I was able to attend DeFazio’s last schedule cooking class Sunday afternoon. This isn’t to say that they are stopping it – they’ll start it up again later. Perhaps in the fall. You might be able to schedule a private class… they mentioned they had done a class with a Girl Scout troop earlier in the day. And Siena College seniors have a class scheduled for next week. Talk about busy!
To start the class Rocco talked a little about the pizzeria and what makes them stand out from other places. The fact they make several types of dough sets them apart from the rest. They will be adding a new dough to their lineup – a rye that they’ve used in their ruben stromboli.
Focacia was the first topic he covered, and how to make it. He strongly suggested you use a deep dish pan and non-stick cooking spray (they use Pam). I’m guessing it was an 8 x 2 inch round pan that he used. Add a 1 1/4 pound portion of dough into the pan (here my notes might be a little wonky), cover,and let it rise in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes. After rising, use your fingers to poke holes in the dough and brush with olive oil before baking in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Cheese - a mix of provolone and mozzarella slices and a generous sprinkling of pecorino (it’s added to everything pretty much)
- Meat – in this pie he used raw sausage, roughly chopped up
- Vegetables – for the vegetarian pie he used sautéed spinach (boiled & strained before cooked in a pan with same herbs used in the sauce, minus the oregano) and raw mushrooms
- Sauce – no skimping here! Not all the way to the top, but close
After all the dough was portioned out, we were given a dough ball to shape and prepare for our take home box. Basically, you take the dough into your hands and pinch it in; place on the table and with the palm of your hand roll it around into a nice round shape before your smack it. Definitely see myself using this for releasing some aggravation! Brush on some oil and wrap in cling. For a better tasting crust, you have to wait at least a day before you use the dough. Also, dough should be at room temperature.
While we still had two more topics to go over, we ran out of time and finished the day off with pizza. Before we started the class, a couple had asked me what my favorite pizza was from DeFazio’s. Without really thinking about it, I said “buffalo chicken pizza.” And it’s true – that is a really good pizza. It’s what finally won them the AOA Pizza Tournament.
We (and by we I really mean Rocco and the rest of us were around the perimeter) made four different pizzas:
- Roasted Red Pepper Pesto w/ Four Cheeses - roasted red pepper pesto (made in house) is the base, and topped with four cheeses which I'm not too sure about. I'm guessing provolone, mozzarella, pecorino, and... gorgonzola? Tasty, but the texture was unusal. Maybe too much cheese for me.
- Buffalo Chicken - a generous dousing of Frank's on the dough, followed by shredded mozzarella, and then topped with diced chicken tossed in more hot sauce and gorgonzola. All the aspects of the chicken wing without the bone.
- Margherita - while the buffalo chicken is my favorite at DeFazio's, this is my favorite pizza style. It's simple and classic... reminds me of what I ate when I visited Italy. The pizza goes into the oven with just the sauce and slices of fresh mozzarella. It is only after it's done when the pizza is topped with whole fresh basil leaves. Wish I could have had a larger slice!
- Apple Butter w/ Banana & Honey - apple butter topped with sliced ripe bananas, cinnamon sugar, and a generous drizzle of honey. While the pizza was in the oven Rocco mixed together ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and regular sugar. Creamy and surprisingly not overly sweet, this was dolloped on each pizza slice. To be honest, I was going to skip out on this one - with all the food before it, I just didn't have the space. But went up anyways and I am glad that I did. Before I knew it, the slice on my plate was gone and I was seriously considering grabbing that last slice. Definitely going to try this at home.
If you get the chance, sign up for one of these classes. And if it's a pasta class, I'll see you there!