Thursday, February 3, 2011

The "Gusta" Pizza

The "Gusta" Pizza, A Little Backstory:
Last June, I went to visit my boyfriend, Matt, in Florence, Italy. He had been spending his summer there in a study abroad program where he was learning the wonders of Tuscan wine and rich Florentine history. My first day finally in Florence was spent frantically seeing the whole city in one day, as Matt began finals the day after and wouldn't be able to be my travel guide. After seeing the Loggia, the Duomo, hiking all the way up to San Miniato and the Piazza Michelangelo, tossing coins off the Ponte Vecchio, and nursing some serious blisters on my heels, Matt finally decided it was time to eat some authentic Italian cuisine. Tucked away across the river Arno in a narrow alley way was Gusta Pizza, a tiny little pizzeria swarming with tourists and Florentines alike. I let Matt order for us in his broken Italian and picked up two sort of cold sodas. After what seemed like the longest wait of my life, our pizzas were finally ready for devouring. They were bubbling hot and Matt instructed me to pour what looked like lava oil a top my pie. I have never finished a whole pizza in one sitting until that day, when my tongue met the taste of the Gusta Pizza. The simplicity of the ingredients and the thin crispy crust couldn't have been a better reward for such a packed day. In honor of that wonderful pizza, here is my recipe that's a pretty good alternative to the real thing.

What you'll need:
  • Fresh Dough for at least 1 14" pizza 
  • 1 package of spicy salami or hot soppressata 
  • 1 14 oz can of strained tomatoes or tomato sauce 
  • 1 package of fresh mozzarella in water
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano, thyme, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
  • Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon parmesan cheese
  • Cooking Spray
  • Red Chili Oil 

Recipe: Makes two medium or one large pizza
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. If using fresh dough, pull out of refrigerator and let rest for 10 min
  3. Pour desired amount of tomato sauce into small pot and heat over medium, about 1/2 - 3/4 cup
  4. Add basil, oregano, thyme, onion, red pepper flakes, and garlic to sauce and stir
  5. Once mixed and thoroughly heated, remove from heat and set aside
  6. Spray small amount of cooking spray onto pizza stone or cookie sheet
  7. Work dough out into a very thin layer by gently spreading dough apart with fingers and lay gently onto stone or sheet *Be careful not to overwork dough it will become very tough
  8. Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving small strip along the outside clean
  9. Arrange the salami or soppressata generously on top of the sauce 
  10. Drop small balls, about 1/2 in, of mozzarella all over the top
  11. Sprinkle parmesan cheese around outer layer of crust
  12. Slide stone or sheet into oven and bake for about 20 min, depending on how thin the dough is
  13. Once pizza is out of oven, sprinkle with fresh basil and drizzle chili oil over top
  14. Enjoy!

Tenacious Tips:
  • For the meat, I use Applegate Farms Hot Soppressata -- Applegate is a great brand for processed meats because there are no nitrites or nitrates added! They also do not use any antibiotics, raise animals sources humanely, and feed them vegetarian diets!
  • Reserving a little mozzarella to plop on after you take the pizza out of the oven, makes for an even cheesier and creamier bite!
  • If you can't find red chili oil or don't want to spend the extra money, you can make your own! Just take salad dressing bottle, clean it, fill with extra virgin olive oil and a good bit of red chili flakes, or small red chilies if you have them,  and let sit for a few days. The chilies will infuse the oil for a spicy kick! (You can do this with many other spices and herbs!)
  • Less is more... The more you crowd the pizza with cheese and toppings, the more they over power the natural flavors from the crust and sauce. You want to make sure every part of the pizza is given room to shine!

Gusta Pizza -- Florence, Italy

1 comment:

  1. Yay!! Your first blog post, and you're already looking like a pro :) Great job, lovie (and great job on dinner, because it was amazing last night)!! I'll put up our bacon wrapped date photos on my blog, and use it to introduce yours!! Now i'm off to add you to my blogroll..