My weekend was filled with pizza making in The Basic Art of Italian Cooking kitchen here in Italy, or should I say inside the kitchen and outside..as you can see, yours truly getting our new outside brick oven ready.. Nothing like the flavor of pizza cooked in a brick oven..
Pizza makes great food for a lazy Sunday afternoon dish..But it also provided us with a great way to work with the locally produced ingredients here in Abruzzo-the locally produced Pecorino D’Abruzzo to the fresh mozzarella produced in the little (nearby) village of Rocca Di Mezzo. And a radicchio produced at this time of the year in Treviso, Italy..a little far from Abruzzo but many local produce stores get theirs fresh from Treviso..makesa great topping for a pizza..
Italy rejoices in the pizza and has made pizza making an art as well..championships in pizza and many competitions in pizza making..to the World Championship pizza making team.. who would have thought that a food made by the poor people in Naples to make us of inexpensive ingredients-flour, yeast, tomatoes and make something substantive would become such a world renowned food…
So many toppings, so difficult to choose from,,we chose to do an arugula with shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese, then one with a tomato topping wiht the Vesuviana tomatoes from the Mt Vesuvio region (they are an interesting tomato and one of the few varieties that grow without water. As a matter of fact the lesser amount of water they have the better they grow) with grated pecorino cheese.
The Vesuviana tomatoes led me to the story told to me by my friend, Velia, who works with us at The Basic Art of Italian Cooking Culinary School in Orvieto..she told me that her grandmother used to use the Vesuviana tomatoes as an example of life ..they grow sweeter and better with the more hardship the soil around them experiences since they grow better with drought. These are a tomato that grow without any water, And she went on to explain how hardships in life grow your character, just like they grow the Vesuviana tomatoes..that with perfect soil conditions the Vesuviana do not grow successfully and are not as sweet and plump as they are when they suffer a drought or the hardship of not having enough water…a life lesson to learn from this delicacy and they are a superior tomato as well..not just your average tasting tomato..
Then there was Pizza Margherita for those that want the traditional tomato (using the Vesuviana tomatoes) basil and mozzarella tomato..and since truffles are also found in many parts of Italy this time of year-a scamorza and shaved truffle pizza… and lastly we had to make a potato with fresh rosemary pizza since we have an over abundance of fresh, organic rosemary here in the garden..
Pizza is best made fresh and is worth the extra time it takes…If you put your mind to it you can make a ball of dough in the morning before you head out to work, cover carefully with a towel and place in a warm place to let it rise..when you come home it will be ready to place in a pizza pan or pizza stone stone and add topping. 10-15 minutes in the oven (can be your own indoor oven) and you have a quick, healthy meal..
Pizza….can be used to teach healthy eating and a philosophy for life…a wondrous thing that pizza……
Find more pizza tips here: http://tinyurl.com/djd29w