As many of you know, Chris Bianco has joined forces with Rob DiNapoli of DiNapoli Specialty Foods. They have come up with a new product that Chris had been nudging Rob to create for some time. There has been a limited supply of their new Bianco DiNapoli Organic Tomatoes available at some select pizzerias and restaurants and we have been lucky enough to be "in the loop!" I happen to be sitting on a small supply. So, I recently decided to use them here at home and make some pizzas to play with that set the tomatoes up as the star. Since we are running a series on Tony Gemignani and I know he's one of the other lucky ones to have a supply of these tomatoes, I thought I would pick a few of his pizzas to re-make here at home.
The first one I started with was his Coney Island Pizza. This is one of his creations that features the Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes that are simply hand crushed and placed on the pie with a little added sea salt. It also has a number of other ingredients that sing that siren song to me: hot peppers, spicy pork products, roasted yellow peppers, and a blend of cheeses.
I had some of our Signature Bruery Beer Dough on hand (hidden in my freezer) from our last filming event down at the Bruery, so I used that. Following is the recipe and photos.
But, there's a big "aha moment" I'd like to share. As I was making this pizza, and setting up to make a few more afterward, my son Owen was circling the kitchen like a Great White waiting for the pizza to come out of the oven. "Dad, when's the pizza going to be ready?" You all know how that goes. I'm covered in flour, sauce, taking pictures, chopping vegetables, laying out the next set of ingredients, and I keep getting the occasional bump from my growing little Great White. Anyway, I finished the first pizza, and he came in for his feeding, taking a slice and going to the table.
My wife, was helping me, as I worked on the next pizza. Out of nowhere Owen says: "Dad -- this sauce is awesome!" I looked at Shanna, who knew that I was making all of these pizzas to play with Chris and Rob's new tomatoes, but Owen (age 12) had no idea. This really hit me. The sauce was just the tomatoes processed through my fingers into a bowl. That's it. I didn't even add any sea salt, because I figured there was plenty of other things going on with the salted pork and peppers. Maybe Rob and Chris got to Owen in a plot to make their sauce really stand out? I don't know. He hasn't purchased anything new with a secret source of income recently. So, I'll just say, "Wow!" And, it was good. Each of the tomato pies I made that day were really good. I'll post the rest of them in the coming weeks….
Tony Gemignani's Coney Island Pizza (Brad's Version)
Pizza Quest Signature Beer Dough (or use your favorite pizza dough)
Mozzarella (low moisture, full fat)
Hand Crushed Bianco DiNapoli Tomatoes (the secret ingredient -- but try it with your favorite brand or canned plum tomatoes until they make it available to the public, whenever that may be)
Roasted Yellow Peppers
I went to my local Whole Foods to get some of the ingredients. I really wanted to find good quality ingredients to put together with these tomatoes. I had to make some substitutions while at the store, because certain things in Tony's original version were not available. That is part of the fun -- trying something new, or finding an exciting option. I couldn't find any Calabrese Peppers so I picked up some Hatch Peppers. Apparently, these are the "hot" item these days when they're available (only this time of the year). I now see why! They are spicy -- very hot when raw, but I noticed that they became almost sweet when baked into my pizza. They're still hot, but not overpowering. I also found a great Spicy Coppa Piccante from La Quercia that was perfect for this pizza.
--Shape your Dough
--Add grated Mozzarella on top of the dough
--Top with Hand Crushed Bianco DiNapoli Tomatoes (or, any other high quality tomato)
--Add the Coppa Piccante slices
--Add sliced Hatch Peppers and Roasted Yellow Peppers
--Add Chopped Serrano Chili
--Top with Grated Provolone
Into the pre-heated oven it goes, on a preheated baking stone if possible (make it as hot as your oven allows). Nobody knows for how long. Ok, maybe we know - about 8-10 minutes for me, maybe less if your oven is hotter than mine.
I mucked up my dough on this pie in the photo -- having it a little too thin in the middle and it ripped somewhat and the pizza wasn't perfect. So much effort, shopping, chopping, grating, hand crushing down the drain? But, that's only if we were just talking about the photos. This pizza rocked! As Owen said, the sauce was incredible. The blend of ingredients makes this one of my favorite pizzas in a while (I say that a lot, I guess). But it will become a regular in my house for sure -- at least as long as those tomatoes hold out. The hatch peppers were great, you can see I didn't add too many after tasting them raw, but next time I won't be so shy.
Take a whirl at this one, and let us know what you come up with…