As easy as it is to pick up a pre-made ball of pizza dough from Trader Joe's, sometimes a pizza lover needs to go all out. And if you're going to go all out, following the instructions of Italian pizza master Gabriele Bonci is definitely the way to go. There's an attention to detail in this book — the kind of flour, the way the dough is stretched, the toppings that get chosen — that you don't often see in cookbooks devoted to this humble, much loved weeknight staple.
• Who wrote it: Gabriele Bonci
• Who published it: Rizzoli
• Number of recipes: Over 80
• Recipes for right now: Potato Pizza, Pizza Stuffed with Broccolini and Mortadella, Pizza with Chicory, Pizza with Winter Vegetables or "Dry Minestrone," Crostino with Teleggio and Cauliflower, Pizza with Cabbage and Pork, Onion Pizza, Pizza with Leeks Gruyère and Lots of Nutmeg
• Major Takeaways:
A good quarter of this book is devoted to the art of the pizza dough. Besides covering ingredients and tools in great detail, there are step-by-step instructions with illustrations on mixing the dough, shaping the pizza, and making the various starters and sourdoughs used in the doughs. I have friends (and a father) who have, by all outward appearances, made perfect pizza crust their life pursuit — this part of the book is for them and those of you who are like them.
The pizza recipes themselves are pretty unusual and eclectic, particularly for our American palate. After the requisite recipes for margarita-style pizza and tomato pizza, Bonci launches right into pizzas with such diverse and surprising ingredients as fresh figs, octopus, spears of roasted cardoon, tripe, persimmons, and chestnuts. The recipes are organized seasonally, and while some of the ingredients might seem fancy or exotic, all of the pizzas are easy to throw together with very little extra work.
I am particularly intrigued by the stuffed pizzas. The toppings and the pizza base for these recipes are prepared separately. To assemble, you pull the baked rectangle of pizza apart like splitting a giant pita and layer the "toppings" inside, sandwich-style. More crunchy crust in every bit? I'm totally on board with that.
• Who would enjoy this book? People who have quested long and far for pizza perfection, pizza lovers who ready to push themselves beyond mozzarella and basil, Italiophiles craving true Italian pizza
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Pizza by Gabriele Bonci
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