Category Archives: Kaste

Pizza, Champagne, Older Italian Red Wines at Keste

Every so often Ed McCarthy sends out an e-mail to a group of Pizza and Wine lovers known as the G6. This time we agreed to meet at Keste Wall St for the pizza and as usual we will bring Champagne and older Italian red wines.

When we arrived, Roberto Caporuscio, master pizzaiolo and owner of Keste told us about a new appetizer he wanted us to try. It was homemade burrata with small mozzarellas inside.  He served it with ripe tomatoes and herbs and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Roberto

I spoke with Roberto about the type of flour he uses to make the dough for his pizza. When I first went to Keste on Bleecker Street ten  years ago,  he was using 100% Tipo  00.  When  he opened  Keste on Wall  Street,  he started  using  Tipo 1.  He said he now uses 70% Tipo 1 and 30% Tipo 00. I really enjoyed the  pizza.

As always, we started with Champagne Perrier-Jouet “Belle Epoque” 2004 Made from 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier. The wine is aged for over 6 years and the dosage is 9 grams per liter.  It has both delicacy and structure with a crisp freshness, hints of peach, pear and citrus notes. I was very impressed with this Champagne.

Our first pizza is  always a  Margherita made mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.

Barbaresco 1999 Produttori del Barbaresco made from 100% Nebbiolo. The wine is aged in large oak barrels for two years. This is a very traditional co-op, maybe the best and one of the oldest. It has all the classic Nebbiolo flavors and aromas but the wine needs more time to develop.

The next pizza was made with sausage, pistachio nuts and mozzarella.

Barbaresco 1988 “Gallina di Neive” Bruno Giacosa made from 100% Nebbiolo. Giacosa was one of the great producers of Barbaresco and the 1988 was drinking exceptional well.

Then the Sorrentino made with smoked mozzarella, basil and lemons.

Barolo 2001 “Monprivato” Giuseppe Mascarello made from100% Nebbiolo, The Monprivato vineyard is about 15 acres on a southwest- facing slope in Castiglione Falletto. The chalky and gray marl soil is perfect for growing Nebbiolo. This is classic Barolo but it needed more time.

The next pizza was topped with culatello, a type of prosciutto made from the choicest part of the pig, known for its tenderness and flavor.

Chianti Classico 1969 Riserva Ducale Ruffino showing its age but still drinking very well for a wine 50 years old.

Next we had a fried pizza, the Montagnara  topped  with  mozzarella and flavored with truffle  paste.

Roberto said he had a special pizza that he wanted us to try and it was a pizza with caviar and  avocado.  

We ended on a sweet note with fried dough sticks topped with Nutella

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Pizza Popolare $5 at Kesté

 

Roberto Caporuscio is a master pizzaiolo and I have enjoyed his pizza since he first opened Keste on Bleecker St.

Recently he invited me to Keste at the Fulton Street location.

 

For the month of December, Roberto is reducing the price of three of Keste’s most popular pizzas to $5  each, the same price you would pay for them in Naples!

The pizzas include:

Mast’Nicola made with grana, lardo, basil and extra virgin olive oil. Roberto said that this pizza dates back to the 16 century before tomatoes were known in Europe.

Marinara Kesté made with tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes and oregano. Roberto said this pizza dates back to the 17 Century when tomatoes came into Europe from the New World.

Margherita made with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, grana, basil and extra virgin olive oil. He said this was the most famous pizza and it dates from the 18 Century. It is my favorite and has been since I first went to Naples in 1970.

The $5 pizza popolare are available at Keste Bleecker St. and Keste Fulton St. The promotion at the moment will last until the end of the year.

Roberto speaking  about the pizza popolare

Roberto said he now uses 70% Tipo 1 and 30% Tipo 00 flour from Caputo for his dough.

The mozzarella is now made in-house.

Roberto also made a few of his other specialties.  Here he is cutting  focaccia stuffed with prosciutto and cheese

Fried Buratta Cheese

Roberto also made a pizza with mozzarella, anchovies and grated lemon rind 

There was a special dessert pizza that is not on the menu.

We had two wines:

Prosecco DOC “Cuvée Giuliana” Isotta Manzoni made from 100% Glera. The soil is clayey and calcareous, the vines are 25 to 30 years old and the vineyard is at 200 meters. The exposure is southwest and the training system is the traditional pergola. Fermentation takes place for 25 days in stainless steel tanks and it is aged for one month is stainless steel. The wine has hints of apple and lemon with a note of grapefruit and nice minerality.

 

Brunello di Montalcino 2013 Piancornello made from 100% Sangiovese. The training system is spurred cordon and there are 5,000 to 6,000 plants per hectare. The wine ages for 24 months in oak barrels and at least 4 months in bottle before release. This is a full bodied wine with red and black berry aromas and flavors, a hint of spice and herbs and touch of balsamic.

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Pizza with Roberto Caporuscio: Tipo 1 and Tipo 00 Flour

On the evening of our planned tasting at Keste Pizza & Vino Bleecker Street comparing pizzas made with Tipo 1 flour to Tipo 00, I made sure to arrive early so that I could have an opportunity to discuss the differences in the flour with the master pizzaiolo, Roberto Caporuscio.

Roberto is now using Caputo Tipo 1 flour, which the company describes as follows. “It is an historic flour by aroma, color and flavor. It has a high protein index of 13 and is made from a perfect selection of the best variety of grains with all the richness of wheat germ. Type 1 is suited for direct and indirect dough making with a longer rising time.”

Roberto pointed out to me that the dough made from Tipo 1 is slightly beige in color because the flour contains specks of wheat germ, while Tipo 00 is completely white.

“Tipo” refers to the fineness of the milling.  Tipo 00 is the finest grade of flour milled in Italy and has a consistency and color similar to fine white powder. It is made from soft wheat with a 12.5% protein content. Since 00 has less protein it contains less gluten. And it makes dough that is easier to stretch.

Tipo 1 is less refined because it contains a greater amount of bran, the outer part of the grains of wheat, as well as the wheat germ. Tipo 1 is packed with fiber, mineral salts and vitamins. Roberto said it has a higher nutritional value and therefore it is better for you,  lighter and easier to digest. He also likes it because it can ferment and rise longer than Type 00.

He also said that Tipo I  has about 80% hydration ratio and Tipo 00 has about a 60% hydration ratio. The ratio is the amount of water to the amount flour in the dough. This effects how the pizza rises in the oven.

Roberto said that up until the 1960’s pizza in Naples was made with Tipo 1 flour because they did not have the milling techniques to produce 00. Once they did, they switched to 00. This may be the why Caputo calls Tipo 1 “historical flour”.

I asked Roberto if he would mix the flours to make the dough for his pizza. He said never, one or the other, no mixing.

When everyone arrived Roberto asked if we were ready for the pizza challenge and we all said we were. There were 6 of us, the perfect number for pizza. Roberto said he would make one pizza Margherita using Tipo 1 and one using Tipo 00. Our job was to guess which was which and decide which we liked better.

Tipo 00

We tasted the first one and had some discussion and then tasted the second one. Without much effort, we all guessed correctly which was which and we all liked the one made with the 00 flour better.

Tipo 1

The consensus was that the 00 pizzas had a lighter, puffier crust and better flavor. They conformed to our idea of what Neapolitan pizza is supposed to be and the dough complemented the toppings. The Tipo 1 pie was very good , but we all preferred the 00 pies.

Roberto also made some excellent pizza for us using Tipo 1 as follows: 

Fontina Valle d’Aosta, porcini mushrooms and prosciutto

 

Stracciatella (mozzarella), anchovies, fresh lemon and basil

Figs, stracciatella and caciocavallo

Padrino pizza made with mild soppressata, Ragusano cheese, Gaeta olives and a drizzle of chili oil

Napoletana pizza made with tomato, anchovy and oregano.

It was a very interesting and informative evening and thanks to Roberto for taking the time to speak to us and  make all of the pizza himself!

 

 

 

 

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Four Master Pizzaioli at Kesté

Last week I received a text from Roberto Caporuscio of Keste Wall Street that he was making pizza with three other famous pizzaioliz that night. I had plans for dinner but as soon as dinner was over I  jumped in a cab and arrived just time as Roberto was making a Tiella “pie” a speciality from the town of Gaeta.

The filling.  Escarole, squid and black olives.

Ready for the oven.

Roberto shaving truffles on the Tiella– this would never happen in Gaeta.

The finished Tiella.

 

John Arena  made a pizza from an American flour that he developed.

Roberto  made a Roman style pizza.

 

The finished Roman pizza. Better than in Rome

Vincent Rotolo

The other Pizzaioli were Nino Coniglio and Vincent Rotolo.

New York Style Pizza or Detroit Style. Depends on where you live

Square Pizza Sicilian style – The best of this style I ever tasted!

An evening of great pizzaioli making great pizzas at Keste!  I only wish I had gotten there earlier to taste all of them.

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Special Pizza to Aid Hurricane Relief

 

It is not often that two top pizzaioli join together in a pizza making event to share Neapolitan pizza making techniques and collaborate in making pizza to benefit hurricane victims.

The event was held at Keste Wall Street( 66 Gold Street NYC )Roberto Caporuscio newest location. Roberto was joined by Tony Gemignani, a 12 time pizza champion, cookbook author and restaurant owner from the West Coast.

Roberto speaking about the dough

Roberto said, “It’s important that the centuries-old art of Neapolitan pizza-making is preserved for generations to come. Tony and I have so much respect and passion for what we do and love to share it with others. While he’s (Tony) in town from the West Coast, we thought it would be fun to get together and offer pizza-lovers an evening of tasting and teaching.”

There was a friendly competition as to who would make the best special pizza. Tony went first.  His version was made with butternut squash, mascarpone, fried brussels sprouts and a drizzle of sorghum.  

Roberto’s was topped with peas, prosciutto di Parma, pancetta, house made burrata and a drizzle of local honey. The pizza will be offered as a special at all of Roberto’s restaurants through November. Proceeds from sales will be donated to the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Irma relief fund.

Giorgia and Roberto

Giorgia Caporuscio, Roberto’s daughter an award winning pizzaiola in her own right, made the  Caporuscio version of the pizza.

The Caporuscio version being prepared by Georgia 

The finished pizza

The preparation of the Margarita

Ready to eat

 

 

 

Then she made a pizza with zucchini flowers whole tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella- preparation

 

Ready to eat

 

 

Tony signed copies of his new book

 

 

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Pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio Revisited

Interview with a True “Pizzaiolo”, Roberto Caporuscio

CHARLES SCICOLONE (April 18, 2009)

Roberto Caporuscio Presenting his Pizzas
Recently, Roberto Caporuscio opened a new offshoot of his groundbreaking New York pizzeria, Keste.  The new place, known as Keste Wall Street, is located at Fulton and Gold Streets in the trendy Financial District.  It is big, with space for pizza classes and private parties, a full bar and plenty of seating.  But Roberto, and his pizza, have not changed a bit.  Here is what Michele and I wrote about him when we first discovered the original Keste.

With all of the pizzerias here in New York City, we are thrilled to have Pizzeria Keste which is dedicated to making genuine Neapolitan style pizza. Roberto Caporuscio is a true pizzaiolo and Keste raises the pizza bar in this city.

It seemed like only a few moments passed between the time we ordered our pizza Margarita and its arrival sizzling hot at the table.  Light, crisp and full of flavor, Michele said it was the best pizza she had eaten since Naples.   Rosario, one of the owners whom we had met before came by to see how we liked the pizza and introduced us to the pizzaiolo, Roberto Caporuscio.  Roberto, who is a wealth of knowledge about pizza, is from Campania and has a passion for Neapolitan style pizza and trained and worked in Naples.  He has also made pizza in Denver, Chicago, Pittsburgh and NJ, among other places.  He asked us which pizza places we liked in NYC and Naples and we realized that we liked many of the same places. Meanwhile, we had finished eating and Keste was getting busy.  Roberto asked us if we would like to come back to see how he made the pizza from scratch.  We gave him an enthusiastic Yes! And made a date for the following Monday.

Roberto’s experience making pizza in Italy and around the US taught him that despite the common belief, the water did not make a big difference in the finished pie.  The temperature and humidity were more important because these would affect how long the dough takes to rise. He does not use a “biga” starter.  He only uses fresh natural cake yeast that must be kept in the refrigerator.  Dry yeast does not do the job and can leave spots in the pizza. He uses a very small amount of yeast, 1 gram per liter of water, and lets the dough rise very slowly.

Roberto uses “double zero” Antimo Caputo flour in 55 lb bags.  It is made especially for pizza from seven different kinds of wheat. The wheat is ground very slowly so as not to damage the flour and the nutrients.  This flour gives you dough that is easier to stretch and the slow rise gives you more flavor and makes it lighter. Roberto does not put the dough in the refrigerator but leaves it out to rise for 18 to 24 hours.

The flour, water, salt and yeast are mixed in a special machine that has two arms and moves very slowly. The slow movement mixes the dough without heat buildup. It takes about 20 minutes for it to be ready. The dough remains in the machine until Roberto is ready to transfer it to a table where it continues to rise. When it is ready, the dough is shaped into 9.5 ounce balls.  The shaping method is the same for making mozzarella.  The finished balls are put into plastic boxes to rise. Roberto tried to find wooden boxes but did not like any of them. It takes about 20 minutes to shape the mass into individual balls. The finished dough is so soft, you might expect it to stick to your hands, but it does not. Roberto makes sure every ball of dough is perfectly round because any holes or gaps would prevent the pizzas from lying flat in the oven and they would not bake properly.

When it is time to make a pizza, Roberto takes a ball of dough and with his fingers spreads it into a disk. He rotates the disk by quarter turns–it takes less than a minute to reach its final shape. He makes sure that the pizza is not too thin in the middle, if it is the cornicione or rim will be too thick. I have never seen a pizzaiolo in Naples toss the pizza in the air, but I had to ask anyway. Roberto gave me a look and said that the dough is not to play with, it is food!

Next he puts on the sauce, starting in the middle and working in circles toward the edges– not too much sauce in the middle. Buffalo mozzarella is then added and some basil and a touch of olive oil. The wood burning oven is 900 degrees. He stretchers the dough a little more before putting it on the peel. I took out my watch and timed it.  A perfect Pizza Margarita was done in only 45 seconds.  From the time Roberto touches the dough and to the time the pizza arrives at your table is less than five minutes!  Like the classic Neapolitan pizza, it is 9-10 inches and has a crust that is neither too thin nor too thick.  It can be folded in half and then folded again into quarters, without cracking or breaking the crust. Only the edge, called the cornicione, is crisp, though it is also chewy.

Roberto grew up on a farm, and would milk the cows and make cheese. He told us a story of feeding the cows tomato skins so the milk had a pink tinge to illustrate for us that what you feed the cows determines what the cheese will taste like. He loves cheese and uses different types on his pizzas.  He says that he varies his pizza toppings as long as they make sense. Once a customer asked him to make a pizza with pineapple as a topping.  He considered it an insult and refused.   Would you have sushi and ask the chef to put Mozzarella on it?

In addition to the superb Margarita, we also tried Roberto’s Roman style pizza made with thin sliced potatoes, and the Mastro Nicola which is Roberto’s interpretation of the earliest Neapolitan pie, before tomatoes were introduced to Italy.  It was topped with pecorino, herbs and lard.

With all of the pizzerias here in New York City, we are thrilled to have Pizzeria Keste which is dedicated to making genuine Neapolitan style pizza.  Roberto Caporuscio is a true pizzaiolo and Keste raises the pizza bar in this city.

Here is a photo of Roberto Caporuscio at Keste Wall Street at the recent Strada di Mozzarella presentation for pizza Napoletana.

 

Keste’ Pizza & Vino
271 Bleecker St
New YorkNY 10014
(212) 243-1500‎

Keste’Wall Street

66 Gold Street, NY, NY

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