Friday, March 18, 2011

Pizza wars: 'sports' fights gourmet

The art of the perfect pizza is a subject that consumes millions of inches of recipe book print, and gazillions of, um, bytes, or whatever the interweb is made up of.

I know because I've googled it. Ever since I first amazed TLOML when we decided to have home made pizza and I reached for the bag of flour, and not the Boboli crust, I have been straining to perfect it. I mean, if he was that delighted with a stodgy dough that didn't rise baked in a lame metal tray, imagine how much more he'd love me if I produced a really cracking pizza.

So for over a year now we have been working on the perfect pizza. I have been in charge of dough, trialling every recipe from the over-researched, underwhelming Peter Reinhart's 'Napoletana' recipe to the one on the back of Fleischman's quick rise pizza yeast. TLOML was in charge of stretching, pressing, or rolling the dough. I was convinced the proper Italian way was to toss it, only to be confounded by evidence to the contrary in a dirty but fantastic pizza place near the station in Rapallo. The rolling pin works. Early on we invested a whopping $20 in a pizza stone and peel for easy assembling. We worked out the best way to get the oven superhot: switch it on an hour early and put the skillet lid over the stove-top ring that leaks oven heat. And I have to say, after a few false turns (I'm talking about you Wolfgang Puck) I think we've pretty much arrived at the best home made dough. The one on the back of the packet, funnily enough. You absolutely have to make 2 thin crusts with it though, just one is way too thick.

So much for the dough, what of the toppings? Here's where the hot debate comes in. TLOML favours what we (I) call American style. Thick with sauce, cheese, onions and peppers, garlic, jalapeno, an extra layer of cheese, and as much meat as will stick. I like what I call a European gourmet style. You know the kind, thin on sauce and cheese, and just one or two choice toppings.

We usually go for American style, as I fear incurring TLOML's wrath / really like ingratiating myself with him in the kitchen. Last night, crowing over our dough success, we decided to make 2 pizzas. One American, made by TLOML and rebranded 'The Sports Pizza'. He objected to mine being called European Gourmet since Gjelica and Madeo and many other LA restaurants make it this way. One, no longer known as European, simply 'Le Gourmet'.

The Sports Pizza
Le Gourmet

You know what...?! Both were damn good. The debate would rumble on - except that we are about to move to NYC, home of the perfect pizza, leaving the pizza peel and stone in the capable hands of The Euro.

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