Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pizza Crazy

Why haven't I written about pizza yet?
I just can't bring myself to do it.
I love pizza so much, and it is a very sensitive subject for me.

I live on the east coast, in New Jersey, where our pizza is generally pretty great.
My personal preference is the Jersey shore or Trenton area, where tomato pies reign.

New York City and Brooklyn have even better pizza, some would say.
If you ever ate a slice from Tottono's Pizzeria Napolitano, in Brooklyn, then you would never want any other slice again. I can't even talk about it.

We NEVER get takeout pizza. That is sacrilegious. Even if it would've been a good pie to begin with, it will be nothing but steamed cardboard when it gets into my house. NEVER.
I also never stop in for a "reheated slice". Would you reheat a piece of bland, dried out bread with hardened cheese? NEVER.

We sometimes go out for a pizza, to Reservoir Tavern in Parsippany, NJ, where I have been going with my family since I was a kid. Where the pies have the big burned bubbles on the crust and sometimes there is a 2 hour wait for this delicacy.
How about driving one hour to Princeton to eat a Conti's pizza? We've done it. Or wait in line OUTSIDE for pizza at DeLorenzo's in Trenton, always voted #2 pizzeria in the country!
Or wait in line for an hour at Pete & Elda's bar in Neptune, NJ, but it's rare, and I have to psyche myself up for it days before, knowing that I will love it so much, I will crave it and talk about it for days after.
Do you think I might have a problem?

If you google "Best Pizza in New Jersey", you will see all the nuts out there, just like me. There is a top 10 list, and it is right on the money. I agree with about 5 of them.
People in the Midwest and California just can't relate, because it's like deli, there aren't any good delis other than Philly, NJ or NY.

And by the way, pineapple does NOT belong on a pizza, ever. The pizza police might arrest you!

Ok, so the pizza snob has complained and explained about her love/hate relationship with pizza.

So, here is our solution to our personal pizza problemo:

We make our own pizza at home, and it comes out better than most pizzerias in our neighborhood.

We start with making our own dough. (Peter Reinhart's recipe is the best). My husband is the dough flipper. He is a professional! He flips it in the air and twirls it around. Big show off.
We don't have a brick oven (I have a kitchen the size of some closets), but a decent pizza stone that fits right into our oven. We always make a cornmeal bottom crust, and I always rub olive oil over the crust before baking. I learned this from Tyler Florence (is he Italian?).

We sometimes make a margherita pie; tomato sauce, cheese & fresh basil, but our favorite pie is more unusual. At first people are disappointed when they don't see tomato sauce, but then they are happy once they take a bite!

Our signature pizza adapted from Tyler Florence's Ultimate, when he was visiting a lady in Italy. She made it in a square pan.

1 pizza crust (you can buy it already made if you like)
(make sure you spread a lot of flour on your board, so it doesn't stick).
Place cornmeal on your pizza peel.

~ Saute 3 sliced onions in olive oil w/ rosemary until soft, about 15 minutes
~ Throw your onions on top of the pizza dough to cover
~ Slice fresh mozzarella on top and place haphazardly on the onions & rosemary
~ Place a few slices of Serrano ham on top.
~ Next, place a small handful of fresh spinach (not baby spinach, but the real spinach with the thick leaves)
~ Sprinkle kosher salt on top of the pie and spinach, and drizzle with olive oil.

Heat your oven and stone to 450 or higher and using a wooden pizza peel, slide your beautiful pizza into the oven. Watch so it doesn't burn, about 15 minutes.

All 4 photos are of pizzas made by Stacey Snacks and husband.


Maris said...

I love spinach on pizza! And I totally agree that pineapple has no place on a pizza. When I was a kid I thought it was fun but I don't really like warm fruits (unless they're enveloped in flaky dough and topped with vanilla ice cream a la apple crisp).

Where did you get the best pizza you've ever had in New Jersey?

Lisa said...

That is a great pizza! I use a stone too but sometimes have a problem getting it off the pizza peel.

If we bring a pie home, I have a trick to heat it. Put a few slices in a non stick frying pan. Heat on low for a few minutes and then put the lid on for a minute or two to make sure cheese is melted. The crust will get really crispy again. Much better than the oven.

Stacey Snacks said...


I know that trick about reheating in a nonstick skillet w/ the lid on.
It was taught to me by a friend who lives in South Jersey!!!! You probably know eachother! You guys have better pizza than North Jersey, because you are so close to Phila.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Stacey, Coming from Chicago, I can really appreciate your pizza thing!
We're the same way here, picky about this and that. Theres a great place in the city called Spacca Napoli,it's authentic Neapolitan pizza and the guys like the soup nazi only with his pizza! We practically have tears in our eyes when we take a bite!

kat said...

We're with you & make our own pizza at home. There is nothing like a pizza straight from the oven on a good homemade crust

lisa said...

I'm with you on no pineapple on pizza--ever! I hate to possibly start an argument, and I haven't had it in years, but Chicago-style, deep dish is delicious too.

AnticiPlate said...

I LOVE rustic looking pizzas! Mine always turn out misshapen but I love it.

Anonymous said...

You are right on the money with Conti's and DeLorenzo's. There's also a tiny little place in Yardville, New Jersey (south of Trenton) called "Pizza Kitchen" that has incredible pizza, All that being said, the Stacey/Henry creations are beautiful to behold and look like they'd hit the spot with a very large goblet of good red wine.

SarahB said...

I love the emotion attached to the pizza blog! I totally understand, reallly. Have you tried Una Pizza Napoletana in the east village?

Maria said...

I love a good pizza! Yours looks excellent!

The Food Hunter said...

You are so right...pineapple never belongs on pizza. We're East Coast transplants living in Phoenix. The pizza selection here is horrible. We make our own all the time now. It's the only way to get really good pizza here. My husband has the whole pizza flip down too. Must be a guy thing!

freefun0616 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.