November 24, 2002
Pizza with Leftovers
posted by Carl

Pizza is a good thing to make when you need to get rid of leftovers. There are other ways of course, (the trash being rather popular) but I had recently read a review of Jeffrey Steingarten's new book with an excerpt about his obsession with making the perfect pizza. Steingarten buys a temperature gun, a non-contact thermometer which can tell temperature from a distance, and goes to all the best pizza places in New York to see how hot their ovens are. He comes to the conclusion that the optimal temperature is something like 750° which is rather hard to attain in standard home ovens. His eventual solution is to forgo an oven and use a charcoal grill.

Lacking a grill, I would have to make do with the oven and our recently purchased pizza stone. Unlike the last time I made pizza, I used the standard dough recipe (from Bittman) without any adulterations. I had some leeks that should have been used for the mussels, some mushrooms that were teetering on the brink of nastiness, and a bit of Romesco sauce that we had left over from that potluck a while back. Of course their was also some cheese involved: chunks of mozzarella and fresh grated parmesan. Everything was going well until I tried to slide the pizza off the baking sheet and onto the pizza stone. Either I didn't use enough cornmeal or I just don't have any pizza sliding skills, but whatever the reason, I managed to get part of the pizza upside down on the pizza stone. Not only did this make a nasty burned-Romesco-sauce splotch on the pizza stone, but in doing so, one of the chunks of mozzarella fell onto the super hot oven floor. The downside of course was the smoke from the smoldering cheese that quickly filled the whole apartment. The upside was that the apartment now smells even more like a pizza place.