For those of you who don’t know Giuseppe, let me introduce you.
I first met Giuseppe at Ultimo, his Italian restaurant in Syosset (in the same location as Steve’s Piccola Bussola). I met him only once and only ate in his restaurant once..and not because it wasn’t good (it was very good); it was because I simply didn’t want to pay for food I could prepare myself on a similar level.
My way…what can I say?
I’m not sure why, but one day the restaurant was gone and so was Giuseppe.
I’m also not sure what lead me to Giuseppe at his custom tailor shop in East Hills, just off the Expressway by Exit 39, but I’m sure it had something to do with garment hangers. What fine custom tailor doesn’t need fine custom hangers?
As Giuseppe tells it, he wanted a change…so there he was making the finest un-fused custom suits on Long Island…and there we were together again.
Me being me, and Giuseppe being Giuseppe, the conversations gravitated to food and family…my family, his family…and recipes.
Giuseppe now operates his shop in the center of Locust Valley (by the railroad tracks) and it is there, just the other day, where we discussed his pizza recipe.
His recipe is not too far off from mine, however it’s the application of ingredients, and his particular combination of herbs and spices that sets this simple recipe apart.
So…without further ado, here is Giuseppe’s Winter Pizza Recipe that will now be served a menu item for BetsaPasta.
Ingredients…all easy to find:
* A Pizza Stone
*Pizza Dough from your local pizza parlor (calzone size for round or for any shape that develops or buy a whole pizza dough and cut it in thirds since half will be too big for your oven’s mandatory pizza stone)
*Canned plum tomatoes…cored and seeds removed…and pressed until tomatoes are liquid free (set on paper towels or dish towel to further reduce liquid content of tomatoes)
*Polly-O whole milk mozzarella (Sargento will work fine). I used to use pizza cheese from the pizza parlor, however Giuseppe swears by Polly-O!
*Grated Italian Pecorino Romano
*Extra virgin olive oil
*Bit O kosher salt
*Corn Meal (Polenta)
-Preheat your oven on bake to 500 degrees or hotter(up to 550)
-Spread corn meal (polenta) on pizza paddle. These little round pieces of corn meal will act as roller balls to help slide the pizza off the paddle and onto the the pizza stone flawlessly. They also add a little crunch and a lot of flavor! There is some technique involved and you can call me or email me for this info if you want to… ie….Before putting pizza in the oven, shake paddle a bit to make sure the pizza moves back and forth on the paddle. In this manner, it will roll off cleanly onto the pizza stone.Throw away any extra “roller balls” on the paddle.
-Flour your dough and spread open thin into any shape. It doesn’t have to be perfectly round.
-Chiffonade or chop fresh basil into small amount of EVOO and spread this blend very lightly over dough
-Giuseppe’s Secret Step 1…Cut cheese into app. 1.5″ squares and place on first, before tomatoes.
-Add modest amount of chopped, cored, seedless and liquid free tomatoes
-Add garlic powder & oregano and kosher salt to taste (remember, easy on the salt as there is plenty in the cheeses)
-Top with grated Pecorino Romano
-Bake on pizza stone for approximately 4-5 minutes until edges are dark brown and cheeses are bubbling (watch carefully as these pizzas will cook VERY fast)
-Remove from oven with pizza paddle, let sit for about 2 minutes and then cut into any shape you like with a pizza cutter or chef’s knife laid over the pie and cut from point to end of blade.
Summer Pizza …substitute fresh tomatoes that have been sliced and laid on paper towels to remove excess water. Fresh oregano or garlic are always options at any time of year, however this is not part of Giuseppe’s original recipe for winter.
Of course we all know anything goes, so add veggies or anything you like, taking care to make sure you don’t weigh down the pizza…thus making it hard to get off the paddle and into the oven
If it gets too heavy, you can roll it up and make “Seredipity” Pizza.
Roll it like a jelly roll and clamp it shut all over with your fingers…coat it with a little EVOO and bake it for a minute or two longer than the regular pizza…and then slice it in cross sections when ready to serve.
Anything goes…experiment…have fun…that’s what it’s all about in the kitchen…and that’s how new recipes are born!
Please feel free to email me or comment with suggestions or recipes of your own.
Bye for now…