Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pizza a Casa - Great crispy thin pizza at home

A week or so ago my wife and I headed over to the Lower East Side for a pizza making lesson at Pizza a Casa, and it was well worth it.  The point of the class is to teach you how to make excellent quality pizza at home in a regular home oven, and it succeeded with flying colors.  To drive the point home the only ovens in the space are two regular electric ovens that are used to cook every one of the dozens of pizzas over the course of the night.  The process it surprisingly easy, fun, and delicious.

Everyone starts out making a batch of dough from scratch, each person ending up with four pizza's worth, which you can cook that night or take home for later.
On each night of the class, they have toppings available to make 10 or so different pizzas of all classes, red, white, dessert, etc.  While you wait for the fresh dough you make to rise, they show you the next steps of prepping the pizza with several pies using dough they made previously.  Starting with a Margherita and then a nice pie topped with thin marinated potato:

Already getting full, it was time for us to craft our own pizzas with our fresh dough.  My wife's first was this great spicy sopressata pizza:
I went with the "Bacon and Eggs" with pancetta, eggs, black pepper and fried sage.  I had a little trouble getting mine as round, but that hardly affects the taste:
Look at that char!  These guys turned out nice and crisp, not at all floppy, just like we like it.  We were beyond stuffed at this point, but we wanted to practice one more and my wife couldn't resist the nutella, pine nut, and banana option:
The options are endless, and we may now be spoiled for take out or delivery pizza, which is no doubt a good thing.  In addition to a packet with the instructions and recipes, we went home with our leftover 5 balls of dough, which we made use of over the next week.  We've actually had a pizza stone and pizza peel since our wedding in '06 that had embarrassingly gone unused until recently, but it's gotten a workout since the class.  Just to prove it works at home as well, here's one I made the next day at home:
See, it works.  (Though I still need practice making it round.)  I ate too much pizza three days in a row.  But it was so good.

A week later we still had one dough left, so on Monday I decided to experiment and made a pizza with it on the grill, mostly because I was hungry and the grill would heat up much more quickly that our slowish oven.  It worked beautifully as well.

UPDATE: Serious Eats recently posted a video showing Bello's "DJ method" for stretching the dough if you want to see how it's done.

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