Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pizzeria del Riccio

Everyone who knows us KNOWS that pizza night is a big deal at our house. The Chef is hands down one of the best pizza creators I've ever met. He pooh-poohs the chain pizza places and delivery joints in favor of homemade crust and his brilliantly crafted red sauce and toppings. He scours the garden looking for peppers, tomatoes, herbs, anything to add to his pizza creation.

Where we live there are some pretty interesting pizza places. Big Tomato Pizza had dominated the late-night pizza scene for years and boasted some of the most off the wall toppings around (corn ? sliced hot dogs ? no thank you....). A handful of family-owned Italian eateries also put together some pretty good pies. And of course, Fong's Pizza has certainly changed Des Moines' pizza scene with their asian-inspired toppings and crazy cocktails.

But when it comes to pizza, the Chef around here likes to go big. Usually he breaks out the pizza stone and throws on piles and piles of toppings, like an avalanche of vegetables and cheese. This time however, he wanted to go a little different direction with pizza, so he thought back on his visit to Gino's East in Chicago and that's where he went- Chicago style deep dish pizza.

Usually made in well-seasoned cast iron pans he had to wing it with the biggest springform pan in the house.

Since I'm the official dough-maker in the house, it was my turn to whip up a batch of pizza dough and hand it over to The Master.

Traditionally, this kind of pizza is made with the cheese on the bottom, so he generously loaded the crust with shredded mozzarella.

The sauce comes next, and after simmering away on the stove for a while, it's thick and red and spicy and.....well......delicious !!

See those big chunks of herbs in the sauce ? Those were picked fresh right from the garden !! You can't get any fresher than that ! After the sauce comes the toppings. The Chef never skimps on toppings, this time choosing pepperoni, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes (yellow tomatoes from the garden), green bell peppers, onions, olives and mushrooms.

Finished with a generous sprinkle of parmesan, this baby went in the oven for about 45 minutes and emerged a hot, gooey, cheesy pan of amazingness. Usually we have plenty of leftovers for snacking- that was not the case with this one. We didn't even get a picture of the finished pizza !!!! Next time, and believe me, there WILL BE a next time, we won't attack it like turkey vultures !!!