I have been spoiled by my Mom who made homemade pizza every Friday growing up. After that I can never eat street pizza ever again, unless in Rome of course (that is entirely different!). Taking after her, Chris and I make our own pizza when we need to fulfill the craving (not every Friday, although I would love that to be a family tradition in the future). Typically we make a basic Margherita pizza with homemade sauce, basil, and mozzarella, but this past Sunday we each make our own pie.
Chris found a dough recipe from the New York Times. Making your own dough is actually much simpler than it sounds and is completely worth the extra time. I also personally enjoy the satisfaction of making pizza entirely from scratch. Once we rolled out the dough I chose a white pizza with mozzarella, arugula, cherry tomatoes, basil, and red onion. Of course no pizza is complete without garlic, so I scattered chopped garlic on top.
After cooking at 500 degrees, we uncorked a bottle of red and enjoyed. I am already looking forward to the next time. Thinking of ricotta and fig, perhaps Superbowl weekend!
Allie went white. I was more than happy to go red. Over the years I’ve learned to keep pizza simple. I’ve learned that when toppings bake they release moisture and that makes cheese hard to brown and crust hard to crisp. I’ve learned that a perfect pie doesn’t need much but the basics. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Leonardo Da Vinci. Was he referring to pizza? If not, he could have been!
Here, I started with crushed tomatoes darkened with a little red wine vinegar. Then I spread on garlic, basil, thyme, salumi, green chile flakes hauled back from Santa Fe, and as little cheese as my bottomless stomach would let me. Right before I put the pie in, I dabbed olive oil on the crust and, once the pie was done, drizzled on some olio nuovo— oil fresh from the fall harvest–as we’d learned to do when we visited A16.
The pizza came out of the oven. Steam rose from the sauce. All day, a blizzard had been swirling outside. I wedged my biggest knife down through crust. I took the first bite standing up. Someone should tell the Buddhists that nirvana isn’t found in prayer and a vegetable diet, but dough, red sauce, and cheese.