Three Pizza Recipes and the Perfect Wines to Pair
There’s no better way to spend an evening than with everyone’s favorite comfort food, pizza. But comfort doesn’t have to mean casual: You can show off by breaking out your finest serving pieces and making an array of styles, or go DIY and let your guests load up on their own toppings. For a more intimate experience, pick whichever pie speaks to you most and opt for an upscale bottle to pair. This grown-up take on the pizza party may just become a regular tradition.
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Adapted from The Pizza Bible (Ten Speed Press, 2014), by Tony Gemignani
Tony Gemignani, author of The Pizza Bible, is a 13-time world pizza champion and owner of several restaurants in Northern California and Nevada. His traditional pizza Napoletana dough takes 48 hours to rise and calls for some technical-sounding ingredients like diastatic malt powder, which has enzymes that promote yeast development and char. Feel free to omit it, or purchase online.
- ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3¾ cups 00 flour, plus more for kneading
- 1 tablespoon diastatic malt powder (optional)
- 3 ounces poolish (recipe below)
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- 2 (28-ounce) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
- 4–5 ounces mozzarella fior di latte or di bufala
In small bowl, combine yeast and ⅓ cup warm water (85˚–90˚F). Whisk vigorously for 30 seconds. Set aside. Combine flour and malt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. With mixer running on lowest speed, add 10 tablespoons of ice water, followed by yeast mixture. Rinse yeast bowl with 2 tablespoons of ice water, and add to work bowl. Mix for 15 seconds, then add poolish. Continue to mix at lowest speed for approximately 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl, and add salt. Mix for 1 minute.
Transfer dough to unfloured work surface and knead for 2–3 minutes. Cover with damp dish towel, and let rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Divide dough into 3 balls, place on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 48 hours.
To make sauce: Pour canned tomatoes into strainer set over bowl. Reserve liquid. Pinch stem ends off tomatoes, squeeze out seeds and discard stems and seeds. Tear tomatoes into large pieces, and place in second bowl. Work tomatoes through food mill or purée in blender. If sauce is too thick to spread, stir in reserved juice. Season with salt, to taste. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 2 days.
Heat oven to 450˚F. Remove 1 dough ball from refrigerator, let sit 30 minutes, and roll out on floured surface. Use hands to stretch dough to fit a 13- to 14-inch round pizza pan. Top each with sauce, mozzarella and any additional desired toppings. Repeat with two remaining balls.
Bake about 12 minutes, or until crust is browned and cheese is melted. Cooking time can vary depending upon your oven. Serves 6–8.
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ¼ cup 00 flour
Combine yeast and 3 tablespoons cold tap water. Whisk vigorously for 30 seconds. Add flour and stir well with rubber spatula. Scrape down sides of bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 18 hours. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.
- Fresh garlic
- Chopped cherry tomatoes
- Prosciutto and arugula (added after baking)
- Quattro Stagioni: black olives, jarred artichoke hearts, ham and sliced mushrooms
- Quattro Formaggi: Pecorino Romano, gorgonzola, Swiss and Asiago
Jules Gregg, wine director at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, loves to pair the Napoletana with Planeta 2017 Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Sicily. It’s a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato grapes. The bright fresh-fruit tones of the Frappato mellows out the acidity of the Nero d’Avola, which makes it a perfect pairing with the San Marzano tomato sauce, while accents of pepper and smoke go well with the char of the delicate crust.
For a wine with a bit more heft, try Domaine Les Alexandrins 2016 Saint-Joseph. This 100% Syrah from the Northern Rhône Valley has a firm network of tannins that support cherry and raspberry flavors and vibrant acidity.
Courtesy Fabio Viviani, chef/owner, Siena Tavern, Chicago
Fabio Viviani, a Top Chef alum and owner of Chicago’s Siena Tavern and Bar Siena, offers his take on Chicago deep dish, which includes a spicy tomato sauce. He likes pepperoni that’s been baked a bit before it goes on the pizza, so it becomes burnt and crispy. A native of Florence, Italy, Viviani serves thin-crust pizza, but as he told us, “Pizza is pizza, and when you live in Chicago…there is no excuse to not know how to make a deep-dish pizza.”
- 5 Fresno chiles, halved and seeded
- 1 head garlic, end sliced off, plus 4 smashed cloves
- 9–10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 6 sundried tomato pieces
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons semolina
- 2¾ teaspoons instant yeast
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups shredded low-moisture mozzarella
Heat oven to 425˚F.
Toss chiles and garlic head with olive oil to coat, and place on baking pan. Roast until lightly charred and soft to touch, about 45 minutes. Slice chiles into ⅛-inch strips. Carefully remove garlic cloves from skin.
Over medium heat, warm 4 tablespoons olive oil. Add smashed garlic, and brown. Add canned tomatoes. Bring to boil, and smash with potato masher. Reduce to simmer. Add sundried tomatoes, basil, chiles and roasted garlic. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and pass through food mill or blend until slightly chunky.
To make dough: Mix flour, semolina and yeast. Slowly add 2 tablespoons olive oil, melted butter, vegetable oil and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (85˚–90˚F). Knead by hand or stand mixer fitted with dough hook on medium-low speed. Transfer to lightly oiled bowl. Cover with towel and let sit 1 hour, or until dough becomes very puffy.
Heat oven to 425˚F.
Coat 14-inch deep-dish pizza pan with 3–4 tablespoons olive oil. Stretch dough into large circle on lightly oiled baking mat. Transfer to pizza pan, and stretch toward edges until it starts to shrink back. Cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Spread sauce on crust, and scatter mozzarella and desired toppings evenly atop. Bake 35 minutes, or until cheese just starts to brown. Remove from oven, and let rest for 2 minutes. Serves 4.
- Burnt spicy pepperoni (baked for 7 minutes at 425˚F)
- Fennel sausage
- Romano and Cheddar (in addition to mozzarella)
Adam Sweders, wine director for DineAmic Hospitality Group, which owns Viviani’s restaurants, recommends Paul Anheuser 2016 Schlossböckelheimer Koenigsfels Riesling Kabinett. “This pizza brings the heat, so the residual sugar present in [this] German Riesling is a must to combat the spice. The body of this wine is quite full, which will dance nicely with perhaps the fullest body of all foods, deep dish pizza. Add in Riesling’s natural knack for high acid, and you have a wine begging for bite after bite.”
A rosé sparkler like Alfred Gratien NV Brut Rosé Champagne is also an elegant sidekick to Viviani’s spicy pie. Bold strawberry and ripe cherry flavors persist through a long, toasty finish, while vivid acidity keeps the heat of the dish in check.
Courtesy Buddy’s Pizza, Detroit
Buddy’s Pizza, a family-owned chain in Michigan, is said to be the home of Detroit-style pizza. Originally baked in square, steel pans used to hold spare parts at a local manufacturing plant, Buddy’s pie is shaped like Sicilian, but there’s a twist: pepperoni goes directly on the dough before it rises, so it absorbs the meat’s spicy oils. Cheese goes on next, and it’s all topped by sauce. Vegetarians can forget the pepperoni, but make sure to layer the cheese on before adding sauce.
- 1 teaspoon fresh or active dry yeast
- 2½ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Vegetable or soybean oil
- 35 slices spicy Margherita-style pepperoni
- 12 ounces Wisconsin Brick cheese or mild Cheddar, shredded
- 1-1¼ cup pizza sauce
In bowl of stand mixer with dough hook attachment, combine yeast and 1 cup warm water (85˚–90˚F) until fully incorporated, then add flour and salt. Mix on low until fully combined. Knead on medium speed for 6–8 minutes, or until dough starts to pull away from bowl. It should be firm, but still tacky.
Place dough ball in a 9 x 13 dark metal baking pan. Dip fingers from both hands in oil up to first knuckle. Coat dough ball with oil and press flat. Flip ball over and stretch out in rounded football shape toward edges, making sure it’s flat and even. Let dough rest 10–15 minutes. Push dough to pan edges, making sure it’s flat without raised sides. Using thumb, press dough into corners.
Place pepperoni slices in rows atop dough. Move topped dough to warm area and cover with dry towel for 1½–2 hours, or until it doubles in size.
Heat oven to 450˚F.
Add cheese evenly to reach sides and corners. Add any additional toppings, if desired. Top with three even stripes of sauce. Keep sauce approximately ½ inch from edges.
Bake approximately 15–17 minutes, or until crust is browned and cheese is melted. Cooking time can vary depending upon your oven. Serves 4–6.
- Meat Deluxe: spicy Italian sausage, ground beef, bacon and ham
- Artichokes, capers, roasted tomatoes and spinach cream sauce
- Red onion, bacon and blue cheese
- Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers
Wes Pikula, chief brand officer of Buddy’s Pizza, recommends Louis M. Martini 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, especially with the Meat Deluxe pizza. This firm red has currant, blackberry and cherry flavors that will stand up well to the meat and cheese. Its rich fruitiness and acidity work well with the bold tomato sauce.
For something more luxurious, try Tenuta La Fuga 2014 Brunello di Montalcino. Its lush cherry and spice flavors will not be overpowered by rich meat toppings. Supple tannins and bold acidity will hold their own against the fattiness of the Meat Deluxe pie.
- 1Tony Gemignani’s Pizza Napoletana
- 2Chef Fabio Viviani’s Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
- 3Buddy’s Detroit-Style Pepperoni Pizza