Source: Giovanni Cir. 1970’s
(Giovanni had his own Pizza ristorante in San Jose, CA)
Pizza a la Giovanni came about quite organically (literally!). I met Giovanni in 2009 at the organic vegetable stand that we frequent on Saturday’s. He was a nice older Italian man, with a heavy accent. Being from 100% Italian descent, I was interested to talk with him, learn where he came from, etc.
We scheduled a luncheon with him and my family at our ranch. He stated he was a retired pizza maker, and that he would make the pizza. Agreed….
Now, I’ve been making, or trying to make pizza for years. I was pretty happy with my results, but knew it wasn’t ‘restaurant’ quality at all. I struggled with inconsistent results. Hell, I believed I needed a special oven to achieve a good quality result. I was in for a huge shock and realized I had a lot of improvements to make to my recipe.
The image of perfection!
Giovanni’s pizza was sheer perfection. The dough was truly perfect! Thick, airy, light…wow!
As you know, I cook using 100% organic ingredients. Giovanni’s ingredients were not organic, and I felt perhaps that was also a difference with our successes. With his flour for example, they are enhanced with starters and fast rising elements that organic flour does not have. Just an excuse, and a bit of ignorance to my pizza making knowledge. It all boiled down to a few missing elements in my recipe. I now make pizza with confidence. My dough is perfect, the toppings are to my liking, and I never have a problem with the dough sticking to the pizza tray. It’s sheer perfection, just as Giovanni taught me.
When I hear the words, “It’s like Giovanni’s” – that is all I need to hear! Giovanni and the family continued our Pizza pleasure on a regular basis. He taught me a lot about food, wine making, vinegar making, making grappa, and just learning to enjoy food as a culture.
Pizza a la Giovanni
- 900 gr flour 7.5 cups
- 20 gr fresh yeast
- 1 – 2 medium potatoes cooked and mashed with skin off
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 – 2 cups water lukewarm & enough water until consistency is achieved
- Ingredients to make 2 large pizza’s Begin to boil 1 potato until soft and ready for mashing. Prepare the yeast with about 1 c. water (luke warm). Add yeast and water together, and let yeast dissolve and bind with the water.
- In a large bowl, add flour, salt,
- olive oil, and mashed potato.
- Add water-yeast mixture
- and combine
- now add the water and kneed
- until a nice supple ball is formed. This should take about 5-10 min. Cover and let rise, minimum 2 hours. (or put in a clean plastic bag and put in refrigerator)
- When dough is ready, cut in half, and on a floured surface, begin to form into a large flat circle. Use your fingers, not a rolling pin. Just begin to push from the center, and form a large round shape.
- When dough is the size of your pizza pan, place on pan.
- prepare your cheese
- Begin with olive oil on dough, then tomato paste,
- then sauce,
- and toppers.
- Bake @ 200ºC or 375ºF until pizza is brown and crusty. Now precut
- Usually 20-25 min. cut and serve.