Well, I had the best of intentions. I was all groceried up and ready to tell you all about a certain pepperoni sauce heard ’round the world, but then Sunday happened. Sunday – in all its 90 degree glory. Sunday – in an apartment with only west facing windows through which the sun beat unmercilessly until the grace of a storm and cold front finally provided relief. The sauce is coming, but we’ll have to wait for either a screen door and a glorious cross breeze or a cooler day.
You may recall me telling you about my sister’s continual recipe request for items which have never passed my lips, yet I am supposed to provide instruction. Well, it finally happened. In October of 2009, GQ magazine published an article in which a thin crust (gasp) Chicago pizza was named the best in America. My sister immediately requested the recipe for the mortadella pie. I’m a little behind on my list it seems. When I finally got around to making it last week, I was interrupted in my preparations by said sister, requesting yet another recipe.
“I’m a little busy on another request of yours,” I had texted back. Here’s the kicker – she didn’t even remember requesting the recipe in the first place! So, I guess we’ve gone full circle. I know my sis will continue to send requests my way which doesn’t bother me, as I’ll keep playing and trying new things. I guess it is a way to keep the creative juices flowing. And at least in the short term, it offered an opportunity to create a delicious spin on an old favorite.
Full disclosure – as with most of my sister’s requests, I have absolutely no idea if this tastes anything close to the real deal. But that’s ok. Whether this can hold it’s own against the original remains to be seen, but in the interim, we have a pretty tasty pie on our hands. I wanted the base to be simple as the spotlight was really intended to be on one thing and one thing only – the mortadella. While you can buy a pre-made dough from the grocery store, I’d recommend making your own as I did here or swinging through your favorite local pizza joint and asking to buy some dough. They’ll give you funny looks guaranteed.
I also wanted the sauce to be delicious but not competitive with everything else going on. So I simply reduced the liquid in a can of San Marzano tomatoes and once thick and to my desired consistency, I dressed lightly with a few dashes of oregano, a glug of olive oil, and a light sprinkling of salt. To top the pie, I sliced orbs of fresh mozzarella into disks and quickly brined them to add a little salty bite but also to form a thin skin on the cheese to prevent it from turning too watery in the hot oven and causing the dough to be soggy. A few minutes in a very hot oven later, and you have the makings for a delectable Margherita pizza. Yum. But wait! We aren’t done yet, kids. This baby gets topped with slices of mortadella ladened with peppercorns and pistachios. A quick sear in the oven and the mortadella begins to curl and the edges slightly crisp. It’s done.
As you take that first bite and the string of cheese forms a tightrope between your mouth and the retreating slice of pie, you can thank my sister. I know I did.
recipe: jb’s pour house
1 c. warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 c. flour
1 24 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes
3/4 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced about 1/4″ thick
1/4 lb. mortadella
Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir and let sit for 10-20 minutes or until bubbly. Add olive oil and salt and fit the mixer with a dough hook. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add flour. Continue adding until all flour is gone. Turn the mixer speed up and let the dough mix until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Place about 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a clean large bowl. Place dough in bowl and toss around several times until surface is coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest overnight.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour a working surface and begin to roll dough out to desired size (recommend 14″ to 16″ so as not to be too thin). Lighly oil a large baking sheet and place dough onto it. Fold edges of dough over itself to make a crust. Set aside. Place San Marzano tomatoes in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling and crushing tomato pieces with a wooden spoon until sauce has reduced to about 1/3 it’s original volume and desired consistency has been reached. Add oregano, olive oil and salt. Set aside.
Place about 2 Tbsp. kosher salt in a large mixing bowl. Add about 1/2 c. very hot water and stir until salt has disolved. Add enough cold water to come up to about 1/2 to 3/4 of the side of the bowl. Add mozzarella slices and brine for about 15-20 minutes. Drain. Spread sauce across dough and place mozzarella slices across the sauce. The cheese will not cover the entire surface. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and top with mortadella. Bake for another 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
I heart pizza.
All content and photographs © 2010-2011 jb’s pour house