Hello my Foodie Friends!
One of our family’s favorite food is pizza, especially Paula’s homemade pizza. Pizza is an excellent all-round family food that every person can personalize and enjoy on the day it is cooked, or the following day (Breakfast Pizza?). It is also a perfect “on the go” food to help with the crazy schedules that we all have. Back in the days before children, pizza was a frequent meal for Paula and me. Our lives were basically like “two ships passing in the night.”
When Paula and I first dated one of our favorite romantic places to eat was an Italian restaurant called Verdolini’s. We were there so much they knew our order when we came in. The waitresses used to elbow each other and fuss over the young lovers. They were planning our wedding even before we even thought about getting married. The lighting and ambiance were straight out of a movie. The whole Verdolini family worked there and when he was old enough, my brother Bill, worked there also. They made a pizza that was different from any pizza I have had before or since. Paula was curious about their ingredients and how it was made. She would ask and they would say “it’s a secret.” We had my brother Bill, however, as our spy on the inside. Bill would bring home any leftover pizzas at the end of the night and hand them out to whoever wanted them. He could not manage to get the entire recipe from the owner, but he got enough that he and Paula came close. One of the special parts was baking them in their stone oven. We have tinkered with it over the years, and I think Paula’s pizza is now perfect. That’s the thing about pizza; it’s a personal taste type of food. The way I like it might be different than the way someone else likes it and that’s ok.
Paula still enjoys making homemade pizza. A key tool that she uses is a pizza stone. When using a pizza stone, the unglazed clay surface absorbs and distributes heat evenly, producing a crispy crust, but this is how to do it correctly: Place a pizza stone in the oven on the lowest rack. Placing the stone in a cold oven is very important because if you put the cold stone into a hot oven, the stone will crack and break–it’s called thermal shock. Allow at least 30 minutes for the stone to heat before you cook the pizza. Let the dough come to room temperature before baking. If cold dough is placed directly on a hot stone, the abrupt change in temperature may also cause the stone to crack.
Because pizza stones are porous, they absorb odors. Avoid using soap to clean them. Wash with hot water and use baking soda to remove stubborn stains.
Stop by downtown Saratoga Springs’ Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store. Get creative with your pizza and make lasting memories. After 60 years in business our hometown Italian Restaurant, Verdolini’s had to close due to a flood and family health problems but they live in our memories forever. Enjoy making pizza with your family and friends. Sing, dance, play music really loud, and have fun eating your very own creation. Remember Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula