INTRODUCTION IT’S REALLY UP TO YOU.
The hidden reality of pizza is that you can easily make better pizza at home than you can buy at any but the best independently owned, quality-focused pizzerias. All you need are good ingredients—flour, canned tomatoes, and cheese—plus a few tools and a standard home kitchen oven. And some good instruction. Even if you live somewhere that has great pizzerias, imagine making your own—a pizza that you can be proud of and is exactly how you like it. Discover for yourself what different cheeses are like on pizza: splurge on water buffalo mozzarella, see what happens when you seek out caciocavallo cheese, or try adding freshly grated Pecorino Romano. Master thin-crust and Neapolitan-style pizza. Bang out a couple of killer pan pizzas to eat with Sunday football. Serve it with confidence to your family and friends. Making it yourself will give you a greater appreciation for the craft of the pizzaiolos
at your favorite pizzeria: you will probably find yourself looking more closely at their shaping technique; the dough they use and its texture; and how it’s topped, loaded into the oven, and baked. By making pizza yourself, you become more intimate with it. It’s seductive. You are more informed, and that understanding leads to better pizza, great pleasure, and plenty of pride. THE FERDINANDO
Makes one 12-inch pizza
Imagine yourself as the king of Naples in 1782. You want pizza, but you don’t want your wife, Queen Maria Carolina, to find out. So you disguise yourself as a commoner, sneak out of the castle, and slink through the streets to a pizzeria called Ntuono (Tony’s) to satisfy your craving. Pizza is for common folk, not for royalty like you; don’t you know that? You order the same pizza everybody else orders, topped with olive oil, garlic, oregano, and salt, with a little bit of cheese sprinkled on after it is baked. DUDE, she’s going to smell the garlic on your breath!
If it was good enough for Ferdinando to sneak out for, risking the wrath of his royal lady, then it must have been pretty tasty. And this historic pizza of Naples is also a delicious model of simplicity. Like all of the very simple pizzas, it demands an excellent crust.
To bake this pizza, you’ll pass on the broil stage I recommend for most of the pizzas in this book, removing the pie after 5 minutes of baking. The oil and the garlic should be completely done at this point. Any extra baking, or finishing with a broil stage, will burn both the garlic and the bubbles in the crust. 1 dough ball Extra-virgin olive oil 3 or 4 cloves garlic 0.5 gram ( 3⁄4 teaspoon) dried oregano Sea salt 15 grams (about 1⁄4 cup) finely grated pecorino cheese
1. If you use a dough recipe that calls for refrigeration, remove your dough ball from the refrigerator about 60 to 90 minutes before baking pizza. Put your pizza steel or stone on an upper rack in your oven no more than 8 inches below the broiler. Preheat the oven to 550°F (290°C) for 45 minutes.
2. Slice the garlic thinly, place it in a small bowl, and drizzle just enough olive oil over it to coat the slices. Use your fingers to ensure each slice is coated—this prevents the garlic from burning. Set aside.
3. Set up your pizza assembly station. Give yourself about 2 feet of width on the countertop. Moderately flour the work surface. Position your peel next to the floured area and dust it lightly with flour. Have the olive oil, garlic, oregano, sea salt, and cheese at hand. Switch the oven to broil 10 minutes before loading the pizza.
4. To shape the pizza, put the dough ball on the floured work surface and flip to coat both sides moderately with white flour. Use the shaping method shown on pages 92 to 95. Transfer the disk of pizza dough to the peel. Run your hands around the perimeter to relax it and work out the kinks.
5. Drizzle about 20 grams (1 1⁄2 tablespoons) of olive oil over the dough. Sprinkle the garlic and then the oregano evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle with sea salt. Turn off the broiler, then gently slide the pizza onto the pizza steel or stone. Close the oven door and change the oven setting to bake at 550°F (290°C). Let the pizza bake for about 5 minutes, until the crust is golden with spots of dark brown. The garlic color rules when to remove this pizza—don’t let the garlic go beyond medium brown, and skip the broil step for this pizza, as it tends to scorch the garlic. Use tongs or a fork to slide the pizza from the pizza steel or stone onto a large plate.
6. Top the pizza with the grated cheese and drizzle a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil over it, and serve whole or sliced.
Copyright © 2016 by Ken Forkish. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.