Written Recipes
Pesto Genovese
Peter Reinhart

 

Note to readers: This is an excerpt from my book, American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza (Ten Speed Press). This recipe is one of my most requested and I think it rivals any pesto recipe I've seen or tried anywhere. Let me know what you think when you try it.

When I first discovered pesto about 35 years ago I thought the heavens had opened and revealed a very special secret. It was so new to Americans then, and now it’s so familiar and has been overused in so many ways that it runs the risk of being a culinary cliché. But throughout my travels in Liguria and Genoa (and thus the term Genovese), where it has been a staple for centuries, nobody seems to tire of it and my passion for it was born anew. The problem with much of the pesto of recent memory in this country is its lack of brightness--not just in color but brightness as a flavor tone. That's where the lemon juice makes the difference in the recipe below--it's my secret ingredient.

My favorite pesto memory in the United States was at the legendary Caffe Sport in North Beach during its glory years in the 1970’s when Tony Latona was alive, roaming back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room. His pesto was bright green, the basil flavor exploded in my mouth, carried by the cheese and pine nut base notes. A lot of restaurant pesto now is a dull green, thick and pasty, the flavors locked up, trapped in the cheese. It had been a long time since pesto sent me into ecstasy but when it was served to us at Ristorante da Vittorio in the town of Recco over some toothsome troffie pasta, I felt as though

 
The Sweet Water Gypsies
Peter Reinhart

This week's Instructional video comes from our weekend at The Fire Within Conference in Boulder, Colorado. When the conference ended we gathered some of the oven owners and filmed a number of demonstrations in the Forno Bravo ovens mounted on Fire Within mobile rigs. We'll be sharing more of these with you during the coming weeks. This time around, meet the Sweet Water Gypsies, two serious pizzaiolas, Monica and Beth, from the national wilderness area of southern Utah. They truly embody the frontier spirit with appealing vitality. Enjoy their fresh mozzarella pizza with tomato sauce, bacon, grana padana cheese and fresh arugula. This one should give all of you a few new ideas....

 

 

 
Crushed Tomato Pizza Sauce
Peter Reinhart

Now that we've posted two easy to make pizza dough recipes, let's continue to build our repertoire of fundamental pizza components. During the next few months we'll post not only these really basic recipes, the essential culinary tool box, so to speak, but also more elaborate recipes and finished dishes, as well as videos with techniques for mixing and shaping dough and such. But for now, let's focus on a great, all purpose red pizza sauce--part of the holy trinity of pizza (you know--dough, sauce, and cheese).

This one is my favorite, go-to sauce when making pizzas at home regardless of the type of dough. I published it originally in American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza, and it has served me well for at least the past ten years. I prefer using crushed or ground tomatoes instead of tomato puree or tomato sauce because I like the texture of the tomato particulates and solids. However, the sauce can also be made with smooth tomato sauce or puree.

As for which brand, well this is very controversial discussion and one that I tread very carefully. Many people absolutely insist on using tomatoes only from San Marzano--not just San Marzano tomatoes,which are a particular type of plum tomato that can be grown anywhere, but tomatoes

 
Classic Pizza Dough, Neo-Neapolitan-Style
Peter Reinhart

 

Classic Pizza Dough, Neo-Neapolitan Style

(Makes five 8-ounce pizzas)

 

What makes this Neo-Neapolitan is that I use American bread flour instead of Italian -00- flour, but you can certainly use Italian flour, such as Caputo, if you want to make an authentic Napoletana dough. Just cut back on the water by about 2 ounces, since Italian flour does not absorb as much as the higher protein American flour. Always use unbleached flour for better flavor but, if you only have bleached flour it will still work even if it doesn’t taste quite as good. If you want to make it more like a New Haven-style dough (or like Totonno’s or other coal-oven pizzerias), add 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. These are optional--the dough is great with or without them. As with the Country Dough, the key is to make it wet enough so that the cornicione (the edge or crown) really puffs in the oven.

Neo-Neopolitan Dough

5 1/4 cups (24 ounces by weight) unbleached bread flour

2 teaspoons (0.5 oz.) kosher salt

 
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!!!

 

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