|Yo! I wasn't planning on writing this post! Thank goodness for PhotoPin!|
One of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta is Antico Pizzeria. The pizza place has only been open since 2009, but it has already received nationwide recognition from celebrities and the like for it's amazing pizza. Owner, Giovanni Di Palma, imports many of his ingredients straight from Italy and then proceeds to make the pizza in wood-fire ovens right in front of you as you wait at long family-style bench seating in the kitchen. It is truly an experience!
Unfortunately, one of the downfalls of Antico is that they only make pizza until they run out of dough. It's really depressing when that wood-fire oven pizza is what you crave, but it's 5PM and the restaurant ran out of pizza dough hours ago! :(
I'm not entirely sure if that's what inspired Justin to take up pizza making or if it was something else, but he has definitely refined his recipe to nothing short of extraordinary! He began by making a simple pizza dough and sauce for me, a long time ago, of which I ate merely to appease him. I had never had good pizza and I didn't know what I was missing. I can tell you one thing though – it was not that.
But Justin didn't give up! Next came Alton Brown's recipe. And then there was margherita pizza. Now that was something I could get behind! Delicious tomatoes, tasty mozzarella, a hint of basil? Yum!
While the pizza I'm sharing today isn't a straight margherita pizza, it definitely has some of the same characteristics…
A few things to note first, though: If you've had chain restaurant pizza, the recipe I'm about to share is not that. From what I understand, real Italian pizza has anchovies and other fish on it … ICK! This isn't that either. This recipe is about much more than dough, tomato sauce, and cheese. It's about heart. And bravery. This recipe is for the fearless.
• Olive Oil
• Tomato paste
• Tomato sauce
• Minced Garlic
• Shredded Italian Cheese or Pizza Cheese
• Buffalo Mozzarella
• Pepperoni (preferably Boars Head)
• any other toppings you choose
Helpful Tools:• Pizza Stone
• Pizza Peel
• Dough Docker/fork
• Pastry Brush
1. Heat up the tomato sauce and pasta in a pan on the stove. Mix in the garlic and let simmer.
2. Meanwhile, place your pizza stone towards the top of the oven where you will eventually bake your pizza. Rig the oven to stay on even when opened. Set your oven to the highest temperature using the broil setting. Let it preheat.
3. Sprinkle a bit of flour on your working surface and roll out your pizza dough. (We get ours from Publix to make this process faster, but homemade dough will work just as well!) After rolling out the dough, stab a fork into it a gazillion times. (Using a dough docker might be easier!) You are trying to prevent the dough from rising too much in the oven. After torturing it, turn the dough over and do it again. Then, pour approximately a tablespoon of olive oil onto your dough and spread with a pastry brush. (Just the one side. – Add more if you need it.) Sprinkle a bit of salt on the dough and you are ready to place it in the oven (on your pizza stone) until it turns brown. Keep your eyes on it! This happens quickly! (As in within a few minutes, not seconds!) If the pizza starts to expand, carefully reach into the oven and stab the expanding portion with your fork. (If you can't, don't worry about it. It's not worth burning yourself over! Just make sure to stab better next time.)
4. After the first side has baked, pull the pizza out with your handy dandy pizza peel. Turn it over and stab it a few extra times if you think you need to. Repeat the process you did a few minutes before by adding olive oil and salt to the dough. Stick it back in the oven until that side turns brown.
5. When both sides of the crust have browned, take your tomato sauce/paste/garlic mixture and spread it out evenly over the pizza pie. Follow this up with shredded cheese.
6. At this point you can begin to make the pizza your own. Justin adds tomatoes cut, with the seeds and juice removed, buffalo mozzarella, and tops with pepperoni, but you can add whatever you like. Try to keep the cheese between toppings to hold everything together.
7. Place back in the oven until you can see the cheese has fully melted.
8. Pull out of the oven and CONSUME!
Sidenote: Your pizza may have flaws and burned spots. Embrace it! That's what makes this pizza so good! :)So what are your thoughts? Will you be taking on the pizza-challenge and making this exquisite treat? … Or will you avoid a fire and order one from your local restaurant? ;) Either way, have a fantastic holiday weekend! And stay safe!