Thursday, October 7, 2010

RECIPE - São Paulo-style Pizza (Pizza Paulistana)

As mentioned yesterday on Flavors of Brazil, 2010 is the 100th anniversary of pizza in Brazil. That history began in the city of São Paulo, where pizza is still consumed, honored, and possibly worshiped in all kinds of ways. There is a specific style of pizza which pertains to São Paulo and which is called throughout Brazil "pizza paulistana", meaning "pizza that comes from São Paulo."

Here is a recipe for  pizza paulistana, courtesy of Chef Fábio Donato, head "pizzaiolo" at São Paulo's Restaurant Castelões, from Brazilian media website UOL. On that site, there is also a video lesson from Chef Donato on how to make his recipe. He only speaks Portuguese, but the video (and Chef Donato) are charming, and it's easily to follow what he is doing visually, so it's a fun and instructive few minutes. Here is a link to the video. If you watch the video, you'll note that after rolling out the dough, the chef covers it with a layer of mozzarella before he adds the tomato sauce. As he says in the video, "If you add the sauce first, it's not nice!"

Chef Donato also admits in the video that without the high heat of his word-burning oven at the recipe, the crust will not rise as quickly, nor will it develop those lovely charred bits on its surface. However, he says that his recipe does work well in home ovens. So, celebrate Brazil's 100-year old love affair with the pizza, and make a pizza paulistana at home. You'll love it, guaranteed.
RECIPE - São Paulo-style Pizza (Pizza Paulistana)
Enough for 3 medium pizzas

2.2 lb (1 kg) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cup (560 gr) water, room temperature
1.5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp dried yeast
extra flour for kneading and rolling

mozzarella cheese sliced
tomato sauce
additional fillings as desired
Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup warm (110F, 45C) water. When dissolved and foamy, put in a large ceramic or glass mixing bowl. Add the remaining water, and olive oil. Stir to combine. Add all the flour and let it gradually absorb the liquid, mixing gently with the tips of the fingers. Begin to mix the dough with floured hands, until all the water is absorbed and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add additional flour or warm water as needed to achieve the proper consistency. Generously flour a cool surface, preferably stone, and add the ball of flour. Knead for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is springy and no longer sticky. Place in a clean mixing bowl, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place for up to 2 hours.

Remove from the mixing bowl, and place on the kneading surface, making sure it's still well-floured. Punch the dough to remove air bubbles. Separate the dough into three equal balls (extras can be frozen at this point), and roll them out quickly and rustically. Don't worry about perfect circles.

Layer slices of mozzarella over the rolled-out crust(s). Cover with a very scant layer of tomato sauce (not too much). Then top with any additional fillings you want.

Put the pizza in a very hot oven (500F, 260C) that has been preheated for at least 30 minutes, either on a pizza pan or preferably a pizza stone. Cook for 10 -15 minutes, and remove when the pizza crust has risen and is nicely browned, and the toppings are bubbling.

Serve immediately.

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