Friday, November 19, 2010

How To Make Everything Pizza

Although I'm sure the pizza is pretty good in Baltimore (you know what they say about pizza . . . ), when I left Baltimore a couple of years ago, I was lucky to land in Brooklyn, the epicenter of pizza. I live only about a mile away from the New York Times's declared best pizza in New York and just blocks away from my personal favorite pizza, handcrafted by the phenomenal Paulie Gee. Every pie served at Paulie Gee's is the best I've ever had, but when I visited a few weeks ago I was especially inspired by their Greenpointer pizza: a white pizza topped with arugula, cheese, and LEMON JUICE.

My friend Stephen has been honing his pizza skills lately with sauce and crust recipes from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. When we ran into each other at our last CSA pick up of the season, he invited me over to sample his undertakings. Inspired by the magical Paulie Gee's pizza and our CSA haul that week, I suggested that we top the pizza with kale, leeks, ricotta and lemon zest.

Stephen and his roommate made the dough and sauce ahead of time. We had both already used up our CSA kale by the time pizza making came around so I picked up some arugula on the way over. We also modified from my suggested ricotta to a mix of fresh mozzarella and parmesan. A key to this pizza was that the arugula and lemon were added after the pizza was removed from the oven, ensuring that the arugula was perfectly wilted without drying out or burning.

It was almost too beautiful to eat! But after fiddling around with digital cameras for a while we happily did eat it. The crust was delicious and more like a thin focaccia that a traditional thin crust pizza from a pizza joint. Everyone agreed that the leeks were a really great addition to the pizza and the sparing use of cheese allowed the delicate leeks to shine. I give it a hearty 8 out of 8 slices. After finishing the pizza, we got drunk on red wine and debated the pros and cons of raising the minimum age for collecting social security while listening to the Arcade Fire.

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