Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pizza A La Checca

Being originally from New York, rarely a day passes that I don’t day dream about real NY pizza and bagels. You know, they say that it’s the NYC water that makes these things the phenomena that they are, and that they can't be duplicated in other cities because of it.

A few pizzerias in Los Angeles were rumored to import water from Manhattan to make their dough. Actually, some of the best pizza I’ve ever had outside of NY was in LA – at “Two Guys From Italy”, in Glendale. Man they really knew what they were doing.

In addition to an awesome Mexican pizza; chorizo, jalapenos, cilantro, red onions (jeez, I'm really hungry today), they’re the ones that first introduced me to my favorite pizza configuration; what they named “Pizza A La Checca”.

Alla Checca sauce is traditionally just a simple, uncooked sauce of diced roma tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella and garlic.

Here’s how The Two Guys made they’re pizza version (in these photos I used my usual Chef Boyardee pizza kit for the dough and my pizza stones from Pampered Chef):

Pizza A La Checca

Pizza Dough
3 TB Extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves chopped garlic
10 whole leaves of basil (Italians consider chopping basil bad luck, so if you want smaller pieces you can tear it)
Palm full of toasted pine nuts
2 diced ripe roma tomatoes
Shredded mozzarella
Sliced Pepperoni (optional)

Make your pizza dough and spread onto your hot pizza stone (I bake my pizza stone for 15 minutes on 425) or greased pizza pan. 

Brush the dough liberally with olive oil (you won’t be using sauce, so this helps moisten it). Spread mozzarella. Add basil, garlic, tomatoes and pine nuts. 

I always add pepperoni, because I just need pepperoni grease on my pizza – but you can drizzle a bit more olive oil instead and keep the whole thing vegetarian.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

We (of course) also had to make a traditional American sauced version for the buddy boys (but Marley does like pine nuts on his side too!).

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