Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A night with Pizza Tonight

Sunday night, (thanks to my friend Christina) I got to attend a Women Chefs and Restaurateurs event hosted by Pizza Tonight.  I have been wanting to go to one of PT's pizza making classes, and getting the chance to talk with women in the RVA food business was not one I was going to pass up!
That is Chef Ellie Basch and Slow Food's Stacy Luks  wrangling their pizza dough. 
The owner of Pizza Tonight, Victoria DeRoche, gave us some fantastic tips on making pizza dough, which can be extremely tricky. Pizza Tonight dough is made with high gluten flour from Italy (though they make a gluten free version too) and a very precise method.  I believe cooking techniques are best taught in person, and Victoria was a fantastic teacher.  She is funny and even though I am sure she has told the stories and taught the process loads of times, she still seems to genuinely enjoy it.

Extraordinary toppings!
After we took what we learned from Victoria and coaxed our dough into perfect circles, (ahem, most people did- I went for a more 'neopolitan' look.  By that I mean that mine wound up looking like a football.) we got to top them and fire 'em up.  The folks at Pizza Tonight set out the most amazing spread for topping pizzas you could ever imagine.  Sausage from Sausage Craft, salami from Olli Salumeria (local love), fresh white sauce, fig preserves- egg and cheddar, (which I was totally fascinated by) fresh herbs and arugula, all kinds of amazing cheeses- I mean, it was a dream!  I made one with thin roasted blue and white potatoes (!) and mushrooms, white sauce, roasted red peppers and several kinds of cheese.
Jannequin is showing me how to slide the pizza off the peel.  If you wait too long, the flour on the peel incorporates into the dough, and it won't release!  (Very important lessons learned here.)
We fired (Evan fired, we chatted nearby) our pizzas in Pizza Tonight's very own mobile pizza oven.  This bad boy (the oven, not Evan) can be rented out for catering (with the knowledgeable staff from PT, of course) and makes its way regularly to area farmers markets.  As much as I like making pizza at home, it really is better from a wood fired oven.
Never mind the shape y'all, it tasted fantastic.
 Pizza Tonight let us make as many pizzas as we wanted, and we ate ourselves silly.  Fig and Pig, the vendor's special (egg and cheddar with mushroom and sausage), white, vegan, classic- you name it.  If that wasn't generous enough, they gave us each a pizza making kit to take home!  I can practice my skillz  with their dough, marinara and some 'magic sprinkles'.  I guess you know what I am having for dinner tonight...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great post! We had so much fun, it was really a great group.