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Oct 23, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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By the Book: Carlo Mirarchi’s Margharita and Cheesus Christ Pizzas and Apple Salad

November 12th 02:11pm, 2013

111213_robertas

 

The last time I was in New York, I went to Roberta’s in Brooklyn, and the pizza was just as good as the hype claimed. Since then, I’ve wanted to get my hands on its first book, Roberta’s Cookbook, so I could get some helpful tips from chef Carlo Mirarchi on making great pizza at home. The book has plenty of recipes for pasta, salads and entrees, too, but I wanted to tackle pizza.

 

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Mirarchi shares helpful tips on how to make truly great pizza, from the best flours to use for homemade dough to DIY mozzarella. I don’t have a wood-burning pizza oven, which I’m sure would help, but with a little guidance from the book, the pizzas I made at home in my regular oven were delicious. The book instructs home cooks to use their  ovens like pizza ovens by placing a stone or tile on the rack and cranking the temperature as high as possible. The pizza is baked for 5 to 6 minutes, then broiled on high for 1 minute before it’s removed.

 

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The dough recipe called for 00 flour, which you can find at DiGregorio’s, and offers two versions of the dough recipe: one with a homemade starter and one with store-bought yeast (one guess as to which I made). The dough came together easily: a little mixing, a little kneading and throw it in the fridge for 24 hours to proof.

 

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The hard part was making the dough look like a pizza crust and not getting burned from my raging hot oven. (For the record, I did get burned. Badly.) The recipes instructs you to follow a slapping method that is detailed quite clearly with step-by-step photos on how to slap your pizza crust into shape instead of stretching and pulling at it. I suspect this takes a little practice because I slapped that dough around like an idiot, and it did not yield to my will. I ended up pulling and stretching it into submission – sorry, Carlo!

 

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I rounded out the meal with an apple salad – an odd combination of ingredients for a salad, but it worked. The apples are tart, the burrata creates a luxurious dressing, and the honey adds a sweet, floral note.

In the end, the Cheesus Christ and Margherita pizzas I made were good, and my family liked it. They were affordable, fun, and even though my kitchen is still a mess, it was all worth it.

 

111213_WHITEPIZZAFINISHED

Cheesus Christ
Makes 1 12-inch pizza

1 12-inch round pizza dough (Recipe follows.)
20 g. (4 tsp.) heavy cream
60 g. (2 oz.) fresh mozzarella
40 g. (1½ oz.) taleggio*
Freshly ground black pepper
30 g. (1 oz.) Parmigiano, finely grated

• Preheat oven to the highest temperature possible. Place a pizza stone or tiles on the middle rack of the oven and let it heat for 1 hour.
• Drizzle the heavy cream over the dough. Break the mozzarella into several large chunks and distribute it over the pizza. Break the taleggio into pieces and do the same. Give the pizza 8 to 10 grinds of black pepper.
• Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown and bubbly, and finish it immediately with the Parmigiano.

* Taleggio, which is from the Lombardy region of Italy, is a really pungent but actually mild and buttery-tasting soft cheese. (Editor’s note: Taleggio can be found at Whole Foods in Brentwood.)

 

111213_margheritafinished

Margherita Pizza
Makes 1 12-inch pizza

1 12-inch round pizza dough (Recipe follows.)
43 g. (3 Tbsp.) sauce (Recipe follows.)
Some good olive oil
4 or 5 basil leaves, torn into pieces
80 g. (2¾ oz.) fresh mozzarella

• Preheat the oven to the highest temperature possible. Place a pizza stone or tiles on the middle rack of the oven and let it heat for 1 hour.
• Put the sauce in the center of the dough round and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly over the pizza, stopping about ½ inch from the edge. Drizzle a little olive oil over the sauce and scatter the basil on top. (We put the basil under the cheese so that the heat from the wood-fired oven doesn’t incinerate it. If you prefer, you can scatter it over the cheese, but we’ve grown to like it this way.)
• Break the mozzarella into several large chunks and distribute it over the pizza. Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown and bubbly.

 

Pizza Dough with Store-Bought Yeast
Makes 2 (240 gram/8.5 ounce) dough rounds, enough for 2 12-inch pizzas

306 g. (2 ½ cups) 50-50 blend 00 flour and King Arthur all-purpose flour
8 g. (scant 2 tsp.) fine sea salt
4 g. (scant 1 tsp.) fresh yeast or 2 g. (scant ½ tsp.) active dry yeast
4 g. (scant 1 tsp.) good olive oil
202 grams (1 cup minus 1 tbsp.) lukewarm water

• In a bowl, thoroughly combine the flour and the salt and make a well in the center.
• In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the yeast, olive oil and lukewarm water.
• Pour the wet mixture in the well in the dry mixture and begin mixing the two together with your hands, gradually incorporating the dry into the wet. This process will be more like mixing than kneading. After about 3 minutes, when the wet and dry are well combined, set the mixture aside and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes. This allows time for the flour to absorb the moisture.
• Flour your hands and a work surface. Gently but firmly knead the mixture on the work surface as needed. The dough will be moist and sticky, but after a few minutes of kneading it should come together into a smooth mass.
• Divide the dough into 2 pieces, shape them gently into balls, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 24 and up to 48 hours before using. This process, called proofing, allows for the fermentation that gives the dough structure – which means a chewy, pliable crust – and flavor.
• To “slap out” the dough: Pick up your disk of dough and hold your hands parallel to the floor. Then squeeze your fingers together and curve them so your hands are like paddles. Drape the dough over one hand and flip it over to the other hand in a smooth motion. Continue moving the dough slowly back and froth, rotating it 90 degrees every few seconds so that you end up with a circle. It will start to stretch. After 1 to 2 minutes, you should have a round of dough that’s about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a floured pizza peel – preferably a metal one – and gently push out any edges that need pushing to make a better looking circle.

 

Pizza Sauce
Makes about 350 grams (1½ cups)

1 28-oz. can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
Some good olive oil
Fine sea salt

• Drain the tomatoes and discard the juice (or use it for bloody marys) Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree the tomatoes until almost smooth.
• Add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt, blend until smooth, and taste. Add more olive oil and salt to taste, if needed, but keep in mind that the sauce will reduce a little bit when it’s baked on a pizza, so it will only get saltier.
• The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and up to 6 months in the freezer.

 

111213_FINISHEDSALAD

Apple, Burrata, Sorrel, Honey Salad
2 Servings

2 apples, such as Winesap or Pink Lady, washed and chilled
100 g. (3½ oz.) burrata in its liquid*
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Honey to taste
A handful of sorrel leaves, torn

• If your apples haven’t been in the refrigerator, put them there for at least half an hour before you move on to the next step.
• Cut the apples into 4 big sections each and core them. Cut those sections up into medium-size chunks; they shouldn’t be totally uniform in shape. Put the apple chunks in a medium bowl and add the burrata, torn into chunks, some of its liquid, and a pinch of salt, and toss it all together. You want the apple chunks to be well coated with the cheese and liquid.
• Divide the apples between two plates and give each plate a grind of black pepper. Drizzle with a little honey and garnish generously with torn sorrel leaves (The sorrel isn’t just for looks – it adds a really nice lemony flavor.). Serve.

*Burrata is an Italian cheese, originally from Puglia, that’s a relative of mozzarella but much, much creamier. There are American versions of it now, too. (Editor’s note: Burrata can be found Whole Foods in Brentwood.)

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter Publishers

What dish have you attempted to recreate from a restaurant and how did it turn out? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Roberta‘s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hay, Chris Parachini and Katherine Wheelock. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Robin, whose answer on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of SPQR by Shelley Lindgren and Matthew Accarrino.  Robin, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

 

 

 

By Meera Nagarajan

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11 Responses to “By the Book: Carlo Mirarchi’s Margharita and Cheesus Christ Pizzas and Apple Salad”

  1. Hao Says:
    November 13th, 2013 at 10:37 am

    i tried to make ernesto’s wine bar’s flatbread with fig and balsamic reduction. i got it about 80% right. i just didn’t include prociutto which is ok with me. instead i used either sausage or bacon and it was still really tasty.

  2. Pat Says:
    November 13th, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Just returned from trip to Italy. Have been looking for a great pizza recipe. Can’t wait to try the recipe in Roberta’s.

  3. Sue Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Years ago my husband and I had a dinner at Tra Vigne restaurant in St. Helena/Napa area. My husband had the most amazing smoked and braised shortribs that were falling off the bone in the most delicious sauce (containing coffee) and served with creamy polenta . When we got home I searched all my cookbooks to try and find a similar recipe that I could adapt, and actually found another Napa restaurant that had a similar concept of braised shortribs in sauce containing espresso. I spent all weekend shopping for ingredients, smoking shortribs, then cooking them for hours. It was actually very tasty, just not as good as what we had in California. Never tried it again though

  4. Aimee Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I make Sante Fe Lima Bean Soup from a (closed) restaurant in Atlanta called Sidney’s Just South… I use their cookbook all the time and love it :)

  5. Jessica Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I tried to recreate the crab cakes and their set up from sasha’s on shaw. it turned out pretty good if i do say so myself!

    i would LOOOOVE to recreate Roberta’s cheezus H christ though. the honey on the peppery pizza is the best insider secret i’ve ever had!

  6. Jane G Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Coincidentally, I’m always trying to replicate pizzas with cracker-thin crust. I’ve had some small successes, but nothing really close. I either need a new oven or a new method!

  7. Michele Pusateri Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Always trying to replicate the pasta carbonara I had at a restaurant in Venice. Close, but not ever perfect

  8. Jason Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 11:54 am

    A number of years ago I visited Tokyo and fell in love with Katsudon. I ordered it almost every opportunity I had. I have attempted to recreate it numerous times since returning but so far it has been nothing close to what I had in Japan. That won’t keep me from trying again though!

  9. Emily R. Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Always trying to recreate lots of dishes from my favorite restaurants, but the one I keep missing the mark on is banana bread from Penny Cluse in Vermont. Not an actual dish, but is the food item I dream about the most!

  10. Frances Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve tried to recreate Chick Fil A’s tortilla chicken soup. it’s soooo good, i just dont like the idea of spending my money there. i’m getting really close, but just not quite there yet – i still need to try different items/techniques to make it perfect!

  11. Nicole M. Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I try to replicate Luciano’s gnocchi on the hill. It’s the best I’ve ever had – so light for a gnocchi. I never manage to match it’s complex flavors and lightness, but I love trying!

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