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Kevin72

The Cooking and Cuisine of Campania

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Er, this may cause a whole new round of trouble, but whenever I can find the canned cherry tomatoes, that's what I go for for pizza topping. I do use them raw and I think they have a really great combo of sweet and acid balance. Haven't seen 'em in quite a while, though.

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Hi

the sauce should not contain anything but salt if you really need to.  It should be just made of crushed peeled San Marzano tomatoes. It should not be cooked.

Pizza Napoletana: I am so glad you wrote this because it explains a lot. Until fairly recently here in Washington, D.C., the best place to get pizza was Pizza Paradiso (I beg your pardon, please, for the ignorant quote from The Washingtonian you'll find on this Web site).

One of the things I never liked was the fact that the pizzas with tomato toppings are made with unadorned canned plum tomatoes. They are imported, though, I don't know if they were San Marzano. But the topping definitely contains big pieces of the canned tomato; it's never completely pulverized. I always thought it would be far better with a true sauce since it tasted so raw and well, canned.

I guess the owner of my local pizzeria was being more authentic than some other places. Still, is there more to what you do to your beautiful pies than just crush the tomatoes? What about fresh tomatoes--or do you feel ones available in the UK (? :unsure: ) are inferior?

P.S. Kevin, La Valle is the brand of pomodorini sold locally. This is just the first web site I found.


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Pizza Napoletana:  I am so glad you wrote this because it explains a lot.  Until fairly recently here in Washington, D.C., the best place to get pizza was Pizza Paradiso (I beg your pardon, please, for the ignorant quote from The Washingtonian you'll find on this Web site).

oh man, now i'm inspired--i may have to make a little pilgrimage to two amy's this month. it's almost worth putting up with the wait and the screaming kids and whatnot to get some of that pie. i wish we had a place that good in philadelphia...

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Oops. Forgot to add that the chocolate-eggplant I first saw was in a copy of this where it appeared rather dramatically as a timbale or dome shape, most likely made in a bowl that was inverted. The exterior was coated in what looked like a thick, shiny chocolate ganache. I don't own the book, so I can't tell you more.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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oh man, now i'm inspired--i may have to make a little pilgrimage to two amy's this month.  it's almost worth putting up with the wait and the screaming kids and whatnot to get some of that pie.  i wish we had a place that good in philadelphia...

Well, now you have one yourself :laugh: . Yes, 2 Amy's is the reason I had to qualify what I said about Paradiso.

Really, not that good in Philly? Too "Americanized"?


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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about the Naples at table recipe:

That is the traditional recipe, fried, candied fruit etc...

my preparation is quite differenet and you end up with a choccolate ball, like a profitterole....

Great!

About the pizza: I grow my own "piennolo" variety tomatoes, and when I have these I could put them on pizza. But rather then normal tomatoes (the round supermarket variety) or salads tomatoes, I better use good canned San Marzano.

Ciao

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oh man, now i'm inspired--i may have to make a little pilgrimage to two amy's this month.  it's almost worth putting up with the wait and the screaming kids and whatnot to get some of that pie.  i wish we had a place that good in philadelphia...

Well, now you have one yourself :laugh: . Yes, 2 Amy's is the reason I had to qualify what I said about Paradiso.

Really, not that good in Philly? Too "Americanized"?

here in philadelphia, we do have a few places that have wood ovens, but they don't hit that peak of genius that 2 amys does.

tacconelli's is famous, but they have an oil fired oven. rembrandt's has a wood oven but overtops their pies. mama palma's has a wood oven but is missing ... something. not sure what. either way, they don't reach that pinnacle that two amy's does when they're on (my last couple visits involved outstanding pizzas, but not the transcendent moment that my first visit did).

but anyway, i'll see what i can recreate at home this month.

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Okay, maybe this should go into the "absurdly simple cooking questions", but what's the importance of a wood-fired oven? I mean, heat is heat, right?

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the impression i've always gotten is that a wood fired oven can maintain a higher temperature than a regular oven. those gas ovens that are the norm top out around 600 or something; wood regularly reaches 900. and then there are the dudes who throw a shovel of sawdust on the fire when the pizzas go in to get the super blast of smoky heat...

anyway, i don't know; i'm not one of the super purist types. i've made pretty good pizza here at home--not like that stuff, but good enough for government work, as they say.

PN, with a three week old baby here i have to admit that we're not up for the six hour drive to pittsburgh... but the in-laws do live in DC.

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here in philadelphia, we do have a few places that have wood ovens, but they don't hit that peak of genius that 2 amys does.


Edited by NYC Mike (log)

-Mike & Andrea

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gallery_24289_683_28326.jpg

What I would give to have one pizza of this calibre here in the UK. Our pizzas are uniformly awful, nothing to match even the middle-rated ones in New York. Here they're all tough, doughy, heavy crusted saucers over-topped and lacking that blisteringly scorched edge.

Pizza Napoletana, that is a mighty fine crust. Is the dough quite mature and/or soft when you bake it?

Dan

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gallery_24289_683_28326.jpg

What I would give to have one pizza of this calibre here in the UK. Our pizzas are uniformly awful, nothing to match even the middle-rated ones in New York. Here they're all tough, doughy, heavy crusted saucers over-topped and lacking that blisteringly scorched edge.

Pizza Napoletana, that is a mighty fine crust. Is the dough quite mature and/or soft when you bake it?

Dan

Hi Dan,

we have talked in the past regarding some italian starters.... I am based in UK

Anyway, After 6 years studying and researching this subject, I am confident to have re-created the Authentic Pizza Napoletana has it was made in 1700s Naples...

tiny bit of Crisceto (wild yeast), medium strenght flour, water, sea salt. Mixed in a special way, high hydration dough, long fermentation/maturation at room temperature and finaly but not least, baked in the very special Neapolitan Pizza Oven.

It is a dough that very difficult to control and handle, and that is the reasons that even in Naples the tradition is disappearing.. Out of almost 3000 pizzeria in the city, only an handful still make it properly....

By the way, try Donna Margherita in London for a Neapolitan pizza (they do not use the Crisceto and have a more modern tradition, but they do a fine job).

Ciao

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The only thing I am not loving about the whole wood fire oven movement in pizza is that many places severly burn or scar the bottoms too much so the char overwhelms the rest of the pie.  Perhaps they aren't cleaning their oven properly, I don't know.

Mostly is due to poorly built or mediocre ovens... They do not cook in an even way and therefore the bottom get burned while trying to cook the top.... To cook a proper Pizza Napoletana there is not any alternative to an authentic Forno Napoletano (www.forno-napoletano.it). Many people think that with any wood oven and with an italian flour and other ingredient they can serve a Pizza Napoletana... WRONG!!

On my consultancy service, I start with getting the client an authentic oven and a proper mixer (not a spiral or a planetary so often found in US/UK)...

At times however could be due to the guy cooking the pizza. In Naples usually is a job by itself. The "pizzaiolo" make the dough, form the disc and put the topping and the "fornaio" cook the pizza and manage the fire...

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we have talked in the past regarding some italian starters.... I am based in UK

Of course, I remember now. I'll go to Donna Margherita and try one. I do notice in Italy that there does seem to be care and thought put into food preparation of a sort I don't see here in kitchens, and I wonder if that is it, even more than the oven.

regards

Dan - hoping to get a wood-fired oven in the garden very soon

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Simply gorgeous pizza, PN. That crust looks absolutely perfect.

There is a pizzeria in Sansepolcro that has the Forno Napoletano that you've linked to. They make the best pizza in the area, and I had no idea that this was a traditional oven. I just thought it was a very 'cool looking' oven. Maybe that's why their pizzas are so good.

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the impression i've always gotten is that a wood fired oven can maintain a higher temperature than a regular oven.  those gas ovens that are the norm top out around 600 or something; wood regularly reaches 900.  and then there are the dudes who throw a shovel of sawdust on the fire when the pizzas go in to get the super blast of smoky heat...

I'm not so sure about that. After all, there are industrial and scientific ovens that can get up to about a billion degrees. I don't know why you couldn't make an electric pizza oven that would get as hot as you would want it to.

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the impression i've always gotten is that a wood fired oven can maintain a higher temperature than a regular oven.  those gas ovens that are the norm top out around 600 or something; wood regularly reaches 900.  and then there are the dudes who throw a shovel of sawdust on the fire when the pizzas go in to get the super blast of smoky heat...

I'm not so sure about that. After all, there are industrial and scientific ovens that can get up to about a billion degrees. I don't know why you couldn't make an electric pizza oven that would get as hot as you would want it to.

i'm just gonna let pizza napoletana handle this one. i... well, i don't care that much. i mean, i don't want it to appear that i'm discounting anyone's personal quests here; i just don't share that level of obsession with anything. a great pizza is kind of a transcendent experience, but so are a lot of other things--i can't focus on just the one.

i'm happy to see panzarotti in ada boni's book under the campania section, though, since i didn't get a chance to make them last month.

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i'm just gonna let pizza napoletana handle this one.  i...  well, i don't care that much.  i mean, i don't want it to appear that i'm discounting anyone's personal quests here; i just don't share that level of obsession with anything.  a great pizza is kind of a transcendent experience, but so are a lot of other things--i can't focus on just the one.

I know, and I'm totally not trying to pick a fight with you (or anybody else). I'm just trying to get a sense of whether the wood oven is something that's based mainly in tradition, or whether there are specific effects that come from a wood oven-- and more importantly, why.

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2 cents: Wouldn't a wood oven and the wood, impart flavor? Line of reasoning: If I grill lamb chops over charcoal they are good, if I grill them over a wood fire that are fabulous.

I made some "Pasta al Forno" today. The recipe is from "The Il Fornaio Pasta Book" and is listed under Campania...but if you ask me, this recipe could have come from just anywhere in Italy. It's layered eggplant, pecorino, and sheep ricotta subbed for mozzarella. I did use some dried pasta from Napoli. It was good, but the left overs are coming back with some Umbrian sausage! :laugh:

Anyone else having trouble determining what makes a particular pasta dish "Campanian"?

gallery_14010_2363_581382.jpg

gallery_14010_2363_1618958.jpg

edit note: never, ever hire me as a proofreader...


Edited by hathor (log)

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Let's put the tradition aside and ask all the restaurators around the world if it is possible to cook pizza in series in a 30-45 seconds in any other medium rather then the Neapolitan Wood oven.... The answer is no!!!

It is not only a wood oven, it has to me Neapolitan. The material used (also in the isolating/ thermal mass), the techniques used and the diamension are all vital. There are oven that can cook pizza under the base and do not cook on top and viceversa. Other that cook a couple of pizza and then the "floor" loose heat and the bootom do not ccok anymore. Clay materials, isolator, thermal mass are vital. On the fuel side, there are gas burner that could be used in a brick oven but they do not compare to wood for at least the following reasons:

Do not produce charcoal that is so vital to keep a constant "floor" temperature

Do not genrate that minimum of humidity (dry wood still keeps a percentage of humidity)

\Do not generate any smooky floor that enanche the flavour profile.

You can still believe that there are alternatives, but in reality there aren't any.

PS I was just told that forno Napoletano has just been commissioned to re-place a poorly built oven, once again...

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Garofalo Pasta is a good commercial pasta compared to the like of Barilla, etc.. however is no where near the quality of the 2 best Gragnano producers.

Garofalo is an Industrial facility the other two are artisan producers.

Ciao

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Gragnano pasta is the BEST..

I can't believe the FLAVOUR it has..and bite!

I can't always find it in Florence , but when I do... I stock up.

PS several people have pasta made in Gragnano..and give it other names... the factory also produces it's own line

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