(Semi) Homemade Neapolitan Style Pizza

3 08 2010

Ever since our first visit to Keste, Robbie and I have wanted to try to recreate a Neapolitan style pizza at home, which is a difficult task, being that they cook their pies for a matter of seconds, at about 800 degrees. HOT! Also, the dough is made in a very specific way….so we cheated a little.

Keste actually sells their dough at $5 a piece- which is actually pretty great when you consider the cost of getting the dough ingredients for Neapolitan pizza.

We turned our oven up to max about an hour before baking, and at the same time, placed the pizza stone in the oven to get it nice and hot. We also let the dough hang out at room temperature so it was nice and easy to handle.

When ready, we shaped the dough on our pizza paddle, and transferred it to the pizza stone and baking sheet (we had 2 pieces of dough). The dough cooks alone (sans sauce, or any toppings) for about 10 minutes. It got nice and browned during the pre-baking portion; much closer to the look of Keste’s cooked crust than I had imagined our little oven could accomplish.

As far as sauce goes, we also went all out authentic and a bought a can of San Marzano tomatoes. They really do taste different- nice and sweet.

Baked crust, getting topped with San Marzano tomatoes

One pie was some awesome local heirloom tomatoes from the USQ greenmarket, and the other was lentil sage Field Roast deli slices and yellow pepper. Both had FYH Jack cheese and Daiya.

Fresh local heirloom tomatoes, basil, FYH jack cheese

We also made some sweet bruschetta for good measure.

Bruschetta with local heirloom tomatoes

I’d totally recommend trying this at home if you are into Neapolitan style pizza. It is really worth getting the authentic dough and playing around!


Keste Pizza & Vino

23 03 2010

Last night we went to Keste Pizza & Vino for the second time. It is so tasty, and I think worth the hype. It keeps getting voted high up on NYC pizza ratings, and to me, these rating are all about the crust. The Neopolitan style pizza has a really light, fluffy crust that is the result of super high oven temps.

One cool thing about Keste is that it is the official USA location for APN (Associazione Pizzaluloli Napoletani), which is an organization that attempts to preserve and promote the tradition and art of making Neopolitan style pizza. There are strict guidelines that must be followed to be an APN member which include:

1. The dough must be made only with flour, natural yeast/brewers yeast, salt and water

2. Dough must be kneaded by hand or mixers that don’t cause it to overheat

3. Dough must be shaped and punched by hand

4. Only wood burning, bell-shaped brick overs are permitted.

5. Pizzas must be cooked directly on the oven’s surface (often made of volcanic stone)

6. Temps must reach 750-800 degrees (which often takes hours before the pizza hits the oven)

The results of all these rules is a seriously yummy, totally different kind of pizza that anyone can make at home (unless, of course you have an oven that will reach 800 degrees- if so, lucky you)!

There is usually a wait to get into Keste during prime dinner times, but it is definitely worth it. Last night, we got there at around 8:15, and had to wait about 20 minutes for a table of 4. Also, they don’t take reservations.

The only vegan pizzas are the Marinara (which I have yet to try), which costs $9.00, and my fav, the  Vegetariana ($16.00), which features tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, artichoke, zucchini and olive oil. This one is great because it comes cheese-free! There are plenty of vegetarian pies as well.

Here’s my pizza:

Robbie had the Pizza del Papa, which has a butternut squash cream, artichoke, red and yellow peppers, and mozzarella- unfortunately NOT vegan at all, but so easy to fake this one at home. We’ve recreated it multiple times, and he’s said (besides the crust), that it tastes pretty much the same. It is great to make when butternut squashes are abundant at the green market. To make the cream sauce, we just baked the squash, and pureed it in a food processor with some soy creamer and sauteed onions, garlic, pepper and salt to taste. Add cream to create desired consistency.

Here’s our Keste inspired home version of their Pizza del Papa, topped with Daiya and Follow Your Heart:

Also, a while ago we hit up Roberta’s in Bushwick. It was great as well and Neopolitan in style. Here’s my Rosso pizza, topped with mushrooms and onion. Very tasty pizza, in a really cool space.

We still have to hit up Motorino, Saraghina, and Co.


Catching Up!

5 10 2009

I’ve been lazy lately at updating with new pictures, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been cooking up a storm! The biggest update is that we discovered the source of all the fake meat products from our favorite restaurants. Red Bamboo, Wild Ginger, etc all have these ridiculously convincing seitans, and it turns out, they all come form the same source: A little, weird shop in Chinatown called May Wah. Here, you can get smoked duck, prawns, calamari, salmon, beef, chicken wings, sashimi, and any other product that vegans wouldn’t be able to consume. And most are all vegan. This place is awesome. And it’s cheap too. So, with this discovery, we now have a ton more veganizing opportunities. The pizza is posted because it’s beautiful- no May Wah products there- just seasonal and delicious tomatoes and basil from the USQ market.

Next up is flautas. We used May Wah chicken nuggets and shredded them to be “chicken” flautas, with FYH cheese. Also, we have another recipe from the Rosa cookbook- stuffed pineapple with “seafood.” We used a combo of tofu, “calamari” and something that I am forgetting (whoops..Robbie?) for the seafood. This gets baked with a pineapple/guajillo adobo, the pinapple chunks, some onion, and tortilla chip “clams.” It’s also sprinkled with FYH cheese.
Robbie made me a sweet dinner after spin class last week. May Wah comes through again with their chicken, which Robbie did up lemon chicken style, over soba noodles. It was excellent.
Friday night, we made beet orzotto from a NY Times article, which was easily veganized. We served that with May Wah salmon marinated in lemon, which was excellent. The May Wah stuff is freaky- truly. This went well with Bread Alone bruschetta topped with eggplant and jalapeno. NUM!