Holy cow, can’t believe I’m moving to New York City. This Saturday. Am Brooklyn bound. Going back to my roots. Was born in NYC and lived there (Queens) until I was 7-years-old, before moving to New Jersey, Maryland, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. — and now full swing back to New York. Looking forward to experiencing NYC as an adult.
Am ready for a new adventure. I’ve called Chicago (great city, but sooooo cold) and D.C. (too small and sleepy for my liking) home. Brooklyn here we come. Spent the past few weekends apartment hunting and, finally, after much debate on where to settle in Brooklyn, found a new home.
It’s a bit scary and a whole lot exciting. I’m hoping Brooklyn is a place where we can lay down some roots. Stick around for a while. Maybe own a house someday (with a little patch of green to call my own).
I’m scared about what I will do next professionally, a question I’ve been struggling with ever since college graduation (many moons ago). Am ready to feel content/be at peace with my life.
Of course, I’m excited to explore a new city with Patrick. And I’m very excited to explore the NYC food scene.
Today is a small homage to my soon-to-be future home and its Italian immigrants who brought pizza to our shores. I’ll probably never want to make pizza again once we hit NYC, as good pizza is abundant.
Homemade pizza, made in a household (or in my case, crappy apartment) oven, doesn’t stack up to a professional coal-fired/wood-fired oven that can reach 800F (or hotter). Those high temps help to ensure that all the components (the dough, the sauce, the cheese) cook harmoniously.
Nonetheless, you can still make a pretty darn good pizza at home. After all, it’s made by hand and that’s most definitely something you should be proud of.
I like 00 flour. It produces a crispier crust compared to all-purpose flour.
When it comes to sauce-to-cheese ratio, I lean towards sauce. Typically, I find it the other way around, too much cheese and not enough sauce. That’s the great thing about making pizza yourself. You get to decide.
Kept it simple with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil…
With a handful of baby arugula, shaved Parmesan Reggiano, and finished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Tomato passata, such as this one
handful basil leaves, chopped or torn by hand
salt to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
Place the tomato passata in a bowl. Add basil. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes.
makes 3 large or 4 medium pizzas
500 grams 00 flour (I like Caputo)
310 ml water, lukewarm
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for coating
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon *active dry or instant yeast
*If you’re using active dry yeast, dissolve it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly. If you’re using instant yeast, you can skip this step.
Combine the dissolved yeast (or the instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together, either by hand or using a stand mixer with the dough hook, until the dough is soft and smooth. If you’re using a stand mixer, it should take 4-5 minutes on the second speed. By hand, knead until springy and soft, about 7-10 minutes.
Divide the dough into three (~270 grams each) or four (~200 grams each) equal portions depending on desired size. Lightly coat each round with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about one hour.
Alternatively, let the dough rise slowly in the refrigerator for 24 hours (the dough will develop more flavor). Remove the dough from the refrigerator at least two hours before making the pizza so the dough comes up to room temperature.
Finishing the Pizza
Preheat your oven, with the pizza stone in it, for at least one hour at your oven’s highest temperature, typically 500F to 550F.
Shape your dough. Lightly flour your pizza peel (if using); finely ground semolina works well to prevent sticking. Add the sauce, cheese, desired toppings, and slide onto the hot pizza stone. Bake until crispy around the edges and the cheese is bubbling hot.