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Argentinian Fugazzeta

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Category: Latin America
Forum Name: South America
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Printed Date: 01 March 2021 at 00:24

Topic: Argentinian Fugazzeta
Posted By: gracoman
Subject: Argentinian Fugazzeta
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 07:23
Fugazzeta - Argentinian Stuffed Pizza

It has been estimated half of Argentina's population is of Italian dissent. Pizza is everywhere. Who knew?

Fugazzeta is a double crusted or stuffed version of the popular Argentinian Fugazza. An onion topped pizza similar to focaccia.

My 15" fugazzeta, pictured below, is stuffed with mozarella, ham, and provolone, topped with another crust, and mounded with vertically sliced onions that have been soaked in salted water,
mixed with extra virgin olive oil, cheese and oregano.

This 15" fugazzeta is mounded with 3 large onions making a layer easily 1" thick over the entire top of the pie.  I was a little nervous about such a large amount of onion but it was fine.  The charred bits added a tremendous amount of flavor.   The amount of onion was not a problem, but so much cheese.

Argentina must really like cheese. This was a cheese bomb.  If I were to make it again I'd halve the amount of cheese.  A few recipes I came across, all written in Spanish, called for the addition of cream cheese to the mozzarella and provolone.  Yikes!

Fugazzeta assembled">

On my ceramic cooker, a decent pizza oven, at 450ºF">

30 minutes later... done">

One slice per person is enough">

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 09:13
That looks very good to me - I don't know whether I should be proud or ashamed, but I could easily eat more than one...probably three(!)...before I even thought about what was going on inside me.

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 09:24
Careful what you wish for Smile

This fuzzy pic is a better representation of what a slice of this double crusted pie looks like.  It is on a 12" diameter plate.">

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 09:40
That is wonderful, indeed.

I'm not sure how old you were during the 1980s, but back when Pizza Hut actually made good pizza at the locations, rather than trucking it all in, they had a product that was a stuffed pizza: crust, a deep layer of filling, crust and toppings. They called it a "Priazzo," and it was glorious:

The Fugazzeta, of course, looks to be entirely different, but the basic idea seems to be similar.

I've had Pissaladière, which is a single layer of crust, topped with caramelized onions, anchovies and olives:

This was very good, and might be a little closer to being similar to the Fugazetta; I've also made focaccia that has crust, cheeses, and then topped with crust, called Focaccia al Formaggio di Recco:

This was very good, as well, and I see a few similarities, except that the focaccia is much thinner.

In both cases, it looks like the Fugazetta takes it over the top!

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 10:37
It looks to me like the "Prizzo" was Pizza Hut's attempt at a Chicago Deep Dish pie.  I've baked my share of those but don't like them as much as New York or New Haven style. I've never been a fan of Pizza Hut although I will grant it was better in the early eighties. 

I come from the the land of pizza, described by pizza aficionados as the "Pizza Belt" of the United States. Because of this, it's difficult to impress me.  I've been ruined. When I go back East to visit I spend a lot of time in pizza joints. 

Modern Pizza and Frank Pepe's are phenomenal but the finest pizza I know of was baked in a dive Bar in Fairfield Ct called Three Corner.  Sit at the bar and order a "Garbage Pie" and all was right with the world. Three Corner changed owners who immediately remodeled it, and then went under.  Probably because the food wasn't comparable to what it was originally.  Twas a sad day indeed.

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 10:45
Typo corrected!

Here in Montana, it's tough to get the "real" thing, but several Montana towns have good mom-and-pop pizzerias; probably not "authentic," but all of them have good food, loyal customers and a kind of early-to-mid-60s atmosphere. Difficult to describe. The 3 top contenders in the state are consistently Eugene's in Glasgow, Nalivka's in Havre and Howard's in Great Falls. Village Pizza in Helena could be in the running, as well. I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite, but for nostalgic reasons, I personally would grant them 1st through 4th in the order as presented above. Now that I think of it, there is a little place in PLENTYWOOD of all places, that would probably come before Village Pizza, and Stretch's Pizza in Malta would be right after that, bumping Village Pzza to 6th.

My mother was a huge fan of Giuseppe's in Colorado Springs; in her day, it was evidently very good and - I assume - authentic, as there is a decent Italian population around there. Unfortunately, it changed owners as well, and went downhill. Last I heard the original burned down.

As far as the Priazzo, I remember them being very good - I guess they could be like a Chicago Deep Dish with a "regular" pizza on top. I remember it being the one product where Pizza Hut really seemed to care that it was made well. Of course, those days are gone and these days I'd rather eat certain frozen pizzas than Pizza Hut.

This is probably all better suited on another thread, but that's alright.

Great thread! I "gave up" pizza for Lent (along with other foods I shouldn't be eating), but I think I'll be trying something in April - in moderation, of course!

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 11:43
There's a town in Colorado, close to where I live, called Louisville.  That's Lou-isss-ville not Louieville and the towns residence are quick to correct you on this.  Louisville was settled by Italian immigrants and is famous (kinda-sorta) locally famous anyway, for their excellent Italian food.  For me, all of the Italian food there is mediocre at best.  Pizza included. 

I suppose the reasoning for this is lack of competition.  The area I was raised in is home to a zillion small  pizza shops. Parlors if you will.  And there are different styles.  Greek being one of them.  If you want to stay in the pizza business in an area where the market is flooded, you'd best serve a quality pie.  These Being so close to New York means top quality ingredients are always just a phone call away.

It's interesting to note that pizza shops are listed there in the phone books under "A" for Apizza not "P" for pizza. This is due to the influence New Haven style pizza has there.  It is always called apizza and pronounced "a-beats" by the local Italians. 

If you don't know what pizza can be, what do you compare your favorite local pizza to?  I suspect that your Mom's love of Giuseppe's in the Springs has something to do with that.

I was born and raised in Ct but my extended family lives in Maine.  The worst pizza and Chinese food I've ever eaten was in Maine.  The locals raved about it but the pizza was probably worse than a frozen pie and they poured beef gravy on whatever Chinese dish I ordered.  I hear it is better now but rural Maine has a lot of catching up to do.  Montana sounds similar in that you are in for a drive if you want to find just about anything.  There's something to be said about that though. 

I love the small town rural atmosphere even if everybody knows everybody else's business.  To bad drugs and alcohol seem to have found their way into that environment.  Young folks bore easily and seem to get into more trouble in places like these.

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 12:07
Some good points there, and I suspect you are right; if someone is the only pizza guy in town, then there isn't much to compare it with.

I'll be delving into home-made pizza again, soon, and will have to see what I can come up with; maybe not so much as far as authentic ingredients (special imported flour etc.), but improved methods. A couple of ways I can improve would be trying "delayed fermentation" of the dough, and making some home-made sauce, rather than using whatever Contadina or Ragu have to offer.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 14:46
Give it up, G-man. Those who are unfamiliar with the true gelt can not understand what real pizza is. There's just no point to arguing it.

I never forget the first Chicago-area pizza I had. My God! Canned sauce, artificial cheese, on a cracker-like crust. And cut in squares, for Pete's sake.

A coworker, who'd been relocated several years before me, said, "the problem is, you're thinking of it as pizza. If you think of it as cardboard with some sauce and phony cheese on it, it ain't bad!"

That was not deep dish, obviously. My problem with deep dish isn't the taste---when done well it's a really tasty meal. But it ain't pizza. It's a casserole.

FWIW, the best pizza I've ever had came from a small place in Oakland, NJ, a town with no other claim to greatness.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 09:07
This fugazzeta thread has taken an interesting turn and I'm going to run with it.  This is going to be a long post so feel free to move it and several of the above posts to the Pizza thread to keep things better organized.

Brook, you are 100% correct about trying to explain what great pizza is to folks who have never had the pleasure.  They just don't know.

I;m not surprised the finest pizza you've ever had was in New Jersey.  Jersey is no slouch when it comes to great pizza.  People from other places don't know this and it is a shame.  NJ is a fixture in the - pizza belt which I referred to earlier. - The Pizza Belt explained.  I grew up in the pizza belt.  The best other places can do is merely adequate*.

The following is from the Gawker site, linked above. This exactly explains my position on Apizza.
  • Chicago is not in the Pizza Belt. I have no desire to discuss Chicago-style pizza.
  • Neither is San Francisco, for Christ's sake.[2]
  • Indeed: Beyond the Greater Pizza Belt Area is a wasteland.

"The Pizza Belt is the final word on regional variations in pizza quality in the United States. No further blog posts or discussions regarding the topic will be allowed from now on. Pizza-related opinions from people born and raised outside of the Pizza Belt are particularly unwelcome and will be dismissed with prejudice."

"Those born and raised inside the confines of the Pizza Belt, spoiled by its riches, often confuse "adequate pizza"* for "bad pizza"  "Only those weaned on the pizza of New Jersey or Connecticut, and have never encountered the horror of الربع الخالي  (the pizza wasteland), misunderstand that pizza as "bad." 

Frank Pepe's New Haven.  The pizza Mecca to which all pilgrims travel.">">">


Okay, enough with the sanctimonious crapola.

Brook, Chicago style deep dish pizza is not pizza.  I'm with you on that.  But this style has something going for it that New York style can't compete with.  Chicago style deep dish pizza is easily duplicated at home.  (What I'm calling NY style is a simplified way of saying great pizza.  Folks think thin crust when discussing NY style but not all thin crust pizza is necessarily great.) - The best primer on how to produce adequate NY style pizza.

There's a lot of information there but without an honest to goodness dedicated pizza oven, wood fired, gas or electric, you are doomed to failure in your quest to make great pizza at home.

I make a giant Chicago style pizza when feeding a crowd.  No, it ain't pizza but its great deep dish pizza.
This is also one of 2 deep dish styles.  it is a stuffed deep dish pie which means it is double crusted with all sauce placed on the top. 

I start with a well seasoned 18' deep dish pan">

Roll out the dough, drop it in the pan and layer with sliced mozzarella cheese.  This prevents the bottom crust from betting soggy.  Soggy bottom crust is real worry with this style">

Add a first layer of toppings, or in this case, filling.  Pre cooked Italian sausage, onion, pre sauteed mushrooms, black olives, artichoke hearts, sliced jalapenos.">

More cheese (a mix of mozzarella, and Italian blend)">

Now add a second layer of the same filling ingredients.">

Looks good but needs more cheese">

Cover with rolled out pizza dough and dock">

Add pizza sauce, diced tomatoes and a mix of basil pesto and squeeze tube basil">

Bake for an hour at 350ºF">

She's done">

These pies are unnatural monstrosities but folks like 'em.  This one weighed in at 14 pounds.  One slice plated on a full size dinner plate.">

Forgive me for I have sinned LOL


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 09:35
Well - I picked my jaw up off the desk, wiped off the drool from my keyboard, and tried to think of words that would be adequate, but none have entered my head.

The best I can do is...WOW - that's incredible!

Okay, you have convinced me re: Chicago Deep-Dish. I'll have to make it, and to Hades with the consequences.

Before I get too deep into that, I wanted to thank you for the information on real pizza as well. My immediate project is a "regular" pizza, so I'll look that over and follow the information to the best of my ability and equipment; of course, as far as the oven goes, the best I can do is a pizza stone, with another pizza stone above....or perhaps the Weber Kettle.....

On to the Chicago-style: Great job! It's on my list, as it appears to be very similar to (but much better than) the Priazzos (Priazzi?)that I remember so fondly.

And now, I'll commit what is probably my first faux pas: without a proper deep dish pan, can I use a cast iron pan? I have one that is a hair over 13 inches.

This is almost worthy of its own thread; but as the author of this thread and these excellent posts, I'll leave the choice to you, good sir - it can sit comfortably, either way.

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 10:22
Ron, Chicago style deep dish is easy.  Anyone can do it, including me.  The long and comparatively low cooking temperature is what makes it so easy. Especially with the step by step recipe and video posted below.  It is my go-to stuffed deep dish recipe and method. 

A cast iron pan works beautifully and I have seen many successful pies made in one.   I personally don't do smaller versions than 18" because I don't do deep dish just for myself.  To me, and I guess Brook, good deep dish is more like a multiple cheese lasagna encased in bread without any noodles.  I can't hold it in my hands, I can't fold it, there is no char, and the crust is more of an afterthought than an integral part of the pie. It's good but its not pizza.

Before we get to that have some - complicated deep dish information cause confusion make people think there is more to this than there is. - This written and video recipe is for a 12"-14" pie.  I'm not sure exactly what size pan she is using but 14" is the deep dish standard and 14" look about right.  She states the pan she is using is 18" x 1" deep but it is not.  It is 12 or 14" in diameter and at least 2" deep.  14" still makes a lot of food.  As you know, cast iron holds heat differently than a standard metal pan so you may have to adjust the timing a bit but it will turn out great.  Have fun with it. 

If you decide you like it, most people in Chicago do, you can order a 14" deep dish pizza pans pretty cheaply at a restaurant supply house. 

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 10:24
Oh,  merging the regular pizza stuff with an existing regular pizza thread is probably a good idea.  It will keep things organized.  Okay by me whatever you do.

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 10:42
Sounds good - I'll go through the information when the time comes and hopefully put it to good use!

I'll see what we can do about merging these posts with a dedicated pizza thread; this will also serve to put the focus of this thread back on your outstanding Fugazetta.

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Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 10:45
While we're on the subject, would you have any suggestions for a good pizza dough, as far as true pizza goes? I have one that I've been happy with, but I'm always open to improvements and suggestions. Brook and I have been discussing this very subject via email for the past couple of weeks, and it should make some great information for a dedicated pizza thread.

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 12:27
So many different methods for pizza dough.  I'm sure Brook and yourself have this nailed down and I probably can't add anything.  I'll just mention a couple of things in passing which you have probably already discussed, along with a few general pizza tips

I already know I'm never going to reproduce great pizza without a dedicated pizza oven so I don't worry to much about any aspects of pizza baking.  it will turn out fine.  Adequate is what I'm looking for and generally I can pull that off. 

As with all Italian dishes, keep it simple and buy the finest ingredients you can afford. Especially when it comes to the tomatoes.  Use D.O.T. Certified San Marzano tomatoes for the sauce.  Even within the D.O.T. certification quality varies.  There are simply no finer tomatoes in the world but I do have my favorite brands.

Don't pre cook the sauce.  This is blasphemy with good D.O.T. San Marzano tomatoes.  The sauce will cook enough on the pizza and leave a fresher, brighter and sweeter tomato flavor.  Don't overload your D.O.T. pizza sauce with herbs and spices.  It doesn't need it.  A pasta sauce made with these tomatoes only requires a bit of olive oil, a sprig of basil, and a small amount of crushed garlic added before simmering for only 5 - 10 minutes for the finest pasta sauce you have ever tasted.

Ugh, another can of worms opened.

D.O.T. means designated point of origin.  San Marzano tomatoes with a DOT certification are grown within a specific region in Italy and harvested in an approved manner.  Expect to pay between $5.00 and $7.00 per 28oz can.  They are worth every penny.  My favorite brand as of this writing is - LaValle .  They are reasonably priced, much better than DeLallo which is available at my local grocery store, and are of excellent quality.  There is another brand I really like but they are just to darned expensive. 

As with everything else these days, there are counterfeit DOT tomatoes on the market produced by China.   Cento sells certified San Marzano Tomatoes in local grocery stores but certified is not the same as DOT certified so don't be fooled.

The problem with American Tomatoes.
Yes, there is a problem and more than one.  All American tomatoes are canned with an inordinate amount of salt.  The sodium content of American tomatoes is through the roof.  Very little to no salt is added to DOP tomatoes.  Next is the issue of calcium chloride.  All American tomatoes are canned with calcium chloride.  This hardens tomatoes.  Manufacturers claim Americans like their tomatoes firm but this practice is a disgrace.  This chemical assures your tomatoes will never melt into a sauce.  And it makes running them through a food mill a chore. 

Some pizza toppings, like the sausage mentioned above, may not be available at all. 

Don't crowd your pizza with to many toppings.  Keep it simple. 

A baking steel will improve the quality of your home oven pizza over one baked on a pizza stone

A long slow fermentation in the fridge will develop better flavor. 
Most folks use AP or bread flour but I like Caputo 00.

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 12:58
There is some excellent information there, sir. Between Brook and you, I think we might have the makings of a really good database for people who want to step up their home-made pizza game.

I'll start a new thread and see if I can get it somewhat organized. This might take a few days, but it could eventually become a signature thread for the forum.

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 12:58
Did I mention how much I like these tomatoes LOL">

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 13:04
I checked those out on Amazon - The Beautiful Mrs. Tas might kill me for it, but I think a 6-pack of those would be worth getting - for research purposes, of course.

Currently, we only have the Cento "certified" tomatoes locally. Nothing else even close - so Amazon might be the way to go.

I also was recently poking around in the pantry and discovered that on one of our trips last year I picked up a 28-oz can of what appear to be "good" tomatoes. I am "pretty sure" they are Strianese...I'll have to check when I get home. I was planning on using them tonight for a marinara, but maybe I should get a can of Cento tomatoes for that, and save the Strianese for my next pizza.

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 14:02
I use Cento certified when running low on LaValle.  These tomatoes are grown in Italy but outside of the designated area.  They are better than mass produced American tomatoes.  That includes the highly touted Muir Glen's that are not nearly as good as people seen to think they are.  Cento used to export organic DOP certfied tomatoes that were fantastic but they got out of the business.

I use inexpensive tomatoes from Costco when cooking an all day sauce with plenty of herbs and spices. A gallon can runs less that $3.00.  To me, its not worth ruining good tomatoes when you won't be able to taste them.

If you decide to order LaValle from Amazon let me know.  Amazon moves these from several different sellers and a few have multiple complaints about dented cans.  I've gotten 2 dented cans in my past 4 orders. I order 18 cans at a time so that's not to bad I guess.  If you wanna play you gotta pay. Amazon is the only way I can get them but they are available in NJ grocery stores.

The Strainese sound good.  They are more expensive them LaValle but that may not mean anything.  It'll be tough going back once you taste the real thing.  You have been warned. 

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 17:40
Really good tips, G-man. A couple of things I'll add, more in the way of clarification that anything else.

1. Forget the adequate vs anything tag. Fact is, great pizza cannot be made in the home oven. It just won't get hot enough. So, don't worry about it. Do the best you can, and, if you're happy with the results, that's all that matters.
     To put this in perspective, low-temperature pizza ovens operate in excess of 800F. Wood- or coal-fired ovens run about 1,200F, and can fully bake a pizza in as little as three minutes. Home ovens max out at 500F, and cycle below that in 25F increments.

2. And more serious: Italian (as opposed to Italian/American) tomato sauces are much thinner than we're used to. Those thick, almost gelatinous, Sunday-gravy sauces we think of are all but unknown in Italy. If you think of a puree made with fresh tomatoes, that's just about where you need to be for a pizza sauce.

3: Cooking. There's one exception to that. In Italy, many chefs make their sauces in part or in whole with partially dehydrated cherry tomatoes. Although labor intensive, this really intensifies the tomato flavor.

4. Retarded fermentation: Absolutely! One reason pizzeria pies taste so much better is that the dough is made up the day before, then left to sit in temperature-controlled proofing trays until needed the next day. Chances are if you ask the pizza chef about delayed fermentation you'll get a blank look. But that's what it amounts to.
     For a full discussion about why retarded fermentation makes a better dough, see my bread making primer.

5. For the best results, pizza dough should be stretched, not rolled. All that fancy flipping in the air makes a good show, certainly. But its purpose is to stretch the dough.

Back to the regularly scheduled program.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 16 March 2018 at 19:31
I agree on all points but will also add.  And this only applies to the home cook.

I roll and stretch but have never gotten the airborne fling down.  Not that I haven't tried.  But I would need more practice which is something I don't get enough of. The stretch is all in the knuckles.  If your dough is good, there should be no problem.  I also use DOP San Marzano tomatoes run through a food mill with a little garlic and olive oil.  That's it.  It's a thin sauce.  Thin to win. We are on the same page

Commercial establishments have food safety rules to follow in the US as well as having a business to run. I believe pizza shops in the US do an overnight fermentation in the fridge whereas in Italy it is an overnight fermentation at close to room temperature.  To generalize is usually a mistake so I may be all wet about all of that. Back in the old days, when I was living in CT, most pizza shops had a windowed commercial refrigerator filled with pre made dough balls in plain view. Order a pizza and the pizzaiolo grabs a ball and goes to work.

Home cooks can more easily pull off a 3 day dough fermentation in the fridge and that is not uncommon.

One of the reasons I bought a ceramic cooker is the high temperatures it can achieve and stabilize at.  1,000+ degrees is possible and the ceramic mimics the evenly radiated heat of a wood fired pizza oven.  Especially with added ceramic mass like ceramic deflector plates and 1 or 2 pizza stones. Get that sucka heat soaked and your ready to rock and roll.  That is the hype.  The reality is a bit different.

I can and have cooked 16" pizzas in 3-5 minutes at 600+ degrees (I don't like going much higher) but that's where the similarity ends.  The chimney is really a good sized hole dead center in the dome.  It must be opened almost all the way to reach such high temps but can be partially closed after the target temp has been reached. This chimney hole is a cool spot directly over the pie.  For the pizza top to char in sync with the bottom char, it must be placed high in the dome for reflected and radiated heat to do its job.  But there is that pesky hole to deal with.

Margherita pizzas do pretty well in this environment since they aren't overloaded with toppings.  The trick is to get the top where you want it before the bottom burns.  A pizza screen on top of a heavy duty pizza stone helps solve this problem. 

Next is the problem with opening the dome to check or spin the pizza for even cooking.  Lifting the dome drops the temperature in the entire cooker.

After removing the first pie, it takes about 5 minutes for the temp to rebound then the dome must be opened again to place the next pie.  So you see it is not the ideal pizza cooker it is advertised as.  It does pretty well but I find I have better results at cooler temperatures and placing the pie lower in the cooker.

This is a better set up than a home oven but its far from perfect.

One of these days I will build an honest to goodness outdoor pizza oven with refractory cement.  If I do, something will happen and I'll have to move back East and I won't need it anymore.

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 17 March 2018 at 06:30
I should explain why I start with a short roll because it goes against the rules. 

The pizza I grew up with never had a large end crust.  It was there, don't get me wrong about that, it just wasn't the large thick pillow you see in pizza photos.  Often so large the rest seems crowded out.  If you want that type of crust don't start with a roll.  You'll want to keep the gas in there.  I find starting with a quick roll easier and if I stretch it correctly I barely notice the difference. 

"Real" pizzas are also smaller than pies I grew up with.  They are 12-14" in diameter.  To me, 18" is where its at.  14"would be considered a small.  This is not Italian.  It is Italian-American NY style pizza-belt pizza.

So please excuse my eccentricities.  Heck I also make pizza cones so what would you expect LOL">

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 17 March 2018 at 09:14
Yeah, size is another area of contention. Has more to do with mass production and profit margins, I reckon, then any attempt to make great pizza.

Where I grew up (Brooklyn & Queens), 16" was the standard size, 18" a large. I'd never even seen a 14" pie until I left New York.

Another exception to the do-not-precook the crust. For home cooks, if you preheat the oven to it's highest setting (usually 500F), then cook the crust on the stovetop, using a griddle (or outside over charcoal), you can then add the toppings, pop the whole thing in the oven, and leave it until the cheese is melted and bubbly. This will take you as close as possible to a real pizza made at home.

Because I am rolling-pin challenged, you'll never see a round pizze in my house. I roll, then stretch with my knuckles, as G-man does. But always wind up with amorphous shapes.

That's ok. I just don't call them pizza. Flatbreads, after all, are the in thing anyway.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Tom Kurth
Date Posted: 17 March 2018 at 12:29
I'm gonna comment here just because it's my nature to be opinionated, not because I really know anything. To be sure, I've never been to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut and I envy those who have sampled those various pizzas. I'm sure I can't even imagine what I'm missing. Kinda like people who've never had prime rib at a Nebraska steakhouse. Or those who have never had summer sausage from Kleoppel's in Alma, Mo.

But I do have an observance about pizza as it is commercially available here in the agricultural Midwest. I was in college in Seward, Nebraska forty-some years ago, and while trying to impress a new girlfriend, I took her to eat at a new pizza restaurant in Lincoln that I had heard so much about--Godfather's. As best I can figure the name came about because they were offering a Chicago style pizza and sought to tie in with a gangster theme. It was OK though I had no basis to compare it to the real thing, either then or now. It was about an inch deep, single crust, cheese on the bottom, sweet tomato sauce and a beef topping. Not great, not bad, but we got my money's worth.

Fast forward about five years. I had dropped out of school, returned home to Missouri, and then came back to Nebraska to attempt to finish a degree. Just about a half block from my apartment was a Godfather's Pizza, which you can imagine I visited frequently being the young and single sort that I was. The pizza place that had started out in Omaha and then expanded to Lincoln had now become a chain. The pizza was an entirely different beast. Chewy crust, spicy tomato sauce, choice of toppings, smothered in a thick layer of cheese. And I fell in love with it.

Fast forward another ten years. I still haven't finished college, but I have returned home to Missouri and am once again trying to impress a new girlfriend, now my beloved of thirty years. We're out for the evening in the nearby college town of Warrensburg. We're looking for a place to eat when what to my hungry eyes appears but a Godfather's Pizza. The chain restaurant has now become a franchise. Worst pizza I've ever had in my entire life except a few that came out of the freezer section of the grocery store.

My point here is that there was something that happened to pizzerias and to food in general when so many eateries became chains and franchises and generic Mexican and Chinese restaurants. Anything that was original, superlative, ideal, special or unique has often been ruined by owners trying to commodify in the name of greater profits. Kinda like sequels at the movies. Ate at an Appleby's once, tried their riblets--poorest excuse for barbecue I've ever come across, and their headquarters were in Kansas City. They should know better. The little abbatoir here in Alma tried to expand to serve high dollar restaurants in Kansas City with their wonderful steaks. Over extended and then went broke. Reopened now as the previously mentioned Kleoppel's--they've still got the old fashioned summer sausage recipe, thank God. I have referred to the "pizza wars" when speaking of this phenomenon. Cheese got thinner, toppings got sparser, crust got cardboardier. But the price was only ten dollars for a large. We are averaging our way down to the very bottom.

Read a book many years ago by a fellow who wrote under the name of William Least Heat Moon. He was a social studies professor at the U of Missouri; the book was a sort of travelogue about the little towns and out of the way places he had come across while rambling about here in the Midwest. He opined that you could tell the best small town diners by counting the number of calendars on the walls. Makes perfect sense; salesmen and businesses know to put their advertising where the most people will see it. Poodle's Café here in Alma always had about seven or eight calendars and the best home made pies around.

Rant over.


Escape to Missouri

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 17 March 2018 at 14:25
Yes, of course, Tom. You're perfectly right on all counts. It's not only pizza and food stuffs. That syndrome applies to almost everything.

Who here remembers Boodles gin? They ruined it the exact same way.

That said, keep in mind that in our discussion about the pizza belt we're all but ignoring the chains. Most of them never had good pizza, and have gone down hill through the years. We're talking, primarily, about individually owned and operated pizzerias. And that's a horse of a different color.

It's a simple equation, though. If you're not from, or haven't lived in the pizza belt it's likely you can find a pie that satisfies you. But, once you've tasted the true gelt, you're spoiled forever. Alas!

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 18 March 2018 at 09:16
I went to Godfather's pizza. Once. In the early eighties.  After hearing raves about it.  Never went back.  LOL

This hole runs deep.  I have a computer Pizza folder with quite a few bookmarks I have made over the years.  Some are very interesting.  Pizza is serious business.

From Vera Pizza Napoletana FAQ's:

What is Vera Pizza Napoletana?
Vera Pizza Napoletana is a movement whose goal is to promote and protect the name and the product Pizza Napoletana; a style of pizza and tradition found in Naples. The term Vera, or Verace, means true, genuine, or real......  Supporters include the - Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (Naples) and their U.S. partner Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas (Los Angeles), - Antico Molino Caputo (Naples), Italy’s finest and most famous pizza flour producer, and - Pizza Consulting (Naples), Italy’s premier pizzaiolo training school.

Guidelines are strict and even include pizza oven specifications. - Regulations for obtaining use of the collective trade mark "Verace Pizza Napoletana" - (Vera Pizza Napoletana)

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 28 February 2020 at 08:18
I'd forgotten where this thread was.  I knew it was in a odd place but South America?  LOL

Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

..........Fact is, great pizza cannot be made in the home oven. It just won't get hot enough........

I've been working on my home oven New York-Style homemade Apizza because it's Winter, and since I'm made out of sugar, I don't wanna go outside into the cold, cold world if I don't have to.  Must be getting old.

By New York-style, I mean thin crust pizza that isn't baked at the astronomically high temps as Neapolitan.  I believe I've found a method that works well enough that I can honestly say the pizza coming out of my home oven is far superior to any I've come across in the pizza desert that I call home.  Part of that, I'm sure, is just because it hasn't had time to mutate into whatever pizzas become after sitting in a cardboard box for 10-15 minutes.

I make the dough from Caputo 00 flour, olive oil, dried instant yeast, salt, and water in my food processor and give it a 48-72hr slow cold rise in the fridge.  The food processor blade builds a lot of gluten in a short period of time.  60 seconds and you're good. 
I make an uncooked sauce at the same time, out of simple ingredients, and let it rest in the fridge along with the dough. Drained, canned, DOP San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, and dried oregano.  For those not in the know, oregano is one of the defining characteristics of the New York-Style a-beets, so oregano it is.

The rest is the same. You know the drill.  Pre-heat the oven with a pizza stone in it.  Rise, stretch, sauce, cheese and thinly sliced topping if using.

Here's where we get a little different.  Place 2 pizza stones in your oven.  One on the middle rack and the other on the upper rack.  If the bottom pizza stone is a pizza steel you will have even greater success with leoparding.  I don't own a steel, at least not yet, so I've been using 2 high quality stones.  You know, the thicker kind that don't crack the second time you use them.   The idea is to make an oven within an oven.   Pre-heat your home oven to the highest temperature it will go.  For me, this is 550ºF.  Let the stones heat soak for a minimum of 1 hour.  More is better.  Especially if your stones are heavy duty and thick.  If you want to go crazy, a great pizza "stone" surface can be made of 1/2 thickness fire bricks.

Build your pizza on a peel, dusted with semolina flour, as quickly as you can so the pizza dough doesn't adhere to the wood.  If you are confident enough to drag your pizza onto the dusted peel, do that and reshape it before placing on the hot lower stone.

It will take about 12 minutes to bake.  You should see some nice char which can be difficult to achieve without the upper stone.

I cut this one in half before remembering to take a pic.  Uncooked sauce, whole milk, low moisture mozzarella cheese (another signature of NY-Style), thinly sliced onion, jalapeno, mushrooms and a bit of pepperoni.  A mandolin is helpful with the slicing.  Go light on the toppings.  Some folks finish with a drizzle of olive oil.">
A lot more pizza experimenting is in the wings. 

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