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Diane Morgan, Author of “PIZZA” by Chronicle Books

This interview appeared in the Pizza Therapy January 2006 Pizza News.

Diane Morgan: I grew up in Pittsburgh and all my family is there. Again, it was a bit of serendipity, as Roberto was written up in the Pittsburgh paper and the article was syndicated. I read about him in the Portland, Oregon paper and contacted him. I spent two days studying his technique and learning the Neapolitan pizza style. Roberto was very generous with his knowledge. There are many rules and regulations as to what constitutes a true Neapolitan pizza. He taught me and I followed his method and ingredients to a “T.” Using the true flour, Caputo flour from Naples makes a sublime crust. No other flour came close to duplicating the crust.

Albert: Alright Diane, I must admit publicly, I am having a hard time getting down how to toss a pizza. (But, 2006 is my year to learn! I have been practicing with my Pro Dough! see:

There is a section in pizza where Tony G. gives step by step directions to toss a pizza. Come on Diane, honestly, do you toss your own pizza? Can you give Pizza News readers some tips?

Diane Morgan: I would love to be as good as Tony at tossing dough, forget all the dance routines and over-the-shoulder moves, I want to just be able to toss it up and have it come down wider and flat. But, alas, I am a beginner even after quite a few one-on-one lessons with Tony. If you can bend your wrist back to a 90-degree angle with your palm facing up and flat, you are on your way. Do stretches to increase the flexibility of your wrist–that’s part of the process!!

Albert: You feature over 60 amazing pizza recipes in pizza. You not only cover basic Neapolitan pizza but also Chicago deep dish and even throw in some dessert pizza. I am always interested in how pizza recipes come about.

Were these pizza recipes you and Tony had developed before hand or did you create them especially for the book? Was there a lot of trial and error when you created your pizza recipes?

Diane Morgan: Tony brought many great pizza recipes to the book, as did I. I have taught cooking classes for years, including pizza classes for both Chicago-style and grilled pizzas. I lived in Chicago for almost 6 years, so had a strong background with eating and making deep-dish pizzas. Tony, of course, is an expert in California and New York style pizzas. We really both brought complementary strengths to the book. I developed all the quick and easy pizzas for the book. The dessert pizzas were something Tony had been doing at his pizzeria–a heart-shaped pizza for Valentines; the cannoli pizza as a salute to the fabulous Italian dessert, etc. Several we developed together for the book. Every recipe in the book was developed at least twice. It was the year of eating pizza!!

Albert: Another important fact cited in pizza is, flour does indeed make a difference. You explain that both you and Tony made the exact same dough recipe using different flours and noticed there was a marked difference in taste. Can you explain to Pizza News readers which flour worked best? What flour do you recommend?

Diane Morgan: We make flour recommendations for each style of pizza. Of course, we use Caputo flour for all the Neapolitan pizzas. We did a lot of experimentation to find the right flour for each type of pizza. Tony uses commercial flour at his pizzeria which the home-cook can’t buy. I experimented a lot to find the right flours. We had a lot of success with King Arthur’s unbleached bread flour with 12.7 percent protein. Our grilled pizzas work best with a combination of bread flour and rye flour.

Albert: Talking about flour, you reveal a secret supplier of Caputo Flour (type 00), which is a certified flour by the Association of Real Neapolitan Pizza. How were you able to find your supplier of this flour?

Diane Morgan: With Roberto’s help I was put in touch with the importer for Caputo flour. In fact, Roberto called Naples and I spoke with Mr. Caputo himself. Since the book has come out I have found another source for Caputo flour. Your readers will be able to buy smaller quantities at the website:

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