thoughts on pizza

I first went to Pizzeria Mozza for lunch in 2009. It was my birthday, and a group of colleagues decided to make the drive from Century City to Hollywood for the occasion. Since then, Nancy Silverton's pizza has been the standard of comparison for every other restaurant. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that I pre-ordered the Mozza cookbook as soon as I learned about it, for the sole purpose of having her somewhat-modified-for-home-kitchens pizza recipe.

Before you get too excited, I have to tell you that there will be no recipe for dough in this post. That's my fault, really, for not yet owning a kitchen scale. Her recipe relies on precise measurements, and while I've added my eye-balled 13 ounces of water and 7 ounces of bread flour with some success, I'm certain the dough would be even more perfect if I used a scale. But Nancy Silverton is on to something here, and one day I'll combine her techniques with a slightly quicker approach for a more approachable weeknight dough recipe. Until then, I leave you with topping inspiration.

Cheese, basil and tomato sauce are my standbys. While perfect, and something I'm always in the mood for, my recent trip to the Santa Monica Farmers' Market inspired me to try something new. The stalls were brimming with winter greens, so I bought a bunch of rapini, three small leeks and couldn't wait to get home. Since I don't cook with a lot of red meat, this was a treat for Andrew (who proceeded to use the leftover sausage for a hearty breakfast omelet), but it pairs wonderfully with the mild onion flavor of the leeks.

To prepare the toppings, sauté 3 small leeks (halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half moons) and 1 bunch of torn rapini in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, then pour into a small bowl. In the same pan, heat up more oil and add 2 crumbled links of Italian sausage and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Use your favorite pizza dough recipe, and when the pies are rolled and ready, top them with the leeks, sausage and mozzarella cheese.