chicago: one of the great food cities
taurino salento rosso notarpanaro 1999

pizza should be taken from your oven, not from a box

Pizzahotpeppers3_1Pizza and burgers  have a lot in common.  The most notable commonality is that very few restaurants make a decent version, and you can do much better at home.

I urge anyone who hasn't to buy a pizza stone.  They're about 20 bucks or so and if you don't mess with them they'll last forever.  Don't listen to the people who tell you to go to Home Depot to buy unglazed ceramic tiles.  Who can be bothered.

For me, the ideal pizza is made in a wood-fired brick oven in Naples.  Unfortunately, I've yet to actually have pizza made in a wood-fired brick oven in Naples, but i think i get the concept:  a super-hot oven, a thin-ish chewy crust, fresh and bright ingredients, and keep it simple, stupid.

Low-moisture cheese is key to making pizza at home.  Too much liquid (from fresh mozz) will destroy your crust, making it a soggy mess. my current favorite for pizza is cappiello, which is available at my local Stop and Shop.    As for tomatoes, I go for Pomi brand.  It's the best product in the supermarket aisles for my money.  Don't forget to salt and pepper the sauce.  Maybe some oregano if that does anything for you. 

As for dough, I have to admit that I can't be bothered making it (Update:   this has all changed and I'm now making dough...more to come).  However, I have put considerable effort into buying dough from every pizza place in town until i came up with my favorite.  For 2 bucks per pizza dough (enough for 2-3 thin crust pizzas), you shouldn't be bothered to make it either (unless, of course, you can!).

Slide the thing onto a pizza stone that has been heating in your oven for at least an hour.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the crust is just on the almost-burnt side of burnt.  I often open the oven door periodically.  My thought is that an oven will get too hot, and the toppings will "cook" more quickly than the crust browns.  Grate some parmigiano reggiano on top, throw around a chiffonade of fresh basil, and enjoy.

You'll figure it out on your own.  Trust me.