Wednesday, July 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Foothill gourmet: Love pizza?

By
From page A10 | September 12, 2012 |

Donna Brown

DONNA BROWN

Today’s column includes techniques to use with either purchased pizzas or homemade dough and I guarantee you will make the best pizza your family and friends have ever tasted. You’ll be so confident of your pizza making skills that you’ll want to share these rarely known techniques that supply pizzas with remarkable flavors.

The best part — these techniques aren’t labor intensive. Get ready for fantastic results.

I learned these techniques through my own experience and attending Learning Center classes from Kurt Spartaro. Formally, the executive chef of Paragary’s, a popular Sacramento eating and gathering place, he did go on to open his own restaurant, Spartaro’s. Paragary’s cooks pizza in a wood fired brick oven. In a wood fired brick oven, the pizza dough rises and cooks quickly making the dough crisp on the outside, but tender inside.

Don’t have a wood fired brick oven. Simulate a wood fired brick oven at home. Purchase unglazed (clay pot colored) ceramic tiles from a tile store or a local discount building supply. Buy enough tiles to line the entire top shelf of your oven. The tiles are available in 6 and 12 inch sizes.

During the summer, we skip heating up the oven, by using the barbecue instead. To convert a barbecue to a gas fired brick oven, figure out the size of your grill and buy 12 or 6 inch tiles to cover that area. Don’t hesitate to buy a few extra tiles; after constant use, the tiles can break.

Pizza cooking tiles are also available in gourmet cooking stores, however, they are more expensive ($29.99 and up) and usually don’t cover the entire top shelf.

For the oven: Line the top shelf of the oven with the tiles and heat at 500 degrees for 1 hour. This step is important to adequately warm up the tiles. You can be slicing vegetables and getting other toppings ready while the oven heats. The heated tiles bake the pizza dough quickly. It will be crisp on the bottom, yet tender inside. During the summer months we heat a 12-inch tile on the grill on medium heat for 5 minutes.

When preparing the pizza a second important technique is to be absolutely sure that all extra moisture from any sauce or topping is removed. Extra water will make the dough soggy and unable to rise.

The pizza sauce should be about the consistency of tomato paste. When I am out of homemade pizza sauce, I use tomato paste with a sprinkling of Italian herbs. With all the other good flavors that go on the pizza, it works and has no extra water.

Next, use a light hand with heavy ingredients or wet ingredients; meat, cheeses, fresh tomatoes, and zucchini because heavy or wet ingredients make it difficult for the dough to rise. Then, use a heavy hand with light or flavorful ingredients; fresh herbs, garlic, good olives, roasted peppers, roasted onions or flavored oils.

Drizzling a flavored oil (truffle oil, herb flavored oil, or lemon oil are great examples) on top of the cooked pizza is optional. It’s a flavorful finish.

Try grilled vegetables for more intense flavors. Grill extra vegetables and refrigerate. Then use them within 2-3 days when assembling the next pizza

Comments

comments

.

News

Six file for Dist. 2

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

 
District 2 candidates forum Aug. 14

By News Release | From Page: B1

EID ditch customers get relief

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

 
Veterans receive wildland fire training

By News Release | From Page: B1

Market data open for local biz

By Ross Branch | From Page: B1

 
Heard over the back fence: Attorney to warn about scams

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

 
Road zone of benefit protester reaches dead end

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Volunteers clean up national forest

By News Release | From Page: A3 | Gallery

.

Opinion

My turn: Special interests at EID

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Russian metastasis

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

The Democratic-Chronicles: Not invented here

By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

DA hogging Main St. parking

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
CAO and staff hiring friends

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Altshuler’s hypocrisy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Small Farm compromise

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

EID and Dale Coco

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
.

Sports

Roundup: July 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Dolphins ring up another title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sharks defeat Loomis Basin in season finale

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Celebrity golf at Tahoe

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Dodgeball: Not the national pastime but …

By Shane Theodore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Prospecting

At a glance: Comets to meteors

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Taste the best at the State Fair

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Tractor Supply Store recognized

By Uc Cooperative | From Page: B3

 
Amador Fair honors cowboys

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B3

 
Arbor Day book helps to identify trees

By Arbor Day | From Page: B4

Learn about lavender and its many benefits

By Christian Women's Connection | From Page: B4

 
Lee’s Feed appreciates customers

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B5

 
My Time meeting in August

By Senior Day | From Page: B5

Builders’ Exchange honors scholars

By El Dorado Builders' Exchange | From Page: B5

 
En garde at Silver Screen Classic

By Auburn Silver Screen | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 8-10

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Walter Vali

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Jean Lachelle Taylor

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8