Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Peter Reinhart's Pizza

Peter Reinhart is one of my food heroes and if you are the sort who love cookbooks, then La Vida Dulce highly recommends any of his books. His best is "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" and it should be on every baker's bookshelf. The current issue of Fine Cooking magazine dated May 2008 features his pizza formula. This is one dough that takes a bit of time, between kneading, chilling, even freezing, but it is worth every minute. Pages 66-67 show a beautiful classic pizza Margherita, and the article goes on to feature his delicious versions of calzones and strombolis. The pizza pictured here is topped with herbage, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, grated parmesan, hot pepperoni and homemade sausage. The ground pork and pork belly is from my local 99 Ranch Market. It would take me all night to type up this article, so pick up the magazine at newstands everywhere or check it out online at www.finecooking.com. Tutti mangia!

HOMEMADE ITALIAN SAUSAGE - makes about one pound

16 oz. freshly ground pork belly with some fat added (do not fear, fat is flavor, just ask Batali!)
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red chili pepper flakes, optional
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. kosher salt or to taste
(***Note: if you like the taste of dried fennel, add 1/4 tsp., sorry, it's not my favorite seasoning)

Keep ground pork well chilled. In a medium bowl, crush all spices and then combine with the ground pork. Take a small scoop of the seasoned sausage mixture and press into a small patty. Cook over medium heat in a small skillet pan. As the grumpy chef says, cook it till it's done. Test for flavor, then adjust seasonings as necessary. As with all raw meats, wash all surfaces in hot soapy water, and wash your hands. Cover bowl with plastic and let the raw sausage chill in the frige overnight. Like your Granny's potato salad, it tastes better the next day. When you are ready to make the pizzas, scoop out teaspoon-sized balls of sausage and place on top. Sausage will cook completely when baked in a 500 degree oven. Also makes good sausage balls for pasta sauce and for sandwiches.

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