National Italian-American Heritage month has just passed, and it’s been all about celebrating the many enjoyable aspects of Italian culture in North America. We like to share our cultural heritage with our American friends in many ways, one of them being through the infamous Italian food and wine. Italian cuisine is still the most popular type of ethnic food in the US, and so we thought that we would share with you a recent pizza making experience we had at the winery, as well as a local pizza maker’s recipe for you to try at home!
We know that not all Italian food lovers are the same, but we’re quite sure there is one thing they all love: pizza. And when you think about pizza, you think about having fun. This flat bread, topped with whatever you like, is present at sporting events, casual meetings, birthday parties etc. and it’s just as much fun to make as it is to eat.
One of our long-standing family traditions is getting together weekly at our parents’ house to make homemade pizzas with organic ingredients. We love pizza night simply because it’s fun. How can you not enjoy spending time together, chatting, while creating something you can eat? That’s a win-win in our book.
We love it so much that when we had our American friends visit in September, we decided to share this experience with them and call a local renowned pizza maker to make us all become pizzaioli (pizza makers) for an evening.
We had a wonderful time!
When the day arrived, we and our friends donned our ‘Candoni De Zan Family’ aprons and gathered around the table where Chef Max had prepared all the organic ingredients we needed to make pizza and tiramisu. He showed us how to make the perfect pizza dough, and then it was our turn to roll it out into thin round disks. Chef Max had also prepared an array of toppings from freshly sliced vegetables that we grilled together to pepperoni and ham.
Of course, everyone had their own opinion on what makes the best toppings, and while each of us made our pizza, laughter filled the air, flour dusted the floor, and tomatoes stained the aprons. We all had a great time, which continued later at the dinner table, where we shared our creations and engaged in lively conversations while reliving with our friends the spirit of fun and simplicity of our family pizza nights at home.
This is the authentic Italian Margherita pizza recipe we made with Chef Max:
Ingredients for the dough :
- 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup warm water, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Ingredients for the topping :
4 basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon sugar
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (14-to 15-ounces) can whole tomatoes in juice
Enjoy with a bottle of Candoni Pinot Noir
Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl and let stand until surface appears creamy, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 1/4 cups flour, remaining 1/2 cup water, salt, and oil and stir until smooth.
Knead on a floured surface, lightly reflouring when dough becomes too sticky, until smooth, soft, and elastic. Form into a ball, put in a bowl, and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled, about an hour and a half.
Pulse tomatoes with juice in a blender briefly to make a chunky purée.
Cook garlic in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato purée, basil, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and cool.
Dust dough with flour, then using a rolling pin roll it out.
Spread sauce over dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange cheese on top, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border.
Bake until dough is crisp about a quarter of an hour. Using peel or baking sheet, transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with some basil leaves before slicing and enjoy it with our Candoni’s Pinot Noir