Pizzeria DelGrosso

20 Apr

Let’s talk Pizza!

Pizzeria DelGrosso

Forget Hot Dogs and Apple Pie. Since Pizza first made it appearance in the United States with the arrival of Italian Immigrants in the late 19th Century, my Grandparents included, I am here to tell you that Pizza has become America’s pastime. America even has it’s own taxonomy of Pizza.

There are more than few reasons why America has an obsession for Pizza. Pizza is the only dish which can be eaten at any time of the day. Whether it is breakfast time or a lunch session, you can have pizza to easily eliminate any kind of hunger. Pizza also tastes great hot or cold, one of the only leftovers that tastes just as good the next day as last night. Pizza is also one of the only foods where all condiments are welcome. Some radicals even pair pineapple with pizza, a revolutionary, if not blasphemous concept. Pizza is just so good that even NASA is trying to develop a 3D-food printing system that will allow astronauts to eat pizza while they are travelling to other worlds.

One of my dreams was to one day open a Pizzeria so to herald my return to blogging, I decided to present an ode to pizza.

While my pizza recipe is not authentic Pizza Napoletana, it holds to it’s framework. That being the ingredients and condiments adheres as much as possible to the tradition, if not the method.

The foundation being the following ingredients :

  • Wheat Flour Type “00”.
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Yeast
  • San Maranzano tomatoes
  • Fresh Mozzarella / Fior di latte
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

So without further ado…

“You can’t make everyone happy. You’re not pizza.” – Anonymous

So when you first think of pizza you think of the dough. Am I right? Now, there are many different palletes out there, so everyone has their own idea of the perfect dough and the perfect crust. In my household the perfect crust should hold the aroma and flavor of well-prepared and well fermented bread. The dough is the base of the pizza. It is something that cannot be taken for granted. While there are many store-made options out there, you cannot simply go and buy your way to a good pizza. Like everything else in life, if you want something done right you must make your own from scratch!

One of the most challenging attributes to a good pizza dough is patience. The fermentation and rising process has to be precisely controlled for temperature and the right length of time. Typically, it is done in 2 steps. The first one for 2 hours, and the second one for another 1 to 2 hours.

I having been following a recipe for several years from Forno Bravo and is a tried and true recipe. This time though I wanted to make the dough a bit more fragrant with a bit more chew to it. I searched and searched until I found this guy, Vito Iacopelli, a true pizzaiolo, and his recipe for the Perfect Pizza Dough.

So, I started the day before with a pre-fermented dough, called a poolish. A poolish is a starter that usually consists of a simple mixture of wheat flour, water, and a leavening agent (typically yeast or a sourdough culture). Using a poolish not only speeds up the dough making process, but it give the dough a really beautifully fragrant smell.

The Poolish

  • 300 ml of Water (must be room temperature)
  • 300 grams Caputo Wheat Flour Type “00”
  • 5 grams Dry Yeast (or 10 grams fresh yeast)
  • 5 grams Honey
  1. In a plastic container with a lid mix the water with the yeast and the honey.
  2. Then add the flour.
  3. Mix with a spoon until well mixed.
  4. At this point I found I needed to add more water than Vito’s recipe. A poolish should be a fairly wet sponge as opposed to a drier starter, like a biga.
  5. Cover with the lid and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for 1 hour.
  6. After 1 hour place in refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
The Poolish after 1 hour on countertop

After putting the poolish in the refrigerator, it was time to go to bed. I love doing these steps late at night so I can go to sleep and let the magic happen while I snooze. The next morning, I was up bright and early to finish the dough.

The Pizza Dough

  • The Poolish
  • 700 ml of Water
  • 40 grams of Sea Salt
  • 1250 grams Caputo Wheat Flour Type “00
  1. In the mixing bowl combine the water with the poolish until well mixed.
  2. Add half of the flour to the mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the salt and mix.
  4. Add the rest of the flour.
  5. At this point I put the bowl in my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook and mixed it on slow for 2 minutes, faster for 5 minutes, then slow again for 2 minutes.
  6. Once the mixing is done, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
  7. After 15 minutes, you can take out of the bowl and fold the dough.
  8. Place some olive oil in your hands and on a lightly floured board or surface work the dough into one big smooth ball.
  9. Rub a little olive oil back into the mixing bowl and take your large ball of dough, keeping the top side up and put back into the mixing bowl.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  11. After 30 minutes, take the ball of dough out of the mixing bowl and place back on your floured work surface.
  12. Again, wet your hands with some olive oil and divide the dough into 5 smaller balls of dough of about 500 grams each.
  13. Place each ball of dough about 3 fingers apart on a tray, rub with a little bit of olive oil.
  14. Cover the tray(s) and allow to rest for at least 2 more hours.
  15. After 2 hours your dough is ready!

Dough balls Post Rise

Now, here is where my version takes a different road. Typically, we think of pizza as a round object. The specifications for Vera Pizza Napoletana clearly states that a pizza must have a 0.1″ thick base, with a thicker edge, must use fresh mozzarella, must be thrown by hand, must use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and must be cooked in a wood-fired oven that has reached 716ºF – 806ºF at the cooking floor / 905ºF (or higher) at the dome. My pizza is square shaped, following the traditions handed down to me by my father, is baked in a gas fired oven that has reached 475ºF and is cooked for about 14-15 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown.

So after the final rise, dust your working surface with some floor, take each individual ball of dough, wet your hands with olive oil once again, and plop it bottom side down on your surface. Take a 13×9 sheet pan, place about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, and wipe it down with a paper towel. Once the pan is prepared, take the dough and spread it out and stretch it to fit the sheet pan. If you are not able to fit the sheet pan and it feels like the dough cannot stretch any more, allow the dough to rest for about 10-15 minutes and repeat.

Once each of you dough balls is formed to your sheet pan, place them aside to rise while you prepare the sauce and your condiments.

The Sauce

  • 1 can (28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  1. Using a potato masher or a food mill, smash tomatoes just enough to remove the big chunks of tomato.
  2. Add the black pepper, salt, and oregano.
  3. That’s it! DONE.
The Sauce

The condiments are the easy part. You can go simple here, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella, or you can go big, adding all kinds of different condiments. It all depends on what you want your pizza to be. My family, we keep it simple.

List of Condiments used:

  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Red Onion
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Baby Spinach
  • Olive Oil

Once you have all you condiments ready, take your first sheet pan with dough and place about 1.5 cups of sauce in the center and spread evenly to just under 1 inch from all the edges. Here, the order in which you spread you condiments is important because it defines your layers of flavor. Spread your garlic first, then the Romano cheese, place the basil leaves, the mozzarella, the red onions, the mushrooms, then finally the baby spinach. Splash with some olive oil to finish it off, then place in a 475ºF for 14-15 minutes. Rotate the pan half-way through baking and after 14 minutes, check the bottom of the crust. Once it is browned to your satisfaction, the pizza is done!

For a simple pizza margherita, simply sprinkle with Romano cheese, tear some basil leaves and spread them around, place your mozzarella evenly around the pizza, splash with olive oil and bake.

Pizza Margherita

Bon Appetito!

2 Responses to “Pizzeria DelGrosso”

  1. Geri Lawhon April 20, 2021 at 11:52 am #

    Thanks for the info and recipe.

    • cjdelgrosso April 20, 2021 at 7:43 pm #

      Your welcome Geri! Thanks for your visit and follow!

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