Category Archives: Pizza

Puglia comes to Kesté

A number of years ago Michele and I were on a press trip to Puglia and we visited Cantina Due Palme. Recently I received  and invitation for an event called  “Wines of Excellence Made in Puglia: Cantine Due Palma at Keste Wall Street.”

It is always a pleasure to go to Keste and I wanted to catch up on the wines of Due Palme.

Roberto Caporuscio, Pizzaiolo/Owner of Keste, was the host for the evening.

We started with  a focaccia typical of Puglia, made by Roberto. The flour is a mix of Super  Nuvola “0” flour from Caputo, semolina and potato.  The topping is tomatoes and olives.

There was Buratta, a cow’s milk cheese, which originated in Puglia that has an outer shell of mozzarella and inside a mix of shredded mozzarella and cream called stracciatella. It is made fresh everyday at Keste.

Olives from Puglia-Cerignola

Roberto with his former students

Two former students of Roberto, Penelope and Lucie, made the pizza. They have since opened a pizzeria in Quebec City called Nina Pizza Napolitaine.  Roberto said they were his best students and after I tasted the pizza I could not agree more, it was that good.

I asked Robert what flour he uses for his pizza.  He said he uses a mix of 50% Tipo 1 and 50% Super Nuvola Tipo 0 from Caputo.

The Pizza

Pizza with  a mix of homemade straciatella, and smoked and regular mozzarella infused with fresh mint and limoncello, and topped with fresh figs – fantastic.

Pizza with stracciatella cheese, broccoli rape and sausages

Pizza with ricotta and onions sauteed with mixed berries

Vegetarian pizza

Figs marinated in red wine

Cantina Due Palme is a Social Cooperative with its main headquarters located in Cellino San Marco, Puglia.  It was established in 1989 but its roots go back to 1943. In  the beginning there were only 15 members and today there are 1,000 and they have merged with 4 other large wineries with a total capacity 10,000 HL of wine.

Salice Salentino DOP Riserva “Selvarossa” made from Negroamaro and Malvasia Nero. The soil is baked red clay and the training system is alberello. The grapes are hand harvested and some of the grapes are dried in the cellars to concentrate the sugars and flavors and to enrich the structure. The wine is aged for 9 months in French oak barriques and then in bottle until it is ready to be released. The wine has hints of cherry jam, dates and vanilla with a note of toasty oak and a touch of spice.

Primitivo Di Manduria DOP “Sangatano” made from 100% Primitivo Di Manduria. The soil is red in color because of iron oxides with a rocky limestone substratum. The wine is aged for 6 months in American oak barriques followed by maturation in the bottle for a period of time. This is a wine with black fruit aromas and flavors with hints of vanilla and chocolate.

Rosso Salento IGP “1943 The Presidents Wine” made from Primitivo and Aglianico from vineyards planted in 1968. The grapes are hand harvested and some of the grapes are dried (appassimento) in the cellars which are kept humidity free to avoid spoilage. The wine is aged for 9 months in new barrels and for a period in bottle before release. This is an intense and complex wine with hints of coffee, ripe cherry, plum and spicy notes of vanilla. It is called The Presidents Wine because it produced from the old vineyards planted by Angelo Marci, founder and president of the company, in 1968 using the alberello vine training method.

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Prosecco and Pizza Masterclass at Ribalta NYC

Last fall, Rosario Procino invited me to be a judge at a pizza and Prosecco contest at Ribalta, his restaurant. The contest consisted of pizzas made by 5 different pizzaioli and we were judging which pizza went best with Prosecco. It was great fun and all of the pizzas were winners and went great with the Prosecco as far as I was concerned.

Recently I was invited by Gruppo Italiano: Restoratori, Distributori ed Importatori  to go to Ribalta for pizza and Prosecco.  This time, it was not for a contest but for a Pizza & Prosecco Master Class. The speaker was Tess Rose, wine educator.

There were 3 flights of Prosecco each with three wines.

Pasquale Cozzolino the chef/pizzaiolo at Ribalta made 3 different pizzas to go with each of the flights.

The first flight of Prosecco was Extra Dry, the second also Extra Dry but with a little more residual sugar and the last was Brut, which is the “driest” of the 3. Prosecco DOCG has three levels of sweetness: “Dry” 17-32 g/l, “Extra Dry” 12-17 g/l, and “Brut” 0 -12 g/l.

Prosecco is the leading selling sparkling wine in Italy. In addition, it outsells Champagne in the UK and sales of Prosecco increase every year in the United States

Prosecco is produced exclusively in the area of northeast Italy between the Dolomites and the Adriatic Sea. The two regions in which Prosecco is produced are Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in 9 provinces.

Prosecco DOCG must be made with at least 85% Glera grapes with the addition of Verdiso, Bianchetta, Trevigana, Petera and Gela Lunga. Prosecco Superiore Spumante may also contain up to 15% of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero and Chardonnay.

When at least a minimum of 85% of the wine comes from a specific vintage, the year may be indicated on the bottle along with the term Millesimato.

Prosecco may be made in 3 different styles: Spumante bubbly), Frizzante, lightly effervescent), or Tranquillo (still). Only the Spumante version is allowed to have the name Superiore.

Most sparking Proseccos are made using the “Charmat Method” in an autoclave (pressurized tank). For “metodo classico,” it is also permitted to carry out the second fermentation in the bottle.

The vine training system for Prosecco can be double  arched cane, sylvoz, guyot and metodo spalliera.

The Prosecco Extra Dry: Astoria, Mionetto, La Marca, Carati 075, Perlino, Sant’Anna. Brut: Bianca Vigna, Torresella, Valdo.

Sant’Anna Extra Dry Prosecco NV made from 100 Glera. The grapes are destemmed  and gently crushed The must is then transfered into steel vats where fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature.When yeast is put  into the tanks and remains for a period of 4 months it tranforms the wine into a sparking wine. This is a Prosecco with hints of peach, pear and a touch of white flowers.

Valdo Brut Prosecco DOC NV Made from 100% Glera (Veneto). The vineyards are the traditional “Metodo Spalliera”, where the stems can be as long as one meter and are tied to a horizontal wire. Grapes are hand picked during the last week of September. Soft pressing and fermentation occurs at 64F in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. To obtain small and fine bubbles (perlage) a selection of natural yeasts is made. There is 3 months of Charmat-Martinotti aging, followed by 3 months in bottle before release. This is a sparkling wine with hints of peach, melon, pear and golden apple.

The Proseccos we tasted were all made  by the Charmat-Martinotti method. For the most part the flavor profiles are much the same, the only difference is in the amount of residual sugar.

I  liked all of the Prosecco that I tasted. However I think the Extra Dry works much better as a aperitif.

With the first flight we had the pizza topped with smoked mozzarella, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes and a touch of hot pepper.  This was the most difficult pairing, as the touch of hotness in the topping did not make for a good combination with the Extra Dry Prosecco.

With the second flight we had the pizza topped with mozzarella, speck and 30 month old Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The Extra Dry Prosecco with a little more residual sugar worked a little better with this pizza.

For the last flight we had the pizza topped with ‘nduja, a spicy sausage spread and mozzarella. This pizza was paired with the Prosecco Brut and it was the best of the 3 combinations.

Happy  4th of July!!!

 

 

 

 

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Making Mozzarella and Burrata at Keste

I often go to Keste Pizza & Vino Wall Street and always enjoy the pizza and other foods made by the owner/pizzaiolo Roberto Caporusico. I look forward to speaking to Roberto about pizza, Naples and food in general. Roberto has mentioned a few times that he now makes his own mozzarella and burrata. The last time I was there I had the chance to try his burrata filled with small mozzarella balls. It was creamy and really different from any burrata I had had before. Roberto said he was doing a mozzarella and burrata making demonstration and invited me to come.

Roberto

Roberto began by speaking about his background. He said that before he became a pizzaiolo he worked as a cheese maker, making mozzarella, a semi-soft Italian cheese made from the milk of cows or water buffalo. Burrata is made the same way as mozzarella but it is formed into a pouch and then filled with cheese curds and cream. For both the mozzarella and the burrata Roberto uses cows’ milk. When the pouch for the burrata is formed he fills it with small mozzarella balls soaked in heavy cream for 5 days.

Before Roberto  began the demonstration he said  the water he was using was very hot and he put on two pair of black gloves to protect his hands.

 

These are the curds that are waiting to be mixed with hot water.

The mozzarella balls soaking in heavy cream for the burrata filling.

Roberto making the mozzarella. He is mixing the cheese curds with hot water.

 

Checking the consistency

Mozzarella is one of a category of stringy cheeses in Italy

The  cheese  is  smooth  and  stretchy

Shaping the mozzarella

The  Mozzarella

Rolling out the mozzarella to make a roulade

The stretched mozzarella is stuffed with puree of artichokes and tomatoes

Then it is rolled up like a jelly roll

It needs to be refrigerated so it firms up

 

Making another roulade layered with culatello, a type of prosciutto made from the tenderest and most flavorful part of the pig, and greens.

Culatello

Rolling the cheese and fillings

Slicing the roll into pinwheel slices.

Roberto said the mozzarella rolls should be placed in the refrigerator overnight so they become firm before they are ready to be served. These were in the refrigerator for only about 30 minutes and while the one made with the culatello was fine, the one with the artichoke mix and the tomato needed more time in the in the refrigerator because it was difficult to cut and came apart.

The one with the culatello came out perfect and delicious

 

The burrata stuffed with small mozzarella balls soaked in cream

Pizza with burrata and tomatoes made by Giorgia, a master pizzaiolo, and Roberto’s daughter.

With the mozzarella we drank still and sparkling Asprinio  from  Fabulae, Campania Felix Wine

“Jescesoul” Terre del Volturno IGT made from 100% Asprinio. The grapes are grown in sandy soil with good superficial permeability of volcanic origin near the city of Caserta. The training system is Svlvous and Alberate Aversane. The vines are 12 meters tall among poplar trees. Harvest is by hand the last week in September and the first week in October. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature for 3 months. The wine remains in the bottle for two months before release. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, a touch of lemon, nice minerality and good acidity.

Asprinio Spumante ‘Aspritz” VSQ made from 100% Asprinio. The grapes are destemmed and a soft pressing takes place. Fermentation is for one month in stainless steel tanks to prepare for the classic method which takes place in the bottle. The wine is then manually capped and rests for 9 months before release. The Spumante was straw yellow in color because the juice was left on the lees and is full bodied. It has hints of citrus fruit, a touch of lemon, with good minerality, acidity and a note of brioche. Both wines were a great combination with the mozzarella but the Spumante was the perfect combination.

 

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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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Herculanum Pizza: le Parùle

Ristorante and Pizzeria le Parùle http://www.leparule.it in Herculaneum, modern day Ercolano, near Naples, has a great reputation. I first read about it on Luciano Pignataro’s blog, www.lucianopignataro.it. A few years ago, I was invited to the area by Campania Stories to taste the wines of the principal zones of Campania, visit the wineries and have dinner with the winemakers at night. To my surprise and delight, one of the restaurants where we were scheduled to dine was le Parùle. The name means vegetable garden in Neapolitan dialect.

When I returned to NYC I told Michele that not only was the pizza fantastic but also the rest of the food on the menu.

Giuseppe

One of the places we have never visited on our frequent trips to Campania was the ancient Roman city Herculanum, destroyed by the famous eruption of Mont Vesuvio on August 24th 79 AD.  On this visit to Naples, we decided to visit Herculanum in the morning and go to le Parùle, only a few minutes away, for lunch. I contacted Giuseppe Pignalosa the owner/chief/pizzaiolo of le Parùle to let him know that we were coming.

Giuseppe said he only uses the best ingredients from the Mount Vesuvio region.

We started as always with Pizza Margherita made with Neapolitan tomatoes, fior di latte dei Monti Lattari cheese, and olio extravergine d’oliva del Vesuvio “Villa Dora”.  Giuseppe said he uses Caputo “0” flour and does not use a biga (starter).

Next we had a pizza topped with ‘nduja, a spicy cured meat, and mozzarella.

We also had some fried things, including macaroni with bechamel sauce, peas, cheese and ham, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried until crisp on the outside and melted within.

Then Fried calamari with onion rings

Montanara (pizza fritta) topped with Pomodorino del piennolo del Vesuvio, mozzarella di bufala Campana D. O. P., olio extravergine d’oliva del Cilento D.O.P. “Monzo” of Pietra Bianca and fresh basil.

I have been traveling to Naples, Italy for many years, and I think Le Parule has some of the best fried food and pizza I have tasted.

 

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The New Age of Contemporary Pizza

As I wrote about in my last post, I attended the Made in Italy 2019 Cooking Show at Keste Wall Street.

After the pastry making portion of the program came three demonstrations concerning pizza making:

Contemporary Flour for Contemporary Pizza Making,  New Age of Contemporary Pizza, Pizza in Teglia, and Pizza alla Romano with Vincenzo Iannucci. Vincenzo is a pizzaiolo who works for the Caputo flour company in Italy, one of the sponsors of the event.

Vincenzo was in NYC to introduce Nuvola Super “O” soft wheat flour by Caputo.  It is designed to create a dough with an airy cell structure. Called Nuvola (cloud in Italian) because it produces a product which is light and fluffy. It is made from a careful selection of highly fermented grains free from additives and preservatives. It is 100% natural so it can be used also for pre-ferments such as a biga, a dough starter. It is ideal for Roman-style Pizza in Teglia, pizza baked in a pan and served in slices. Dough made from Nuvola Super 0 has a very high hydration with long fermentation times and a super light and airy crust. Mr. Mortati said that this flour was developed in response to suggestions made by a number of young pizzaioli.

Fred Mortati, owner of Orlando Foods, spoke about the floor with Vincenzo

Vincenzo first made a focaccia using a biga (starter) made from the Nuvola Super “0”

The Focaccia was light and airy with a pleasing crispness

The Focaccia was served with prosciutto and buratta 

This is Vincenzo’s formula for the Biga:

Ingredients:

Flour -1.5 Kg

Hydration – 750 Kg

Fresh yeast – 7.5 gr

Fermentation for 24 hours

 

 

Preparing the biga in the mixer

The biga is broken into pieces before it is  ready to be used

 To make the dough for Neapolitan style pizza, Vincenzo uses this formula:

DOUGH:

Add BIGA to mixer with

Flour: 3.5 Kg

Hydration: 2.750 liter total

Salt 125 gr

Final dough hydration:

Flour 5 Kg

Water 70%

Salt: 2.5%

Yeast 0.5%

Evoo: 1

 

Shaping the dough- the dough is very light so it has to be shaped very gently. Note how Vincenzo’s fingers leave indentations in the dough as he shapes it. 

It is made with 30% biga.  More water added to the dough than if the biga was left out, yielding a total of about 80% hydration.  The pizza bakes in the oven for 2 minutes longer than one made without the biga.  It is also baked at a lower temperature, about 700 degrees F.

Neapolitan style Margherita made with the biga had a higher cornicione, the outer rim of the pizza.  It was also more tender.

Compare that to this Neapolitan style Margherita made without the biga.  Note that the cornicione, the outer rim of the pizza, is less puffy.    

 

Then Vincenzo demonstrated how he makes his Roman style pizza baked in a pan or teglia.  This dough is 80% biga and 80% water, it stays in the oven for 7 minutes. This type of pizza is served by the slice so that the extra water keeps the slice from drying out when it is reheated.  Here is the formula that Vincenzo uses:

BIGA:

Ingredients:

Flour – 3.5 Kg

Hydration – 1.750 Kg

Fresh yeast – 17.5 gr

Fermentation for 24 hours

DOUGH:

Add BIGA to mixer with

Flour: 1.5 Kg

Hydration: 2.250 Kg total

​• water 2.200 Kg

​• oil 50 gr

Salt 125 gr

Final dough hydration:

Flour 5 Kg

Water 80%

Salt: 2.5%

Yeast 0.5%

Evoo: 1%

This is the New Age of Contemporary Pizza: Pizza in Teglia alla Romana

 

Vicenzo preparing the Pizza Pala.  This is similar to the Roman style pizza above except that instead of baking it in a pan, it is shaped on a board (pala) and baked directly on the oven surface.

Both the Roman style pizza and the Pizza a Pala is made with 80% biga and 80% water and they both stay in the oven for 7 minutes.

Vincenzo also demonstrated his method for making a gluten-free dough with Caputo gluten free flour Fiore Glut, a mix of a of rice and potato starches, rice and soy flour, sugar, thickeners and dietary fiber.

Gluten free Margherita pizza

This was one of the best gluten free Margherita’s that I have ever tasted

It was a very informative demonstration and I learned a lot about pizza making.

I have been going to Naples since 1970 and , I am leaving tomorrow for Naples, and have eaten pizza in other parts of Italy in  NYC and in other parts of the U.S.. I have had pizza made with  Tipo, ‘”O O”,   “O” and  Tipo 1 and with a mixture  of “OO” and  Tipo 1 , with biga and without biga. After all of this I still feel the best Neapolitan  style pizza ia made using “OO” flour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pastry, Pizza and Pasta Demonstrations at Kesté Wall Street

The “Made in Italy 2019 Cooking Show” at Keste and Vino Wall Street was a two-day event featuring pasta, pizza and pastry making demonstrations.

There were four presentations altogether and they were repeated on the second day.

Sabatino with the dough for the Baba

The first demonstration was a Pastry Presentation: Italian Pastry Techniques with Sabatino Sirica from Sirica dal 1976 in S.Giorgio a Cremano, Naples.  Sabatino made Baba’, a yeast raised cake typically soaked in rum syrup, though other liquors, such as limoncello can be used. Baba’ is a very typical Neapolitan sweet.

Vincenzo Ianucci from Caputo preparing the pizza

The second presentation, using Nuvola Super “0″ Flour by Caputo: Contemporary Flour for Contemporary Pizza Making with Vincenzio Iannucci, a pizzaiolo who works for the Caputo company in Italy.  Other topics were: New Age of Contemporary Pizza and Pizza in Teglia alla Romana.

 

Giorgia preparing the dough for frying

Next session, Georgia Caporuscio of Keste Pizza and Don Antonio featured  The New Age of Frying.  She gave us insights on frying, using the right oil and techniques.

The last demonstration was for Garofalo Pasta: New and Innovated Pasta Dishes and was presented by Pastificio Garafalo, Pasta di Gragnano.

The event was very interesting and informative and I will write about all of the events I attended. Next time Italian Pastry Techniques with Sabatino Sirica making Baba’, Graffe’, Brioche Dolce, and more.

 

 

 

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