Inspired by my pizza odyssey earlier this year, I have been playing around with baking pizza in my kitchen. I know, I know. There's no way I can generate enough heat in my electric oven to make a true Neapolitan pizza, but I can use a pizza stone and turn out a tasty version of a margherita, employing good Italian San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, fresh basil, excellent extra-virgin olive oil and Peter Reinhart's detailed recipe for pizza dough. (The latter is Google-able.)
Inspired by the Rosa pizza made by Chris Bianco at Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, I tried an experiment over the weekend that not only tasted great but makes a fabulous foil for Syrah. Bianco's Rosa uses chopped pistachios, grated Parmigiano and rosemary, no tomatoes, and I featured it in the opening paragraphs of my story, "Pizza in America," in the current issue of Wine Spectator.
For mine, I used dukka, the Egyptian mixture of ground hazelnuts and sesame seeds with cumin and other spices, in place of the pistachios. I learned about dukka in Australia, where they use it as a pre-dinner dip for French bread. You dunk it in olive oil and then the dukka, which sticks to the bread. It made sense to me to try it on pizza (bread, oil, etc.). You can buy dukka in gourmet stores. I used the NoMu brand.
Here's the technique, in case you want to try it: After stretching out the pizza dough, drizzle some olive oil over it. I used Capezzana extra-virgin 2007. Sprinkle on a generous layer of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Lacking rosemary, I scattered some lemon thyme leaves from my daughter's herb garden, and finally a thin layer of dukka. After baking the pizza, I topped it with a few more fresh lemon thyme leaves and some more olive oil.
I opened a bottle of Owen Roe Ex Umbris 2005. The Syrah just popped with the flavors of the cumin, nuts, seeds and Parmigiano. All the fruit flavors of the wine seemed to gather up steam and whoosh over the palate. The pizza disappeared in record time.If you can't get enough pizza, check out my video from Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles. Co-owner Nancy Silverton walks us through her unique pizza process.
John Rehak — Grapevine, TX — June 13, 2008 3:53pm ET
Dana Nigro — New York, NY — June 13, 2008 7:01pm ET
Gary Long — Palm Beach , Fl — June 20, 2008 6:41pm ET
Harvey Steiman — San Francisco, CA — June 20, 2008 7:24pm ET
Gary Long — Palm Beach , Fl — July 2, 2008 6:29pm ET
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