Sunday, May 23, 2010


I bought a cookbook. I own quite a few but I haven't purchased one in awhile. This one was featured in BOMC so I got a deal. I like Mario well enough but it was the picture of pizza that motivated me. I thought he might have some good advice. I'd seen him on Iconoclasts recently. He served Michael a pizza with an egg on top. It made me think about Jaime Oliver's horror when he saw kids being served pizza for breakfast. Ironically he has a recipe for the traditional pizza with and egg on his web site. I guess maybe he doesn't serve it for breakfast. Of course the pizza he was reacting to had a thick doughy crust, tomato sauce, cheese and scrambled eggs. It was not appealing but his reaction irked me because I knew he knew how to make a lovely breakfast pizza.
I know a lot people eat left over cold pizza for breakfast. Once in a blue moon I will eat cold left over pizza but never for breakfast. I thought about making a breakfast pizza one day recently when I was out of bread but had left over doughs in my fridge.
I only follow recipes when I bake and even then it's likely I'll change things a bit. But I like reading cookbooks. Mario's is full of beautiful photos and simple recipes. I've been going though it again and again. I was inspired by a recipe from his book and a recipe I'd seen Ann Burrell make to buy some Fregula, which I made with fresh peas (of course), grana, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon basil. Very good.
I haven't read Mario's other books so I don't know if his focus in this book is wildly different. He does often talk about the differences in food from the different regions of Italy. In this book he writes about going to farmers markets to see what is fresh; it's the seasonal/regional approach that always appeals to me. In a long paragraph defining a context for his use of the word we he writes: We love the change from merely slicing tomatoes and adding salt to complex braising as summer fades and autumn slides in. And he mentions the social costs associated with our food choices and makes a list of changes he has made in his restaurants. He is a big importer of Italian specialty foods. Lots of fossil fuel use. I don't really have a problem with that. He uses lots of local stuff as well. In my own life I try to reserve my fossil fuel use purchases for specialty imports. And I'm lucky because I live in a foody part of the country where so much of what I want is made locally.
Mario's pizza crusts all look a bit charred. I imagine that's because he cooks them first on a skillet and then under a broiler. I'm ambivalent about that method. In my perfect world I will have a brick oven. Until then I am happily making pizza in my toaster oven.

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