Perfecting Homemade Pizza
By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA, MSA
It’s been scientifically proven that foods can be addicting, specifically those that are salty or sweet. I totally get it. While my pallet will never shy away from a good dessert, it’s not something I crave. What I do crave, however, is pizza. It’s a universal food that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner and most definitely as a midnight snack. While there is no shortage of phenomenal pizza places in Branford, one thing we do lack is places that deliver. As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it is harder to commit to going out, even if it is just to pick up food. In a creative stroke of genius, we involved some of our friends and decided to start making pizzas at home. Several months later it has become nearly a weekly event.
At the beginning, we were armed only with a well-seasoned pizza stone and set out to replicate some of our favorite pies from the local restaurants. It started out slow, haphazard and messy. Flour was everywhere, the smoke alarm was going off and most of the pizzas were misshapen and mangled. That led to parts that were severely underdone and chewy and others that were burned to a crisp. After everything was over I vowed never to make pizza again as the oven was a disaster and the house smelled like burned toast for a week.
Needless to say, I lost that battle and a couple weeks later we were back at it. But this time was different, we were prepared. After a few clicks on Amazon Prime, we got the one tool that changed it all for us: the pizza peel. This was a game changer and made our whole operation much more efficient. Now we had the ability to easily slide pizzas on and off the stone without ingredients flying all over the oven and making a mess. Thinking ahead, we put down aluminum foil underneath the stone to catch any toppings that did slip off the pie so they didn’t hit the bottom of the oven only to be burned on there for eternity. We do still cheat a little bit, buy buying premade dough from either Marcos or Lo Monaco’s which saves hours in prep.
Our new tools and processes left us with much more time to perfect our craft, rather than just running around putting out fires (literally). Our pizzas are now round, rather than round-ish, the amount of cheese and toppings is just right and they come out cooked to perfection each time. We’ve experimented with a host of ingredients from clams, and bacon to veggies and ricotta cheese. Throughout the process, we haven’t found a need to make a ‘secret sauce’ as crushed San Marzano tomatoes and a little high-quality olive oil have better flavor than most pizza sauces I’ve come across in my lifetime. While real San Marzano tomatoes are harder to find and often more expensive than your everyday store-brand crush tomatoes, they are worth every penny. No matter what we make, it’s all good, but the fan favorite is always a plain mozzarella.