Friday, August 22, 2014

My Signature Pizzas

Max's Signature Pizzas!

Alright, so yesterday I shared my dough recipe, I thought today I can share with you some of my favorite pizzas. First a little background on ingredients.


For a very thin crust like I make you can't use sauces that contain much water. If there is a lot of water in your sauce, you're going to have LCS (Limp Crust Syndrome.) And nobody wants limp crust. Am I right ladies? But don't worry... it happens to everyone sometimes.

I have a couple of different tomato based sauces, which are basically pasta sauces that I have reduced to pastes.

Arrabiata This is a quick sauce of onions, tomatoes, garlic, and lots of red pepper. I like to add Parmesan. Don't tell anyone but I have been known to throw in a little oily fish just to add some depth to the sauce. This is blended and heated over a med-low flame with a paper towel on top of the pot to allow the water to leave the pot without destroying my kitchen with tomato spatter. They downside of this method is the paper towel could possible catch on fire so I would never suggest anyone does it this way you know, for legal reasons. You can also buy one of these which work even better.
Splatter Screen
Keep your nose and ears open when you are reducing this sauce. You can work on other things but once the water is gone it will begin to burn on the bottom and you want to avoid that. Using a lid doesn't work as well  because the water just drips back into the pot.

House Tomato Sauce: San Marzano Tomatoes, garlic, onion, carrots, basil, oregano, fennel seed, Parmesan, sugar and tomato paste. I make  up big batches of this stuff and can it in mason jars. I will reduce this sauce down for pizza as well using the same method as for the Arrabiata sauce.

Medici Style Ragu: Though with that sauce I will actually usually add a large fresh tomato to the canned in mason jar sauce before heating. This is a recipe that supposedly goes back to Catherine de' Medici, it contains hand chopped poultry, beef, pork, and a perserved meat, in my case usually Neuski's bacon. That is sautéed in oil for about an hour then a few bottles of red wine are added and simmered for a few hours. It's finished with some veggies and a small amount of tomato. This is more of a thick meat topping then a sauce to be honest.

If you're in a hurry, and sometimes I am, I will often buy a commercial sauce and reduce it on the stove with a screen on top.

Creamy Garlic: This is a very easy sauce. I use 1 T olive oil 1 T butter and 2 finely chopped garlic cloves. After cooking the garlic through I add in 1.5T of flour and let the roux form, there will be a change in the scent when the flour has been cooked thoroughly in 3-4 minutes. I add a large splash of milk/cream and allow it to come up to a boil. It should be fairly thick but not paste like. It will firm up further upon cooling.

The last sauce is simply nice olive oil. 


Please buy nice cheeses! Avoid the low moisture low fat mozzarella. Pizza is not a health food. Don't eat it every day, but when you treat yourself, treat yourself RIGHT! You don't have to use fancy buffalo mozzarella, but you can buy some tasty mozzarella without going to those lengths. Believe me you will be able to tell the difference. Plus, dangit most of my audience lives in WISCONSIN! have some pride Wisco. Craft cheeses not kraft cheeses.

Extra Extra Sharp Cheddar: This is one of the few things that I HAVE to go to Woodman's for. Hooks also makes an amazing 5 year and 10 year which are phenomenal if you want to splurge.

Sarveccio Parmesan: This is a "Wisconsin" style Parmesan from Antigo Wisconsin. It has won worldwide cheese awards and is absolutely amazing.  It's a softer less aged version of italian parmesan, it's much more creamy and delicious.

Goat Cheese: I love goat cheese, the dark warmer flavors of a goat cheese make it a perfect accent cheese. Chevre I have used on a few herbal pies, but my favorite are goat cheese curds. They are more of a mozzarella style cheese. I rarely use it alone on a pizza, except for my "Nutty Vegetarian."

Goat cheese pairs best with seafood pizzas and vegetarian pizzas.

Now on to the Recipes!

The Nutty Vegetarian
Pistachios have an amazingly meaty complex flavor when they are toasted. I take a large handful, chop them roughly and toast them on a tray in the toaster oven or toss them lightly in a dry pan over medium low heat. As you heat them you will start to smell one of the most heavenly smells ever, almost like a nutty smoked bacon.

Olive oil brushed crust
Toasted Pistachios
Thinly sliced Honeycrisp apple
Goat cheese curds 
wilted baby kale (wilt leafy vegetables by adding them to the last minute of the cooking)

The Spicy Pie
This is a meaty pie based on spicy Italian preserved salami and arrabiata sauce which is reduced and is incredibly tangy and spicy. The vinegar tang kicks up the heat a bit. This pizza is not for the feint of heart.

Arrabiata paste
Hard Salami
Spicy Pepperoni
green olives
Banana peppers (Optional)

The Expat:
This is a Thai flavored pizza. The marinated chicken provides some sauce. The Thai sweet chili sauce I actually get from Suwanasak. It's the sauce they dress the Chili fried fish in. I use it to marinate chicken overnight. I sautée it quickly on the stove top or grill it over charcoal. If I sautée the chicken I'll add in the extra marinade for the last 5 minutes of cooking to cook it through and then I use it as a sauce on the pizza.

Olive oil brushed crust
Thai sweet chili marinated chicken
Lemongrass finely sliced
Chopped tasted peanuts
I like a small handful of extra extra sharp cheddar to finish - The bite of the cheese compliments the sweet chili chicken.
torn basil wilted basil

The "He's so hot right now" pie:
This pizza uses a lot of named ingredients. Which is SO IN right now.

House red sauce
The Conscious Carnivore's Smoked Andouille
Red pepper
Brussels sprouts sautéed with Neuske's bacon
Sarveccio Wisconsin style Parmesan.

The Eggplant Parmesana

This is a version of eggplant parmesana, on a pizza. Eggplant is sliced 1/4 inch, salted and allowed to drain on a rack for 45min - 1 hr. Rinse and drain.  I make a flour mixture with AP flour, parmesano reggiano and a  dried italian herb mix The drained eggplant get dredged in this mixture and fried off in batches in olive oil.

The ragu is incredibly meaty and the eggplants are just starting to fall apart. If you finished the cheese until you get that crispy awesome finish then you are a winner!

Medici Style Ragu
Fried eggplant
Mozzerella and Sarveccio Parmesan mixture.
If this doesn't get enough color I will sometimes finish it under a broiler to get that crispy baked cheese finish. You could also use a blowtorch to finish.

Dessert pie:
Because why not? The sauce is basically a banana cream custard filling with peanut butter mixed in. Raw bacon coated in Cinnamon Sugar before being baked in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. and Ghirardelli Chocolate chips, who could say no to good chocolate?

Butter brushed crust
Banana / peanut butter cream
Cinnamon Sugar Neuske's bacon
Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips


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