Want to make pizza at home like a pro? Kitchen Workshop Pizza written by professional pizza maker and pizza restaurant owner Ruth Gresser can show you how. This book is more than a pizza cookbook; it’s an entire curriculum for those of us willing to go to pizza college to learn to make a great pie.
For me, the secret to great pizza is the crust and Gresser’s Kitchen Workshop teachers readers the secrets of great crust—Neapolitan, New York, deep-dish, even gluten-free. Chef, pizza maestro, and 20-year owner/operator of Pizza Paradiso tells readers about needed equipment; methods to master (planning, and working with dough, proofing dough, shaping/stretching dough, transferring, topping, baking); and ingredients.
Workshop in a Book
Then Gesser launches into the pizza workshop curriculum. Level 1 covers Pizza Basics, including seven recipes for tomato and cheese pizza. These easy-to-follow recipes run the gamut from classic Neapolitan to deep dish. She gives readers recipe for dough, including her restaurat’s Paradiso Pizza Dough, Neapolitan-style, New York-style, gluten-free, wheat, and multi-grain. She also offers a number of recipes for pizza sauces, including roasted tomato, San Marzano tomato, slow-cooked American-style, and Winter tomato sauce. In this section and throughout the book helpful photos illustrate the directions. Each recipe includes yield, an ingredient list and numbered directions.
In Level 2, The Classics, Kitchen Workshop goes beyond cheese pizza to Italian classics like Marghererita (mozzarella, basil, olive oil), marinara, four cheese, prosciutto, calzone (folded over pizza) and others.
Level 3 delves into original pizzas created at Gresser’s Paradiso restaurant. The author shares her secrets for her meat lover’s pizza,; mushroom, spinach, and onion; even mussel pizza. She also offers recipes for Pizza Bottarga or pizza with eggs.
Sauces and Toppings
The Workshop’s Level 4 is all about sauces. This is where the author says you can “play with your food” and be inspired to invent your own sauces. She offers recpes for roasted red pepper sauce; black bean sauce; parmesan sauce; a variety of pestos; salsa verde; BBQ;and ricotta. She also includes a section called Greg’s Beer Cooler where she recommends different beers and ales to go along with different and sauces.
The curriculum’s Level 5 covers different types of proteins you can top your pizza with. What about fish or fowl? Or eggs and beans? This section will definitely stimulate your creativity. Who ever thought of adding chickpeas to pizza? Gresser provides innovative recipes for using tuna, smoked salmon, shrimp, eggs, chicken and even tofu on pizza.
Levels 6 and 7, Vegetables and Fruits, push the creative envelope even farther, challenging readers to think outside the box when it comes to pizza toppings. Chef Gresser adds vegetables from arugula to pumpkin to fennel to pizzas; in the fruit section, she makes cherry pizza, cantaloupe pizza, apple pizza, pear pizza, apricot and date pizza, even berry and banana pizza!
Real Bottom Line: If you want to make pizza at home like a pro, Kitchen Workshop Pizza takes you step-by-step from pizza basics to wildly creative pizza making. The approachable directions, beautiful and illustrative photos, and innovatively fun recipes will take you from novice to near-pro pizza maker in no time. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor
Photos courtesy Kitchen Workshop Pizza and © MOSHE ZUSMAN PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO, LLC.
Want to try one of Chef Gresser’s pizzas for yourself? Check out her Broccoli Rabe Pizza recipe.