I hope the holiday season gave you all time to be still and reflect on the year as it passed perhaps via most golden and perfect of all meditation opportunities, fooling around in your kitchen with no pressing need to generate a large or timely meal, maybe utilizing a night or two in that golden week between Christmas and NYE. If you did not have this opportunity, I guess you missed out.
By the end of it all, even I had had enough. Lasagna and Thanksgiving Food Dinner II with the families, a standing rib roast for the two of us, fried chicken on NYE and a sundry of interspersed meals inspired by greats like Tom Colicchio and David Chang. You might think I’d give up after this feastish onslaught and say “meh” on this particular evening, but the last night before the return to work, waking up early and wrestling I-95 called for something delicious, if not seasonal. E suggested making some pizzas and that felt perfect.
I have the blind-baking system down for our gas-burning Metro-oven, which in all measurable respects is vastly inferior to our New York City electric-powered chamber of thermal awesomeness (it’s no where near as hot and no where near as dry). Never daunted by hardware deficiencies, I cope. I push the pizza dough thin on my board while pre-heating the oven set at the maximal setting with a cookie sheet inside. Next, out comes the cookie sheet and flop goes the dough on top. If you miss or mess up (creases, wrinkles or folds…) you have *one* more chance before it cooks too much to recover, so flop good. Attack the dough with a fork to properly perforate. Five minutes with nothin’ on it to get the cooking done.
The first pie was anointed with my stove-top quick tomato sauce of sautéed garlic, red pepper flakes, de-glazed with wine and finished with two big cans of squished tomatoes. I bubble this vigorously for at least 30-45 minutes. I knew the sauce would lack the gravitas of a long- batch, so I added some cubed bacon to the pie and some sliced jumbo scallions for a fresh, fairly light but satisfying pie. E assumed command of the second pie, prepped the same way and prepared in the traditional piadina-style from Emilia-Romagna, as seen in some magazine we bought like 5 years ago or something. [Ed.–It was an adaptation from a Food & Wine recipe from 2007/8 I believe. The original recipe is here if you want to try your hand at making piadini.] Another simple assembly of prosciutto, arugula, ricotta and Parmesan it is simple and significant, a solid pizza anytime.
May whatever you concocted in that last holiday weekend carry you to a frank and fortunate new year. And if you didn’t cook anything during that magical time, get on it! Until later!