Istanbul, Greece, Naples, Rome and all the stops between were beyond my wildest expectations, but this pizza oven is where I fell in love. I rented a particular house in Tuscany, not for its stunning views, or proximity to wine, cheese, olive oil, gelato, pasta, pastries, all of which were minutes away, but for this oven. For the first three weeks of our journey we ate hundreds of pizzas and flatbreads, as research for our upcoming book on the subject, and now, in Tuscany I finally got back in the kitchen to do a little creating of my own. With a bit of help from David, our trusted culinary guide and keeper of the oven, I set out to bake pizza in Italy, an admittedly ballsy move.
First David took me shopping in San Gimignano for all of the makings of my pizza party. The local cheese shop, where I couldn’t resist buying a slice of all the locally produced sheep cheese was our first stop.
Then to the farmer’s market…
for the perfect tomatoes and squash, including the blossoms.
After several hours of shopping and
stops at every pastry shop in town, I got busy creating.
Since I already had the dough on hand,
it all went together in minutes once David had the fire blasting hot.
There was no equipment equipment to speak of, so I stretched the dough by hand, used a wooden cutting board to slide the pizzas in the oven instead of a proper Pizza Peel, which meant sticking my hands deeper into the 800 degree oven than is advisable.
But the singed hair on my arm was worth every bite!
Here are a few of the pizzas I made, which will all make an appearance in our book Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day, which I hope you will love as much as we have loved creating it.
Some pizzas will be traditional and some will be combinations Jeff and I have dreamed up. We hope they become a tradition in your home.
Some will be with seasonal ingredients like these berries, lavender and rosemary I picked from David’s garden just before throwing them on a pizza.
All of them will be equally as tasty baked in your home oven, on the grill or in a wood oven, if you are lucky enough to have one in your yard. (I am trying to convince my husband that our postage stamp sized yard is the perfect place for such an oven. Wish me luck!)
Best of all, baking home made pizzas makes you incredibly popular. These two adorable girls were also on holiday in Tuscany and joined us as soon as they smelled pizza. In German/English they told me how much they loved the pizza. That makes me very happy.
We are now in the testing, photographing and editing phases of Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day, which will be out the fall of 2011.