Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Milano-Style Pizza and Chocolate Salami from Ambrogio15


Are you a frustrated pizza maker? I think all of us who love to cook have gone through a pizza-making phase, finally giving it up in frustration. We've lined ovens with tiles, spritzed with water, tried different flours, different methods of dough making. And then threw up our hands and went out to eat.

I think you should give it one more shot--based on an afternoon I spent with Andrea Burrone of Ambrogio15 in Pacific Beach. This sweet, charming, and very talented young man from Milan, who started out professionally working in banking, has clearly found his calling. And his calling is making pizza in San Diego using traditional Italian ingredients and techniques... Lucky us.


Now Burrone is working with something we don't have: a ginormous Marana Forni oven imported from Italy that reaches temperatures of 700 degrees--something your home oven can't even dream of. But are there any home cooks better than Italian home cooks? If they can do it in their ovens, so can we--if we know what we're doing. And with Burrone as a coach, we now know what we're doing.

In fact, Burrone revamped the proprietary restaurant recipe to work for a home cook. For one thing, while he uses a biga--or starter--at the restaurant, the recipe we have here is for a direct dough, using active yeast, 0 flour, water, sugar, and salt. (And while I don't have the recipe here, the restaurant also makes a superb, very crunchy whole wheat crust Margherita pizza below.)


The other thing we should do is to bake the crust first, then add the topping. This way the pizza crust gets nice and crunchy, not soggy (yeah, I've been there, too). And the dough should be baked first at the bottom of the oven sans toppings and then in the middle once it's filled.


Instead of making dough in his large mixer, Burrone demonstrated dough making in a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, using the dough hook. First, he began by activating the yeast, mixing it with room temperature water and sugar, then letting it sit for about 15 minutes.

Once the yeast was bubbling, he placed 0 flour in the bowl of the mixer. He then added the yeast mixture, slowly blending it until incorporated. With that, Burrone added more water and brought up the speed, then olive oil, speeding it up again, then salt. Max out the speed and keep it going until the dough pulls away from the sides and forms a ball. Depending on the weather--both temperature and humidity--you may have to add more flour or more oil to get it to that point.

Stop the mixer, pull the bowl out, cover and let the dough rest until it doubles in size. Then comes the fun. Divide the dough into sections 100 grams each (yeah, you'll need a kitchen scale to do all this). Each ball will make a 12-inch round paper thin Milano-style pizza.


Turn each piece into a ball by pulling the sides out and under until the ball is smooth. Then turn it over and pinch the underside to seal. Do this to each piece, cover, and let rest at least two hours until they've doubled in volume.

When you're ready to make the pizzas, turn on the oven to 500˚F to preheat. Now you have a choice--you can either use a rolling pin to roll out the dough or use the tips of your fingers to gently press it out. Use flour or semolina to keep the surface from getting sticky when you shape the dough. And when you put the shaped dough on a pan, be sure to put oil topped by a sprinkling of semolina or cooking spray on the pan before placing the dough on it.


Now you'll place the pan in the lowest part of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove it and add your topping--whether it's the delightful Arugula Pistachio Pesto below or tomato sauce (be sure to use peeled San Marzano tomatoes with basil--in the yellow can--for what Burrone says is the most authentic margherita-style pizza), topped with cheese. Then put the pizza back in the oven, but on a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake it for another 4 to 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. That's it!


Here's another Burrone tip. If you're using fresh mozzarella on your pizza, make sure that the night before you place it in a colander over a bowl so that it will release its water--and you again avoid a soggy pizza crust. And don't, don't, don't use pre-shredded cheese. Just don't.


Pleased with yourself and ready for dessert? Burrone's co-owner Giacomo Pizzigoni shared a "grandma" recipe with me. A chocolate salami. This, he says, is very common in Italy but not something you'll ever find in restaurants (including Ambrogio15).


Make it now, taking advantage of the fact that it requires no cooking, or making it when it's most traditional--at Christmas time. The "salami" is, in fact, cocoa powder mixed with sugar, biscuit pieces, melted butter, and very fresh eggs, all mixed together, shaped into a sausage, wrapped in foil, and frozen for an hour. Pizzigoni said to serve it with whipped cream, mascarpone, or berries. I can tell you it's fabulous!


Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pizza
from Andrea Burrone of Ambrogio15
(printable recipe)

Note: Most American home cooks are used to measuring by volume, not weight. Here, most of the amounts are indicated by weight using grams. If you have a kitchen scale, this should be no problem--and the measurements will be more accurate, creating a more successful outcome.

Ingredients

Pizza dough
Yield, 5 to 6, 12-inch pizzas

25 grams fresh dry yeast
30 grams water, room temperature
5 grams sugar
575 grams 0 flour (If you can't find it locally at places like Whole Foods or Mona Lisa it's available on Amazon.com)
300 grams water
30 grams extra virgin olive oil
12 grams salt


Arugula Pistachio Pesto
Yield: 4 cups

3 cloves garlic
100 grams pistachio nuts, raw and unsalated
150 grams parmesan cheese
15 grams salt
300 grams fresh arugula
450 grams extra virgin olive oil

1 ball of fresh mozzarella, drained overnight
5 or 6 slices mortadella (optional)
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)

Directions
1. Combine yeast, water, and sugar. Let sit 15 minutes. It should be bubbling.
2. Insert dough hook in stand mixer. Place flour in the mixer's bowl. Add yeast mixer and start blending at the 3 speed until incorporated. Slowly add water and bring up speed to blend. Slow it down and add the olive oil and speed it up again. Slow it down to add salt (and, if it's too thin, more flour). Bring the mixer to maximum speed (6 to 8) and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides and forms a ball.
3. Remove bowl from mixer, cover, and let the dough rest for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
4. Divide the dough into 5 to 6 pieces, each weighing 100 grams for a 12-inch pizza. Form balls with each by pulling the sides out and under while turning until the surface is smooth. Pinch the underside to seal. Sprinkle some semolina or flour on the counter or a tray and place the balls on them. Cover and let rest for at least 2 hours until the balls double in volume.
5. To make the pest, place all the ingredients except the oil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend them together, then slowly add the oil. If it's too thick, add a little water. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
6. To cook the pizza, preheat the oven to 500˚F. Roll out the dough by hand, pressing and shaping it in a 12-inch circle with your fingertips, or use a rolling pin. Spread a little oil on the pan and then sprinkle it lightly with semolina or use a baking spray like Pam. Place the pizza dough on the pan and place on the lowest rack in the oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
7. Remove pizza crust from oven. Spread about 2 tablespoons of pesto on the crust and top with pieces of mozzarella.
8. Place pizza back in the oven, but on the middle rack. Bake another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and top with folded slices of mortadella and fresh cherry tomatoes.


Chocolate Salami
from Giacomo Pizzigoni of Ambrogio15
(printable recipe)
Yield: 1 "salami"

Ingredients
300 grams sweet biscuits, like McVitties, broken up into bite-sized pieces
130 grams white sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 eggs (make sure they're very fresh)
200 grams butter, melted and cooled


Directions
1. Combine the biscuits, sugar, cocoa, and eggs. Mix well. Add butter and mix well.
2. Pour the mixture on a large piece of aluminum foil--about 2 feet long. Shape into a salami.


3. Wrap the foil around the salami and freeze for 1 hour. Place in refrigerator.
4. To serve, slice pieces and plate. Serve with berries and mascarpone or whipped cream.


Ambrogio15 is open Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. on Fridays. On Saturday, it's open from noon to 11 p.m. and on Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. It's located at 926 Turquoise St. in North Pacific Beach.







Print Page