In The Kitchen

September 25, 2012

Bechamel Sauce

Béchamel and mornay sauces fall into the white sauce category. Mastering both of these sauces opens up a wide and wonderful world of flavors that you can use to enhance pasta and pizza creations. But first some background information is in order. Food historians are pretty much in agreement that the original white sauce, known… Read More

September 25, 2012

Nut-Free Pesto

Worried about potential allergic reactions? Want a nut-free pesto? Start with coarsely ground cheese as opposed to finely ground cheese to help better approximate the texture of a traditional pesto. Next, add fennel or finely diced carrots, zucchini or celery. This will provide a different flavor, one that will distinguish your pesto from the competition. Read More

September 25, 2012

Gorgonzola

I could (and often do) make a meal of crusty Italian bread, Gorgonzola cheese, and a lusty Italian red wine (such as Barolo, Chianti Riserva or Barbaresco). The Gorgonzola I would select would be Gorgonzola naturale, which has a more assertive flavor than Gorgonzola dolce (aka dolcelatte), which is delicate. I could also, instead of… Read More

September 25, 2012

Fried Artichoke & Zucchini

The appetizer section of menus has been taking a beating in the many Chicago restaurants I visit every day in my role as chief restaurant critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. I see customers moving away from expensive appetizers (and, believe me, the price of apps have gone through the roof) and moving directly to an entree… Read More

September 25, 2012

Cannoli

If there were an Italian dessert hall of fame, cannoli would surely be in it (along with tiramisu, gelato and ricotta cheesecake). The word “cannoli” is as recognizable and understood as the word “pizza.” It has to do with the broad appeal of the product. Everyone, from kids to senior citizens, loves cannoli. Cannoli’s (the… Read More

classic, sausage, pizza

September 25, 2012

Sausage — the second most popular pizza topping

Considering the fact that sausage is the second most popular pizza topping, it’s interesting that all too often we take this major money maker for granted. And because sausage is one of the most popular topping requests, we should be doubly sure that we are doing the right thing. The “right thing,” in this instance,… Read More

Bacon is Back

September 25, 2012

Bacon is Back

Bacon is back. In the past few months I have come across no fewer than seven food articles in which bacon played either a main role or a supporting role in various dishes. Talk about pigging out. Did you know that there was a “Bacon of the Month Club?” Now you do. And have you… Read More

September 25, 2012

House Made Sausage

The assignment: How to Make Sausage for Pizza. What kind of sausage? That would be my first question. Italian? Well, the assignment did use the word “pizza,” so I am assuming it’s Italian sausage. But wait. There are as many versions of Italian sausage as there are regions in Italy. Not a problem (not that… Read More

September 25, 2012

Ricotta Revelry

Love it or hate it, ricotta just may be the most versatile cheese found in pizzerias today. Not only is it used in pasta dishes, but it can also be found atop pizzas and in rich, delightful sauces and desserts. It’s important to understand what ricotta comes from and how it’s made. Ricotta is Italian for “recooked”… Read More

Meat Luvahs

September 25, 2012

Meat Luvahs

What’s it going to be for that meat lover’s pizza? Three meats? Four meats? Five meats? Be careful –– don’t turn that pizza into a meat casserole or a grease trap. Common sense must prevail when putting together a meat lover’s pizza. Balance is also a key issue, as more is not always better. What… Read More

Modern Pizza Trends Blend Old-World Style with New-Age Tips and Tricks

As it was first created in Italy, every pizza dough formula consists of flour, salt, yeast and water. Yet modern operators are finding ways to incorporate new flavors and styles into a very old technique. Thin-crust pizza still remains an American favorite, but the country’s many regions have brought to life their own styles. These are more than just pizza trends. Americans are fiercely loyal to their particular favorite pizza styles, from Deep Dish, Grandma and Old Forge to California, Detroit and New Haven. Everyone’s got a favorite –– and Pizza Today examines them all!

 

 

Today’s Restaurant Kitchens Feature More Than Traditional Toppings

Finding a point of differentiation is key when it comes to creating a menu. The pizza industry’s top ingredients include pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green pepper and onion, and every pizzeria offers some version of these toppings. Today, however, the pizza makeline is ever changing and diners are just as likely to find roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, truffle oil and shrimp alongside their classic favorites. And the flavor doesn’t stop on top. Modern pizzaioli have found ways to implement flavor in their pizza dough formula as well. Ingredients like beer, spelt, whole wheat and molasses can give an operator a leg up on their competition and create a one-of-a-kind flavor profile that diners won’t find anywhere else.