Tag Archives: Pizza

The Dough Boys

14 Nov

What to do on a cold Saturday afternoon? Attend a pizza/ciabatta/focaccia class in my own home!

When I introduced Giovanni from my Italian class to my husband Leonardo, it was the beginning of a beautiful culinary relationship. Leonardo has long sought to perfect his pizza dough, ever since our trip to Napoli, and Giovanni is ever in search of the perfect ciabatta and focaccia. Hence, a joining of forces and a great learning and eating treat for those of us in the gallery.

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As dough rising is a many hour event, we were fortunate that Leonardo had made a few pizzas for us to enjoy during the lessons.

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Giovanni began with focaccia.

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He loved my apron, so I let him borrow it for the day.

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His recipe includes bread flour, yeast, salt, sugar and a potato;

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and then a lot of patience waiting for the dough to rise before gently pressing it in his well worn pan.

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He then tops it with tomatoes and oregano and a bit of oil.

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After more rising and then cooking it in a hot oven for 30-40 minutes, the result is a focaccia with a crunchy, tasty crust and a fluffy chewy inside. Delicious!

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While the focaccia was rising, Giovanni started the next lesson: how to make ciabatta.

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Unlike the focaccia, this starts with a BIGA or starter (yeast, water and flour) that is made well in advance.

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Flour is added to the starter, and after a few hours wait, it doubles in size.

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While waiting for Giovanni’s focaccia to rise, Leonardo began teaching us how to make pizza dough.

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Getting the yeast right is all important. Not too hot and not too cold or it won’t proof.

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He uses a blender to mix the 00 flour, yeast, salt and water.

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Like the other doughs, it then begins the slow rising ritual. When it has risen, Leonardo divides the dough and begins making pizzas.

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He tops them with a variety of things his “customers” request…this one had anchovies (yikes) onions and capers.

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My favorite is sautéed onions and peppers. Soooo good and cooked to perfection!

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With the pizzas gone, (yes, we ate them all!), time to return to finishing the ciabattas. We learned from Giovanni not to handle the dough much and unlike pizza, not to fold it. Giovanni cut the dough gently in the right shape and “gingerly” placed each one on parchment paper.

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After a bit more rising, they were baked in a hot oven until golden brown.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

We filled these with cheeses and meats, and yes, we ate them too! Warm and wonderful with the coveted holes in the bread.

Italian language class in the morning. Bread making in the afternoon. All in a day’s work –  filled with friends, food, fun, and lots of vino! (Giovanna, sorry you missed the photo op.)

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Thanks Leonardo and Giovanni for a wonderful class. We learned a lot, but mostly we learned that we love to eat whatever you cook!

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Hmmm…I think there’s a business here!

Ciao,

Judy

 

 

Pizza and More

2 Aug

Missing our Italian friends and food, and knowing that imitation is the best form of flattery, Len and I headed to the market (as in “specialty” supermarket) last Saturday morning. What started out as a pizza dinner for seven slowly transformed into a bit more, but who was counting courses.  All present had been to Italy with us sometime in the past several years, so it was a good reason to share a meal and wonderful memories.

It was too cold (in July?) to enjoy the  beautiful geraniums on our deck,

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so we moved inside to eat:

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And eat we did!

From my garden,  I made homemade pesto:

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and tomato bruschette: (homemade but not from my garden!)

All served with toasted garlic-rubbed Italian bread rounds.

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Then some freshly sliced Italian salumi and cheeses:

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Plus eggplant alla Judy:

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All accompanied by Prosecco, our new primo tradition.

For the next course, it was time for Len to take over in the kitchen and perform his pizza magic. He made the dough the night before…only slow rise, of course!

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After reaching room temperature, he gently rolled each pizza:IMG_0018

Topped each per request:

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And cooked quickly!

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The pizzas were served with grilled veggies:

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Italian sausage:

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Feeling like we’re back in Italy…priceless!

Ciao,

Judy

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