Thursday, August 9, 2018


Calabria is in the most southern region of Italy, forming the "toe" of the peninsula. They are known for their spicy Calabrese salami. This recipe is for 3 8-inch pizzas or 2 12-inch pizzas. I have a system where I bake two at a time, and I definitely use a timer. Make your dough about 30 to 36 hours before you want to serve the pizzas. The slow rise in the refrigerator gives the dough a more complex flavor and crispier crust.

Pizza Dough
¾ cup lukewarm water
1 t active dry yeast
2 cups unbleached bread flour 
t fine sea salt

Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough 
hook. You can also do this in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
Sprinkle in yeast and let proof for 10 minutes, until the yeast is creamy and foaming.

With the mixer running, slowly add the flour alternating with the rest of the water and salt.

Continue to mix until a ball forms, about 10 minutes

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until dough is soft and not 
Divide dough into 3 or 2 equal balls and place on a lightly oiled tray or small baking sheet. 
Lightly oil the tops of each ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 36 hours, if possible.
You can also place each ball into a zip-lock plastic bag and refrigerate.

Remove from refrigerator and let the dough come to room temperature before shaping.

Form each ball of dough to an 8-inch round (for 3 pizzas) or 12-inch round (2 pizzas). 

Place on lightly oiled pizza pans.

Simple Pizza Sauce

1 T extra-light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press
1 (28-oz) can Italian peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, hand crushed
1 t fresh or freeze-dried oregano
1 t chopped fresh or freeze-dried basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the garlic for one minute.

Pour in the tomatoes and add the oregano and basil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Gently simmer 30 minutes.

Pizza Assembly

Simple Pizza Sauce
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 lb ball mozzarella, broken into pieces or sliced
12 thin slices spicy Calabrese salami
Fresh basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 450 F degrees.

Preheat a pizza stone on the bottom rack of oven for 15 minutes. 
Alternatively, you can just bake pizzas on pizza pans.

Spread a ladle of tomato sauce on each pizza dough.

Sprinkle each with a tablespoon or two of Parmigiano cheese.
Add a few chunks of the mozzarella to each.
Add 4 to 6 slices of Calabrese salami to each.

Place one pizza pan on bottom rack and bake for 5 minutes.

Slide the crust directly onto the stone and bake for another 10 minutes.
In the meantime, place another pizza on the middle rack after the first pizza has been cooking on the stone for 5 to 7 minutes.
I do an assembly-line of pizzas this way, definitely using a timer.

Remove from oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Makes 2 to 3 pizzas

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


If you cannot find guanciale or pancetta in your supermarket, use unflavored bacon. I bought my porcini ravioli at a local pasta store on the island owned by Max Del Vecchio.

6 oz  guanciale or pancetta, diced
1 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
½ medium yellow onion, diced
½ t red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28-oz) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes
¼ cup Pino Grigio or other dry white wine
2 t chopped fresh basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ lb (12 oz) fresh porcini ravioli
2 T freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the pancetta and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the oil and sauté the onion and red pepper flakes for 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and hand-crush them, removing any hard center cores.

Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.

To the saucepan, add the crushed tomatoes, wine, basil, and season to taste with salt and 
Simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes.

Just a few minutes before the pasta sauce is finished, boil the ravioli in salted water until they float to the top of the water, about 3 to 4 minutes. 

Remove ravioli with a large slotted spoon or a spider to two warm pasta bowls.
Save a little of the pasta water to add to the sauce.

When the sauce is finished simmering, stir in a little of the pasta water and the grated cheese.

Spoon some sauce over each bowl of ravioli.
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle on a little more cheese and garnish with basil.

Buon appetito!

Serves 2 with plenty of sauce left over.