In The Kitchen

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

Giardiniera

Giardiniera (jahr-dee-N’YEHR-ah) is one of those situations where even if you stumble through the pronunciation, it still comes out sounding really good, as in appetizing. Here’s another way you can master all those consonants wrapped in vowels. Just say “jar-dee-nearer” and it will be close enough. The giardiniera family can be quite interesting. If it… 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

Potato Tart

Some clarification on Pecorino Romano and Romano is in order. A true pecorino Romano is made from Sheep’s milk (pecorino translates as “little sheep”) and comes from an area around Rome (though pecorino is made in many regions of Italy). Romano made in this country is made with cow’s milk. Pecorino Romano, which is indispensable… 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

September 25, 2012

Incorporate Antipasta Across the Menu

Don’t limit the antipasto concept to platters. Consider the suggestions below to stretch antipasto across the menu: • Create an antipasto salad where assorted meats, cheese and vegetables sit over mixed greens. • Offer antipasto-style subs, paninis, wraps or sandwiches built around standard platter ingredients such as salami, pepperoni and cheese or roasted artichoke hearts,… Read More

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

September 25, 2012

Veal Parmigiana

Vitello parmigiana, veal parmigiana, or veal Parmesan? Take your pick as to which wording you want to use to list this classic dish on your menu since all of them will serve your customers well — as long as you make it great. You have to admit, though, that Vitello Parmigiana has a certain ring… Read More

September 25, 2012

The Bold & Beautiful Tomato

All of us in this business are well aware of the excellent canned tomatoes at our disposal, so it goes without saying that we use them –– a lot –– in various ways, whether it be a sauce for pasta, or to ladle onto a pizza crust. For a different flavor, however, keep in mind… Read More

September 25, 2012

Sauce Doctoring

Ask ten French chefs to make a Béarnaise sauce and each of the sauces will taste the same. Ask ten Italian chefs to make a Bolognese sauce and none of the sauces will taste the same. No reflection on the expertise of either group of chefs, but there is something about sauces that pique the… 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.