pizza

Prosciutto and fig pizza rocks with Terso Bianco

Prosciutto and fig pizza rocks with Terso Bianco

Celebrity chef Todd English first made a name for himself in Boston with his fig and prosciutto pizza, It was a sensation because it departed so radically from classic tomato and cheese pie. When we were brainstorming a pizza to pair with a bottle of Marchesi Fumanelli Terso Bianco 2014, we were inspired by English's signature pie. We had some amazing dried Greek figs on hand that had soft skins and deeply flavored sweet flesh. We thought about other tastes of the corner of the Veneto where the Marchesi Fumanelli family has been growing grapes and making wine since 1470. We finally settled on sliced figs, slivers of prosciutto, and a walnut cream base. Instead of the pungent Gorgonzola that English uses, we topped our...Read More
Provençal rosé cries out for pissaladière

Provençal rosé cries out for pissaladière

Sometimes the wine demands a departure from the best-laid plans. With a pretty upscale version of Provençal rosé on hand, we racked our brains for flavors of the Provence countryside. But we couldn't bring ourselves to make a lavender pizza. So we did the next best thing. We adapted the classic flatbread snack of the Riviera to a pizza-like round topped with onions, black olives, and anchovies. It was a match made in heaven—or maybe in Nice. The wine: La Combe Rosé, Château Roquefeuille Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire The 250-acre estate of Château Roquefeuille sits in the heart of Provence at the south end of the Sainte-Victoire valley. A gorgeous pale pink, La Combe Rosé embodies a very different style than the Fleurs de Mer...Read More
Brilliant Sancerre boosts saffron & roasted-squash pizza

Brilliant Sancerre boosts saffron & roasted-squash pizza

We have to admit that we prefer good Sancerre to the New World versions of Sauvignon Blanc—even the highly touted wines from New Zealand. The French take on the grape drinks well with cold-weather dishes. So when we pondered a pizza pairing for one of our favorite Sancerres, we remembered a hearty risotto. We often make a risotto with saffron and onion broth that is studded with bits of bacon, roasted butternut squash, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. It's perfect with a zingy Sauvignon Blanc. Surely those flavors could be adapted to a pizza. The Wine: Domaine de la Perrière Sancerre 2016 The pairing was perfect. This Sancerre is fermented cold with wild yeasts and ages on the lees about three months. The yeast notes from the...Read More
Trimbach Pinot Blanc sparkles with Alsatian flatbread

Trimbach Pinot Blanc sparkles with Alsatian flatbread

Wine preferences are a funny thing. Most wine drinkers name the grapes of Bordeaux and Burgundy as their favorites—irrespective of where they are grown. Few name Alsatian wines, yet we think they are the very model of magnificent cold-climate viticulture and winemaking. When we first met, we drank a slew of Rieslings, Gewürtztraminers, and Pinot Gris from many of the great names in Alsace. You could say we got to know each other over glasses of spicy, sophisticated, dry whites. So we were pleased to see a Trimbach Pinot Blanc in the mixed case from Esprit du Vin (edvwines.com). It was like running into an old friend. The Wine: Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2015 Pinot Blanc isn't usually the first grape that comes to mind in...Read More
Ogier Reine Jeanne spices up fennel and sausage

Ogier Reine Jeanne spices up fennel and sausage

As one of our California-born, Europe-based readers pointed out in response to our last pizza post, Americans often drink soda or beer with pizza. Europeans almost always drink wine. We're happy to choose the evening wine and then decide what to eat with it. Having a 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape on hand suggested a bold pizza. And since fennel is one of the dominant flavors of southern Rhône valley cuisine, we naturally gravitated to roasted fennel and a limited amount of Italian sausage with fennel seeds. The Wine: Ogier Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 As the photo above shows, the wine was the 2015 Antoine Ogier Cuvée Reine Jeanne, one of eight different versions of Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Ogier. It's named for Jeanne of Naples, the Countess of Provence who sold...Read More
La Forge Merlot cozies up to ratatouille pizza

La Forge Merlot cozies up to ratatouille pizza

We always thought drinking good wines with pizza was our dirty little secret. But then we found that great pizza is a given in California's Sonoma wine country. We were especially taken by the pizza-wine pairings at Comstock Wines. Unlike us, the Sonoma folks couldn't enjoy pizza and wine while the New England Patriots. As football season begins to wind down, we're exploring a wider world of wine with pizza. As we learned from pizza guru Rosario Del Nero of Bertucci's, pizza can support an infinite variety of toppings. Just show restraint. “When it comes to toppings, less is more,” Del Nero cautioned. “You don’t want to overwhelm your pizza.” A mixed half case from wine distributor Esprit du Vin (edvwines.com) arrived at the end...Read More
Comstock embodies Sonoma wine country living

Comstock embodies Sonoma wine country living

The success of the 2004 film Sideways made California Merlot unpopular for a while. But the dip in that red's reputation might have made helped clear the way for the winery and tasting room at Comstock Wines (1290 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-723-3011, comstockwines.com, tastings $20-$50). The photo above looks out the back of Comstock's tasting room to old Merlot vineyards. (That's a blue heron flying over the vines.) Many more vines were sacrificed to clear ground to build the winery, tasting room facility, and wine club residence. But not too many. Founded in 2012 using much older vineyards, Comstock still makes an outstanding Merlot that shows the restraint of the cooler Dry Creek Valley climate but bursts with black currant and violets. Currently producing...Read More

Tenderness and restraint are key to pizza love

We had always assumed that good pizza required a certain amount of drama. Showboat pizzaiolos sometimes toss the dough into the air, spinning it to stretch to size. In Naples, guys slap the dough around back and forth on the counter as if they were Jack Nicholson working over Faye Dunaway in Chinatown (“she's my daughter, she's my sister...”). That's no way to treat a lady. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” says Bertucci's executive chef Rosario Del Nero, “Dough is a living thing. You must treat it gently.” He slips a bench knife under a half pound round of pizza dough and carefully transfers it from the covered proofing box to a bowl of flour. Turning the dough over to coat the surface,...Read More

Perfecting pizza, one ball of dough at a time

Rosario Del Nero bites into a slice of pizza and savors it for a moment. “It's not Neapolitan, it's not Roman,” he says. “It's rustic, provincial Italian pizza. It's not as wet as Neapolitan, which is what most people have, or as thick as Roman.” He is not even considering the toppings. Del Nero focuses on the dough that cooks up into the crust. It must be just so. “Flour, water, yeast—it's simple,” he says. “But the secret ingredient is time. You cannot rush the yeast.” He pulls out a piece of paper and a pencil and draws a graph. “X is quality,” he explains. “Y is time.” He draws a curve that peaks at about 40 hours. “Anywhere between 36 and 48 hours of...Read More

What to eat at the airport at LAX

Over the years we've bypassed a lot of Wolfgang Puck Express eateries in many an airport in our quest to find restaurants and meals that truly speak of their place. But finally we found ourselves in the right place at the right time: LAX at breakfast. Or more specifically, LAX Terminal 7, the location of one of the two Wolfgang Puck Express restaurants at the sprawling airport (the other is at Terminal 2). Although Puck long ago went global with his fine dining, we think that his casual yet inventive food epitomizes the lifestyle of southern California, where he's been based since 1975. His Breakfast Pizza, which is big enough for two to share, is an easy-to-eat remix of of the bacon-egg-toast breakfast. The nicely...Read More