I’m sure my reading public (big joke) all knew that it wouldn’t take me long to break my resolve and fire up my Electrolux oven. She gave me the come hither look every time I nuked something in her poor cousin. I was horny for pizza and not the mediocre On the Edge kind. I wanted Queen ArtoEat’s version. I went to grab my pizza book…Only to remember that it was packed away with my Joy of Cooking collection. Rats! Not to be detoured I hoofed it downstairs to my used to be office that NSSP has commandeered.
Stroking the Italian section I found a Pizza cookbook by Rosario Buonassisi. The book had not made it up to the kitchen counter because it was more historical-“From its Italian origins to the modern table”. It would have to do. Perusing the recipe I had a sneaky suspicion that it was a bad translation. It just wasn’t right. Too much water, not enough oil, salt, and not a mention of Semolina 00 flour; no problem, I would remedy that.
I used to make my pizza dough in Vickie Viking but have recently opted for the manual method. Yes, it takes a bit longer but hey! It’s fun. Mounding the flour and making a hole I added the proofed yeast, water/oil/salt mixture and grabbed my fork to blend it in. I like the challenge of incorporating the liquid w/out breaking through the wall of flour encircling the liquid. It is the same technique when making pasta but this time the liquid has yeast added.
I couldn’t wait to fondle the dough and was soon trying to knead the mass. The problem was that the recipe called for more liquid than I am used to using so it was looser. Undeterred and with dinner looming I alternated with the addition of semolina flour and all purpose flour until it was a consistency I could knead w/a minimum of dough sticking to my hands. A smart tea towel protected the dough from the elements until it had risen.
I turned my attention to The Virgin Oven. What secrets did she hold? Would she bend to my wishes? Well first there was the humbling task of yet another locked keyboard, light swearing, and a fumble for the instant read card. The next challenge was that I wanted to remove one of the swank rolling shelves and add my less than pristine pizza stone (would that be o.k. w/ The Virgin Oven or a violation?)
NSSP wandered into the kitchen and seeing me in a compromising position fondling the rolling racks whispered, “When is dinner?” Surprised at the interruption, I nodded to the Card of Knowledge and he backed away mumbling that he would get a beer in the Man Cave.
Now my dough was pregnantly plump and ready to become my first offering to The Virgin Oven. I stretched, cooed, and ended up w/ a shell that would max out my peel and stone. Along the way I realized the dough was supple, forgiving and ready to hold my simple toppings of drained balsamic basil marinated tomatoes, chiffonade basil and fresh mozzarella. But how would The Virgin Oven perform? And the dough! I decided to invoke Julia Child’s mantra, play dumb and act like the pizza was just the way I wanted it to come out.
The surprise was- It was just what I fantasized!! Halfway through the cooking I looked at the puffy crust (like Angelina Jolie’s lips) and knew I had entered into a new level of pizza perfection! Then The Virgin Oven showed me her chops- Not only could I cook at 500° but her sliding rack gave me an aerial view of the pizza! I was humbled and psyched.
To hell with selling The Edge and keeping an antiseptic home! I want the Virgin Oven and me to rastle up some amazing grub and do the cooking dance that only a Chef and tool can execute. She’s mine and I love her!