Saturday, September 5, 2009


I am a self professed pizza snob. However, I find most of what is made commercially to be abhorrent. Half-baked crust, topped with rubber mozzarella(no relation to the real thing). Lifeless, flavorless, tomato sauce combined with cardboard, saw dusty dry oregano. If you're really lucky, you can get pizza from a chain, where the dough is more closely related to Twinkies than pizza. Disgusting. These bastardized recreations bare no resemblance to the original creation. There are only a handful of places I will eat pizza out. All of those establishments feature some sort of brick oven, either coal or wood fired. Lombardi's and Arturo's in Manhattan make the list. For me, though, the best is Totonno's in Coney Island. They feature a coal fired oven that is over 100 years old. Perfectly charred crust, fresh mozzarella, and crushed tomatoes.............perfect. So, I've resorted to making my own, almost exclusively. I know, looking at the picture, you're saying "that's not Pizza Napoletana," and you're right. I happened to stumble across this recipe at Serious Eats. It looked so wonderful, I had to give it a shot. You can see it here:, I wish I knew how to abbreviate links. Anyway, it's a little labor intensive for those who prefer ease of use, but, well worth it. I followed the instructions for the dough, but, went my on way as far as topping. I used fresh mozzarella(grated), Pecorino Romano, San Marzano passato and finished it with wild Sicilian dried oregano. Any other pizza fanatics out there should certainly give this a spin. I'm sure glad I did........3 separate occasions.


  1. Pizza snobs unite! Like you, Scott, I think eating the real stuff, from a wood (or coal)-fired oven changes your life. You can never go back. I love your comparison of the dough from the pizza chains to Twinkies!

    When I was out in Eugene, Oregon, last month, I had the great good fortune to eat here:
    and enjoyed the best pizza since I was last in Naples. One of my all time dreams, which I'm sure will never be realized, is to build my own wood-fired bread oven . . .

  2. Thank goodness I'm not alone. Such a pet peeve.....poor pizza. One of the more important reasons I purchased the Big Green Egg, 700+ degrees from a wood burn. Good stuff!

  3. Put a pizza stone in your BGE and you are ready to be certified! Not certified crazy, but certified for authentic neapolitan pizza. I may have the ultimate food processor, but you still got the BGE over me.

  4. I have the stone and it is certainly a representative example of neopolitan pizza......Only if DOP san marzano passato is used along with the freshest mozzarella di buffala and basil right off the sprig.

  5. I too am a pizza snob. My trip to Italy changed my view of pizza forever. Fortunately, we have a small local pizzeria that makes great pizzas in a real wood-burning oven.

    I make them at home as well. My baking skills leave much to be desired, but I have made an acceptable product by placing a pizza stone under my 550 degree broiler for 30 minutes. I'd sure love to get another 100-150 degrees.

    I use a dough recipe I have found is in the best bread book I have found, "The Bread Baker's Apprentice", by Peter Reinhart. This is a very serious baking reference. Reinhart is an advocate of delayed-fermentation doughs. His Neopolitan Pizza dough is just fantastic.

    For toppings, I like Italian passata from Whole Foods, chunks of fresh mozzarella and fresh thyme.

  6. Ironic you should mention that book David....I just picked it up about 2 weeks ago. Looks like I'll be trying some more pizza tomorrow.