it!

 

I also remember the hours I've spent sitting there with Mario Batali as if I were the 4th guest on Molto Mario while he cooked another mouth watering meal he had learned while studying in Italy.  His passion for not only cooking, but for the story of cooking, or really the people and traditions behind the cooking, is what ultimately sparked my interest as a home cook.  I think that's why so many Food and Travel shows are so popular.  We all can't get everywhere we'd like, or travel with our favorite TV show hosts in the real world.  A well done food/travel show, book, blog, or even a recipe can transport us there instead, even if for only a little slice of that moment in time.  With food I think that experience can be heightened because we use so many of our senses in the process of cooking and, ultimately, tasting the food. 

I recently watched an episode of Bourdain's "No Reservations" with my son, Owen.  Anthony took us on a trip to Brittany, France where, by the time it was over, Owen was making plans to go to Brittany when we could somehow make the time.  The kid is a dreamer!  We'll probably have to settle for a shellfish tower here where we live, in Redondo Beach, which to someone else in the world may be as exciting as a trip to Brittany would be for us!  Or, on our quest for a better quality of life, maybe we'll bring a little Brittany here to our home and, by doing so, we'll not only taste a little of what Brittany is about, but also crack a few crabs, pull a few shrimp, and dip a few lobsters with a few of our friends. 

From the beginning, our website was intended to be a community, or gathering place where we could continue to share the experience, or quest with our viewers and hopefully, have them share back. 

I was thinking about all of this recently when I was planning to make a new round of pizzas. I thought about one of my favorite chefs. I've had the pleasure to eat his food and spend a bit of time with him over the past year thanks to Pizza Quest.  His name is Kelly Whitaker, of Pizzeria Basta in Boulder, CO.  I thought I might take a little quest-like trip and see if I couldn't bring a little of the Pizzeria Basta magic home for a night.  So, I took a look at Kelly's menu on the Basta website and decided to make a few pizzas of his, both to test my skills, and also to share of some of his great pizzas with my family. 

I'm going to make a few of them and write about them over the next few weeks.  The first one is the pizza Kelly simply calls "Arugula" on his menu. 

Kelly's Arugula Pizza


- Pizza Quest Signature Pizza Dough *See archives for recipe
- Peter's Herb Oil *See archives for recipe
- Smoked Gouda *Kelly calls for Smoked Mozzarella
- Grape Tomatoes
- Prosciutto
- Wild Arugula 

Instructions:

*Note:  My ingredients vary here a little from Kelly's original recipes because of what I could find in the store, or I had on hand to use.  Again, I want to stop and point out how truly fun this aspect of cooking is. Using a substitute ingredient will not only make the recipe a little more of your own, but will also open up the opportunities of discovering other taste connections and aha's.

Make sure to pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees, or higher if it can go.  Later, before baking, I put my oven onto Convection Bake, which automatically lowers it to 525 degrees. This seems to cook my pizzas faster by moving the hot air around the oven.

Spread the pizza dough out on your floured peel.

Drizzle a little of Peter's Herb Oil on the dough.  I added this, because I nearly always use this on any pizza that doesn't have a tomato sauce. 

Add the grated Smoked Gouda, or Smoked Mozzarella

Add the halved grape tomatoes, cut side down.

Tear some prosciutto into pieces and place them around the dough.

Into the oven it goes.  When it comes out nobody knows (your oven will decide that)!  But, through repetition, I know that mine comes out in 8 minutes. 

Add a little fresh Arugula to the top, to taste, to finish it.


Cut and Serve.

This was a sweet, smokey, herby, "prosciuttoey" pizza. The tomatoes steam and soften and kick in a sweetness that literally pops in your mouth with flavor.  This was juicy and moist and warm and just plain old awesome!

That's my version, so who has another variation?  Let us know and thanks to Kelly for the original!

 

 

 

 
A Crab Dip Pizza
Brad English

How can I use crab on a pizza?  I had crab - if not just out of the ocean fresh it was caught by my friends steamed and brought home to me.  In my mind that's far better than just caught fresh any day!  As I hope you've already read, I had decided to make one pizza with some of the fresh cracked crab placed on top of the warm pizza after it baked. I thought that would be a great way to use the crab as close to it's original form.  But, what else do I love with crab?  What other ways could I use the rest of my supply?  That's simple.  Crab Dip!  I love crab dip.

Crab Dip is already practically a pizza topping waiting to happen.  It's a warm cheesy topping that you spread on a cracker, or a slice of bread.  What does Peter always call pizza?  He says it's basically "dough with something on it."  That pretty much brings your typical crab dip served up on a slice of a nice baguette into the realm of Pizza.  Wouldn't you agree?  The simplified instructions would be:  Place crab dip onto pizza crust.  Cook.  Eat.

So, off I went to the internets, as I like to say. Let's see what kind of Crab Dip recipes we can catch there.  I browsed a few references for Crab Dip and Spicy Crab Dip until one jumped off the page from the Food Network.  It was Emeril's "Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip".  It looked Hot as in spicy and it had the word Jalapeños!  I didn't need to wander any more.  I was hooked (or, netted to play the pun) as I read the ingredient list and surprised to see he didn't call for just jalapeños, but pickled jalapeños!  Well, who do we know who has his own pickled jalapeños sitting in the fridge that were made by none other than MOM herself!  It was me. I had Mom's Pickled Jalapeños, which is what I wanted to use anyway.  Crab, Emeril and Pizza - how could that be a bad combination?  This was going to be fun.

You can go to Food Network, or simply google "Emeril's Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip" to get his original recipe.  I didn't create this, I just used it as the basis for my pizza.  I will post the recipe here as I modified it for my use.  For the original, please go directly to the master himself! 

A Cracked Crab Dip Pizza


- Peter's Classic Pizza Dough *See archives for recipe
- Peter's Herb Oil *See archives for recipe
- Emeril's Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip *I did a modified version.  Or, use your favorite crab dip.
- Monterey Jack and Mozzarella Cheese
- A little Cream Cheese
- A little grated Parmesan Cheese
- Arugula
- Limes for drizzling


Instructions:

My version of Emeril's "Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip"

I halved his recipe as a guide because I was making one pizza and had about 1/2 the crab called for in his original recipe!  The left overs were delicious as well the next few days!

- 1/2 pound Cracked crab, or packaged Lump Crab
- Chopped Garlic - about 1/2 teaspoon
- Grated Monterey Jack, Mozzarella and Cream Cheese
- Chopped Mom's Pickled Jalapeños
- 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon of Hot Sauce - I used Frank's Red Hot
- 1/4 cup of Mayonnaise

Combine the Crabmeat, Garlic, Mom's Jalapeños, Cheeses, Worcesterchire, Hot Sauce and Mayo in a mixing bowl.  I added the 3 cheeses by eye - wanting this cheesy, but not too cheesy.  For my version I added a little cream cheese to make it a little creamier. I did not add any salt at this point because I felt that my Mom's SOY Pickled Jalapeños had enough and I like to finish the warm pizza with a little anyway.

There is no need to pre-bake this.  Just mix it and set it aside.  Bake the rest of it after you are done making your pizzas for later.  Again, check out Emeril's original for the official version.

The Crab Dip Pizza

Pre-heat your oven to the highest temperature (about 550 degrees) for at least an hour prior to baking your pizzas to make sure your pizza stone comes up to temperature.

Spread your dough out on the pizza peel and cover lightly with some of Peter's versatile Herb Oil.

Add the Crab Dip onto the pizza.  Spread it out a bit.  It will cook down and flatten out as it bakes.  I sprinkled a little more cheese on top as well before baking.

That's it:  Dough then Dip.  Now it goes into the oven.  My oven was now on Convection Bake at 525.  This pizza went in at 12 after the hour and came out at 19.  That's 7 minutes.  Pretty fast for a home oven.  And, look at the bits of char I got.  This was a nice bake for a home oven. 

Right when it comes out of the oven hit it with some fresh squeezed lime and don't be shy about it.

Top with some wild arugula and a little grated parmesan cheese to finish.

Cut and Serve!

This was rich and spicy!  This is not a pizza you'll sit down and eat by yourself.  But, as an appetizer, or if you are sharing, it was really nice.  Imagine taking your favorite crab dip and spreading it over a warm hot slice of an amazing bread that you just pulled out of the oven. Ok, that's this pizza!  Delicious.

Try it out.  Let me know if you've ever done this, or if you do, what you did to make it your own.  Interestingly, I pulled a slice of this out of the fridge the next day and took a bite of it cold.  It was really good - cold.  It wasn't as rich and I ate a couple slices as my breakfast of champions meal of the day. 

Thanks Emeril and thanks to my friends the Wildermuth's for bringing me some of their Dungeness catch to both enjoy with them and take more home to explore some new pizza ideas!

 

 

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