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The Joy of Pizza
Razza's Dan Richer wrote the book on it. Now make his favorite pizza.
Pizza is an eternal favorite.
It’s one of the few foods that we adore as children and continue to love throughout our lifetimes.
Pizza is there for us when we’re stressed out (let’s just order a pizza). when we’re celebrating (let’s throw a pizza party), and when we’re on the go (let’s grab a slice). Pizza can also be eaten any time of the day or night. What, after all, is better than eating cold pizza for breakfast?
In fact, pizza has so many good memories attached to it, it might be considered one of the most joyous foods ever.
Dan Richer knows that. As chef/owner of New Jersey’s Razza, Richer has been praised for his pizzas (including receiving a rare three-star review in the New York Times).
The pizza expert has written the definitive pizza lover’s tome: The Joy of Pizza, where he shares his secret to the perfect pizza: the crust.
According to Richer, the crust should be “crisp, deeply caramelized, and shatters when you bite through it. The crumb is delicate and floral-scented, with a gentle note of acidity. The crust has large, open holes separated by thin, pearlescent cell walls.”
Richer is sharing his recipe for his new Margherita al Filetto pizza with Broken Palate, just in time for National Pizza Day (February 9). The recipe is sure to score a touchdown at Super Bowl parties, as well — but do you really need any reason to make a good pizza?
Richer also says that his pizza is a perfect companion to good wine. Here, he recommends a rose from Francis Ford Coppola winery. So crack open a bottle, preheat the oven, and get ready to experience the joy that only a good pizza can bring.
Margherita al Filetto
For the Tomato Sott’olio (tomato confit):
6 plum tomatoes
5 cloves fresh garlic
8-12 basil leaves
Small sprig of rosemary and/or tarragon (optional)
2 cups EVO
2 cups neutral oil such as grapeseed or canola
For the pizza:
Pizza dough for one 12” pizza
85 g (1/2 cup) fresh mozzarella, torn into 1” pieces
85 g (1/2 cup) confit tomatoes
6-8 leaves fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and cold water. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Remove the stem end of each tomato. Then, with a sharp knife, score an X into the other end.
Submerge tomatoes in boiling water for 20-30 seconds or until the skin begins to peel away from the flesh.
Transfer to the ice bath. Once the tomatoes are cool, peel the skin and discard. Cut into quarters and place into a 2-3” deep baking dish.
Add garlic, basil, and other herbs (if using) and cover with oil. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place into the preheated oven. Bake for one hour. Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and cool. Refrigerate tomatoes completely submerged in oil for up to two weeks.
Remove tomatoes from oil and place into a small bowl. Gently tear into bite-sized pieces and season with salt to taste.
Preheat oven to 500-550 degrees with a pizza stone or steel 6-8” from the top of the oven for a minimum of one hour.
Stretch your pizza dough and place it onto a floured pizza peel.
Distribute the mozzarella, tomato pieces, and basil evenly on top of the dough. Season with coarse sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.
Launch the pizza onto the pizza stone or steel. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is deeply caramelized.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately. Experience joy.