What's the secret to making the best pizza? It is all about the basic components, every element should be treated with respect, each ingredient's cooking time should be considered wisely. Of course, everyone has his or her own school of thought. There are those who would never give up the basil, who opt for a topping as raw as possible, who instead focus all on the crust.
We at Fine Dining Lovers turned to Naples native Giuseppe Vesi, Pizzagourmet's pizza chef who is based in Milan - to be precise in via Ugo Bassi, in the Isola area - to ask him how to make the best pizza. Here are his five tips:
Tip #1: Do Not Overwork the Dough
Chef Vesi has no doubts: the dough should be worked quickly and spread just as quickly to avoid heating it with your hands. The more the pizza is handled the longer it will take to prepare it correctly. Once prepared, take the dough and divide it into 4 loaves. Spread each loaf over a greased oil pan with your hands or a rolling pin, add the toppings and bake at 180/200 (350/400F) degrees for about 15 minutes.
Tip #2: Keep An Eye on Ingredient Ratios
Distribute the toppings on the pizza in the right proportions by type of flavors and aromas without exceeding the quantities, Vesi advisedd. "Keep an eye on oil: it should be extra virgin Italian olive oil but do not get carried away." Pizza requires very little olive oil and it should be added at the end of the cooking process.
Tip #3: Be Selective With Condiments
Pay attention to the condiments you choose. If you decide to season your pizza with salami, beware of the salt content. "Some types of cured meats and sausages are to be used raw, this to prevent them from releasing salt," Vesi said.
Tip #4: Keep The Cheese At Room Temperature
"If you use buffalo mozzarella, do not store it in the fridge, but keep it in its water at room temperature," Vesi recommends. Cut it into strips or slices. Place it in a colander for a few minutes to let the excess milk and whey drain before using it on pizza.
Tip #5: Add The Most Delicate Ingredients At the End
Right before pulling the pizza from the oven add the most vulnerable ingredients to the heat (dairy products, fresh herbs, etc.). This prevents them from releasing excess water, that would moisten (and ruin) the dough.