American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza may just be my favorite cookbook of all time because it combines history and stories about pizza (my favorite!), science, and recipes. Peter Reinhart goes on a culinary journey to find the perfect pizza. As expected, his journey starts in Italy where he looks for focaccia col formaggio, then heads to Rome for the seven-foot-long pizza al taglio, and then to Naples for pizza napoletana. When Peter Reinhart gets back to the United States, his hunt resumes with visits to New Haven (hello, Mystic Pizza!), Chicago (gotta love Lou Mal's!), New York, California, and Phoenix. After all these pizzas, which city had the best pizza, according to Peter Reinhart?
The best pizza was at Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona. Others share this opinion, and I have read about Pizzeria Bianco in cooking magazines such as Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart, and Gourmet. The owner and chef, Chris Bianco, won the James Beard award for best Southwest Chef.
So, bottom line, pizzaiolo Chris Bianco and Pizzeria Bianco know good pizza.
Recently, while shopping on the Williams-Sonoma web site, I came across Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes, which are a collaboration between Chris Bianco and Rob DiNapoli, a third generation California tomato grower. I've always believed that the imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes are best, but if "master pizzaiolo" Chris Bianco uses these on his pizzas over San Marzano, I was game to try these on my pizzas.
These tomatoes are organically grown, harvested, and hand-selected on a family owned farm in Yolo, California. Shortly after harvesting, and before the plum shaped tomatoes are packed into their pretty cans (Chris Bianco's dad designed and drew the label), they are steam-peeled. Organic basil and a touch of sea salt (does anyone else also think that sea salt tastes better?). These tomatoes have no calcium chloride, which is often added to tomatoes to keep them firm. As a result, these tomatoes still have that "perfectly ripe" tomato texture.
|These ingredients deliver one flavorful tomato sauce!|
Now, my verdict: Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes are pretty darn awesome. These tomatoes tasted more flavorful than San Marzano tomatoes. They are slightly sweet and taste so fresh.
Good sauce is essential to a great pizza. The sauce carries most of the underlying flavor to the pizza. Homemade tomato sauce for pizza is so simple and quick to make.
I often think "less is more," so I keep the ingredients in my tomato sauce to the basics. The red wine vinegar brightens the tomato flavor, and fresh herbs with tomatoes are just a match made in heaven. I use granulated garlic instead of minced garlic because it allows for the garlic taste to be more evenly spread. The olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and sea salt just add that perfect finishing touch.
Disclaimer (because lawyers like fine print): This is not a sponsored review. I did not receive any compensation or free product for writing this post. I just wanted to share a great find!
Yields enough sauce for about 4 pizzas
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 tbsp. fresh minced herbs or 4 tsp. dried herbs, such as basil and oregano
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Mix all ingredients into a bowl. Any leftover sauce will last for about a week in the refrigerator.
Source: A Simply Sweet Justice Original