April 10, 2013 and we have a high of 79 degrees here in the big apple. It’s the first day of real heat. It was too hot to baby-wear my 6-month old in a carrier so I had to return from errand running to grab the stroller. She seemed happy with that and fell sound asleep within 10 minutes. I took my sleeping baby to Raffetto’s on Houston St. here in NYC. One of the last remaining Italian groceries specializing in home made pastas and raviolis, it’s pretty romantic but still totally utilitarian that it actually makes a great place to bring a special someone. It was a frequent “errand” when I was courting my wife. Honestly, food shops like this make great pseudo-dates. If you are in New York City and have access to a kitchen, I highly recommend stopping by and picking yourself dinner. You know a place is good if tour guides take their charges to visit.
L’Epicerie Cord’homme loves and supports old mom and pop shops like Raffetto’s. Just remember to bring cash as they don’t take credit cards. Check out their video.
This small shop also has amazing prices. I noticed today the Olave brand olive oil was $10 cheaper than at other well-known fancy foods grocers. Today, I bought some Spinach & Cheese Ravioli there which I will make for dinner tomorrow night. I also bought some assorted cheeses including some fresh mozzarella for tonight’s homemade pizza. I am going to give you the recipe for the quick & easy version. Check back for the “from scratch” version in a later post.
Before you begin, let the dough defrost for 24 hours ahead of time in the refrigerator then let sit at room temperature for a couple hours before you use it. We have a pizza stone that my wife bought me as a belated birthday gift. I had been talking about buying one for ages. All my gum-flapping paid off because I love it! There are many great brands out there and I highly recommend doing a little reserach to make sure you get one that best suits your needs.
For the tomato sauce, just go for a standard, cheap brand. Most store bought sauces are pretty much just plain canned tomato sauce with tomato puree mixed in. It’s definitely cheaper and more fun to just add interesting ingredients out of your pantry or use leftovers from the fridge to create a unique sauce.
Mozzarella… Can’t really cheat here. The stuff they sell in the square packages at the supermarket will do in a pinch, but if you can, spring for the fresh stuff that you find in oblong balls wrapped in plastic wrap.
Now for the toppings, I kept mine simple and went with Pepperoni and Jalapeno. Always taste a sample of your chili pepper as not to be surprised by the heat output. Favorite toppings are like favorite colors, totally personal and totally right. Don’t limit yourself to the classics, pizza making should be all about experimentation. Par cook your proteins such as meat/chicken to ensure that your meats are not undercooked.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pizza dough (For this recipe, I use frozen)
- Pasta sauce (Again, the jarred variety)
- Mozzerella (There’s no short cut for this. Just get the best you can afford.)
- Toppings and Herbs (Anything goes as long as it tastes good and nobody gets hurt!)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Oil your pizza stone or cookie sheet. I like to use a drizzle of olive oil that I spread with a paper towel. Lay out your pizza dough and par cook it for 15 minutes. This will help ensure that your pizza isn’t soggy. Once it’s done, add your sauce, spices, mozzerella and toppings. Put it back in the oven for 25 minutes or until the chese is melted and a light golden brown.
– Maintenant manger!