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Peppe Miele, Part 7, Marinara Pizza

In bread baking, it is the simple baguette that is held as the benchmark of a baker’s skills. A Mexican restaurant better make a killer salsa or I’m out of there. Any ice cream artiste can make fanciful flavors but it is their vanilla or chocolate that proves if they have the golden touch.  For Neapolitan pizzas, it is the Margherita, for sure, but also the lesser known (in the USA) Marinara Pizza that really shows off a pizzaiolo’s skill. When all you have is sauce, dough, and a few herbs there’s no place to hide, no ingredients to cover your flaws.

So here, in this segment, Peppe takes us through the steps of a beautiful, classic Marinara Pizza.  As you watch, here are a few things to note: The underskirt of the crust is perfect, with nice leopard-like char spots but no burns; a tasteful sprinkle of fresh herbs and thinly sliced garlic cloves make all the flavors pop; an extra drizzle of olive oil just before serving pumps up the richness; and, most important, Peppe’s keyword, “Balance.”

We have featured Marinara pizza before, with Tony Gemignani and also Kelly Whitaker — each version similar yet slightly different from Peppe’s — and the interesting thing is how much each of these pizzaiolo’s love this pie. It’s an “essence” pizza, all about the crust and sauce.  The more pizzas one eats, I think, the more we are drawn back to simplicity and essence. That said, you better have a great dough, fabulous tomato sauce, a properly heated oven, and practiced hand-skills to pull off this essential pizza. I remember having a Marinara Pizza at da Michaela in Naples, where they only serve two types, Margherita and Marinara. As far as they were concerned, you don’t really need any other kind if you know how to properly make these two. The always long wait for a table there (we actually had to take numbers and stand outside for 45 minutes to wait to be called) proved their point. Now, watch Peppe show us how to properly make, and also how to properly eat, a slice of Marinara Pizza.

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Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.

Peter’s Books

American Pie
Artisan Breads Every Day
The Bread Bakers Apprentice
Brother Junipers Bread Book
Crust and Crumb
Whole Grain Breads

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