Posted in Favorites, Food, Recipes, Travel

Pizza! Pizza!

I loves me some pizza!  Cheese Pizza!  I could eat pizza every day and never tire of it. I love food so you would think to pick just one favorite would be hard. But it’s not. Hands down pizza does it for me.

Scranton, PA

Growing up I would go to Scranton to visit my dad’s family and would always be treated with Ferri’s Pizza. Back in the 70’s we got Ferri’s at their location in Dunmore, Pa but it is no longer open. When I was in Scranton back in 2003 there was a location in Taylor, PA so I was able to enjoy the pizza once again 🙂  I have never experienced anything similar to this “Old Forge” style pizza anywhere else in the country. It is fantastic. Another place that serves a similar pizza is Brownie’s Famous Pizza. It is just as delicious as Ferri’s.

UPDATE: ORDER PIZZA DOUGH – Old Forge Pizza Express Full-Dough Pizza Kit (Makes Two 11″ x 17″ Pizzas)

Boston, MA

I went to Boston a couple of years ago for software training when I was working for a hospital. Naturally I would never travel without planning to experience some local pizza flavor. I hit the web before we even left town and found the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph, MA. As luck would have it, or fate, we were staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Randolph, MA.  I could tell you how awesome this little pie was but I think the experience of going there proves it. We went on a Tuesday night which isn’t necessarily the biggest night in the restaurant biz. But this place was packed. We had to wait for a table. It wasn’t in any way fancy. You could tell the building was old and they had no time for renovations. On top of it the pile of take out orders was stacked so high I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. It was unreal. They don’t deliver…but the pizza is so good you’ll get off your ass to go get it. They only make one size pie. It’s a 10″ individual pie. I thought it seemed like a small size…but this pie is so rich I actually felt my stomach stretch and I still didn’t finish the whole thing. It was so good I wanted to keep eating but my stomach was like…don’t you dare! The nail in the coffin of convincing is the fact that this place only accepts cash. In this day and age of online shopping and debit card purchasing even that was no deterrent. They were doing business to the maximum. Crazy. If you ever hit the Boston area don’t miss out on this hidden gem.

St. Louis, MO

I grew up in St. Louis so I know the best places. There are actually a lot of good Italian Pizzeria’s in St. Louis if you can believe it. I guess because it is a fairly good sized town with a catholic presence it has been able to get a lot of italian immigrants to settle out in the midwest.  I love Saullo’s. Some people complain the family is cranky but who cares. It’s about the pizza not the service. Unfortunately, they are located in north St. Louis county which isn’t the best part of town. But they are right off the interstate in an older strip mall so they are very easy to get to. The inside of the restaurant is very small but they have a loyal customer base so they do a lot of take out business. Getting a table shouldn’t be a problem. The Serra brothers, cousins of Saullo, have restaurants also. Serra’s Pizzeria comes in first, they are located in Maryland Heights, while Nick & Elena’s in Overland comes in close behind. They are all fabulous. I miss them very much now that I am living on the Gulf Coast. Like many who moved from North County to South County, it is nothing to make the trek for that pizza. It is pleasure to do so. That being said Saullo’s had a kindred spirit on the south side. St. Louis House of Pizza was serving up Saullo’s style pizza and it was fantastic. But apparently Don closed up shop. Fact is, people in South County don’t know what good pizza is. All the good places are up north.

Gulfport, MS

Not a lot of options down here for pizza. But Salute has a very good pie. And they are located right on Beach Blvd with an ocean view. Can’t beat that! It is a very nice restaurant so they actually have lots of delicious food. As for a regular pizza pie the only option in town is Chilli Willi’s Pizzeria. They offer Brooklyn style pies that are available “by the slice” or by the whole pie. I like it both ways. It’s very good by the slice but sometimes it’s nice to just get my own 10″ personal sized pie.

Well, all that pizza talk and the fact that Uncle Sam is in Scranton got me in the mood from some pizza makin’. I don’t really have a recipe per se. I use a frozen bread dough loaf, pizza sauce and mostly american cheese. Obviously you can add whatever other toppings you like.

You have to know in advance if you want to make pizza my way. It takes the better part of a day to thaw and let the dough rise. I picked up some Winn Dixie pizza sauce and had some chunks of white and yellow american cheese leftover. I buy my american cheese at the deli and just have them cut off bricks. I don’t get it sliced. I have a cheese slicer. I like being able to use the cheese the way I want, maybe sliced, maybe grated, maybe cubed. As for the pizza sauce, Winn Dixie’s store brand is very flavorful and if it’s already done well I’m not to good to use it.

The american cheese probably sounds weird but if you actually use “real” american cheese and not “processed cheese food” slices, well american cheese is quite good. It has a low melting point which makes it gooey like provel. Most people have never heard of provel cheese. It is only available in St. Louis. It is a blend of swiss, cheddar and provolone. In other words, it is a processed cheese. But at least is actually made from “real” cheese and not a bunch of oil.

Tip: Thaw the frozen bread loaf in a loaf pan that is coated with cooking spray. Also spray the top of the frozen loaf with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. This will keep the dough from sticking to the pan or plastic wrap after it has thawed and risen.

At this point I turn on the oven and set it to 375º. I don’t have a big cutting board so I just tear off a sheet of Freezer Paper and tape it to the counter with painter’s tape. I spray the freezer paper with cooking spray so the dough doesn’t stick as I roll it out. I then place the pizza dough in a jelly roll pan and form the edges up against the sides because I like crust on the edges. After that I prick the surface of the dough all over with a fork so that I don’t get a bunch of bubbles. I cover the pan with a pastry towel and let it rest on the warm stove for about 15 or 20 minutes so the dough can do a second “rise.”

Topping your pizza is personal preference. I like to do the sauce first and cheese next. Then I hit the top with a bit of Italian Seasoning. I make my own which is perfect for pizza (2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp basil, 1 tsp thyme).

I top the sauce with the white and yellow american cheese. Then I put some mozzarella on top. Sprinkle on some italian seasoning and it is ready for the oven. I bake the pizza for about 20 to 25 minutes. This gives the bottom a nice golden brown color and the cheese is nice and melted.

The cooking spray I use when rolling it out is plenty to keep it from sticking to the pan after it is baked. You can slide it right out of the pan onto your cutting board (if you have one that big) and slice it up!

This is some good stuff! And the best part is that the american cheese and fresh dough crust actually makes it very tasty leftover right out of the fridge. I’m very picky about pizza. It is my favorite food after all. So, only the best pizza tastes good cold. If I bring home pizza from the restaurant I have to reheat in the oven on a parchment paper lined baking pan. No way can it be microwaved! Yuck!

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Author:

"Alex, I'll Take Things Only I Know For $200."

2 thoughts on “Pizza! Pizza!

  1. Looks like you learned the trade well, it looks like one of mine, In St Louis, I have been using a mixture of shredded american, rope provels, and shredded fontinell cheese. Also find some Oregano in the spice section with good sized pieces and use that instead of the Italian seasoning, that is more or spaghetti sauce. As for the sauce if you can find Contadina,that is a good brand,it is sure easier that cooking down whole tomatoes and tomato sauce. At least I know Aunt Donna and I will have good pizza when we finally get to visit you.While I’m here in Scranton you can buy the square shells like Brownies use so that is what I made my own from the night Wendy & i had it, it turned out good. In the trailer since the oven is so small I put a round pizza stone in the bottom and it keeps the temperature even so we can bake. Glad you enjoyed your treat. Love Uncle Sam…

    1. You will eat so good when you are here. I LOVE cooking!

      The only reason I used the Italian Seasoning instead of Oregano is because the Winn Dixie pizza sauce is LOADED with oregano!! If it was garlic I could probably clear out the neighborhood with my breath after a slice!

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