In The Kitchen

September 25, 2012

Fresh Mozzarella

Let’s go back in time to May of 1889. We find Queen Margherita and her husband, King Umberto I, being served pizza at the palazzo in Naples where they are staying. The king and queen had heard about the famous pizzas of Naples, so naturally they wanted to try them. The pizzaioli chosen to make… Read More

September 25, 2012

Toppings: Over or Under?

This over-under debate has nothing to do with betting. Rather, it concerns pizza toppings and where to put them. The gist of this over-under scenario is a stew of ingredients that include tradition, appearance and common sense. Common sense and appearance implies that, for example, you are not going to put the slices of pepperoni… Read More

September 25, 2012

Parmesan Provolone

Parmesan and provolone are as different as night and day, but both of these cheeses are as important to Italian cuisine as Sophia Loren is to Naples. Parmesan is a cow’s milk cheese that is made in huge wheels and aged for a specific time. Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano is the esteemed Italian version, which by law… Read More

September 25, 2012

Hazelnut Chocolate Pudding Cake

I think it’s high time that we look a bit deeper into the riches that Italian sweet treats has to offer. It’s simple to take the easy way out –– not having to create, make and worry about desserts at all. But by doing so, you are not only losing revenue, you are losing customer… Read More

September 25, 2012

Zucchini Sticks

Never look down on the idea of stick food as an appetizer option. Children and adults alike love stick food –– it’s fun, easy to eat, something a bit different. Stick food is here to stay. I have written about fried mozzarella sticks for Pizza Today on several occasions and, no question about it, mozzarella… 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

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

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.