So for an early birthday present for Stuart, I purchased tickets for a Pizza Demo class at Foster’s Homeware in Center City. The place is like an Ikea for home wares, except alot more expensive. It’s totally worth checking out though.

The class was taught by Osteria’s top chef Jeff Michaud. Osteria is quickly becoming one of Philadelphia’s hottest restaurants in general, let alone one of the best pizza spots in the U.S. as voted in GQ Magazine in May. While I haven’t had the chance to visit it yet, I can tell you that this place has got it going on. The have a study abroad program, where they send their chefs and cooks to a small pizza shop in Italy, and they have guest appearances in their kitchen with Italian chefs from the same place. They do private cooking classes at the restaurant on a monthly basis, and they give patrons the opportunity to “hang out” in the kitchen at their desire- just call a day in advance. They also have a small, but poppin’ off garden in the back yard where they use certain selections on their rotating “Specials” menu.

And that’s not all, they change their menu up to five times a year to make sure that they are using the most seasonal produce, which they have provided to them by local farmers and merchants from the Philadelphia area. I am seriously loving this place!

We had the great fortune of watching Chef Jeff throw some of his magnificent thin-crust pizzas together right in front of our eyes. He showed us how he makes the dough from scratch and then invited us to come up and participate by rolling the dough out ourselves.

Chef Jeff made it look incredibly easy, but it was actually really complicated. You should have seen the 4 oz. balls this guy made. Make sure there are no creases in the bottom of the ball because it will make it difficult to roll out. The rolling out was the impossible part. Check out Stu’s attempt below.

Roll Out

Roll Out

After the pizzas were rolled, Jeff demonstrated the sauce, which is fantastic. A very simple sauce with canned tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil.

Jeff then demonstrated how to make three different pizzas, each one better than the previous:

Pizza Margarita

Red sauce, spooned out in a circular pattern over the pizza, slices of fresh mozzarella cheese,salt and pepper to taste, and fresh basil placed on the pizza, after pizza is cooked. Delish!

Cheff Jeff and his Italian apprentice Matteo in action

Cheff Jeff and his Italian apprentice Matteo in action

White Zucchini Pizza

Ricotta cheese the sauce, roasted slices of zucchini, goat cheese, olive oil, and a perfect pesto sauce.

Tuna Pizza

Red sauce-based, topped with chopped onion, canned tuna, and fresh mozzarella. h

Each recipe is very simple and easy to follow and can easily be adjusted depending on what is available. My favorite pizza style is currently grilled. Having a pizza stone is a huge benefit, as it raises the level of heat in your oven or on your grill. The higher the heat, the better. Each 4 oz. ball of dough should take about 7-10 minutes to cook, depending on your oven heat.

Post your favorite pizza recipe or technique below. Or just your favorite pizza topping! And make sure to try and get to Osteria and check out the different toppings they have, soon!

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