Audra Lowe: They had a restaurant tour in next Iron Chef Judge Donatella Arpaia’s at it again. Her newest restaurant is a sexy take on pizza yeah we met up with Donatella at her new big apple hot spot and got all the delicious details.
Donatella Arpaia: It’s like a dream come true. This is my first restaurant that bares my name and it has been in my mind since my childhood. It’s a Neapolitan Pizzaria and Restaurant so there’s also authentic food from Naples and very personal project to me. My father was born in Naples and it’s a tribute to him.
I think it reflects my style which is I’m always, I always have one foot in the past and one foot in the future. Now grew up on the farms in Italy but I’m still in New York glam girl so I kind of like to combine both.
Audra Lowe: At the center of the new Donatella is custom built wood fire pizza oven.
Donatella Arpaia: Isn’t it fantastic? I blinged it out. As spectacular as it is on the outside its what’s on the inside that’s really special all the stone, rock, sand was imported from Naples, the only oven like this in the country.
I always get excited when I see a chef finding their voice.
Audra Lowe: As of opening a restaurant wasn’t enough work our pie is back in the judges chair for the current season of the next iron Chef on the Food Network.
Donatella Arpaia: This is my third season so its been great to see the progression from year to year. The stakes are even higher than ever. The chairman takes them through so many trials and tribulations because at the end of the day it’s not enough to be a great chef. You have to be a great chef that can win in kitchen stadium which his under time constraints in front of a camera and you have to be innovative. You have to have a mastery of technique and you have to be a worrier because you have to have the mental toughness to compete week after week and to win.
I couldn’t do it. I can judge it but I couldn’t do it.
Audra Lowe: But she does make a mean pizza.
Donatella Arpaia: So if you don’t have a custom gold hand built oven you could still make pizza at home. One of my favorite recipes which is in my book Donatella Cooks Simple Food Made Glamorous is a recipe with a combination that I love. It’s very simple ravioli cheese, pepper oil, salt, pepper and arugula.
You can by pizza dough in whole foods. You can go to local pizzeria. There are very nice they’ll often give it to you for like a dollar. Get parchment paper and the sheet pan, very, very easy. Dust it. We’re going to roll out the dough on the paper.
—on to the bacon sheet. You preheated your oven for 30 minutes at 500 degrees and you’re going to put it on the lower rack. I use the parchment paper because it makes it nice and easy to slide on and off and we’re going to take serrated bread knife and slice it like you would a sandwich. Okay, so easy you want 10 ounces of ravioli cheese rind removed nice and soft. Freshly ground salt I prefer sea salt.
Home cook is often cheap with the salt and pepper, don’t be so cheap with it. My truffle oil which you can find in most gourmet stores now. Fresh arugula I prefer the spicier small baby kind called rocket. You cover it and you put it in the oven for about 1 more minute and we’re done. Let’s drizzle a little truffle oil on top just for fun. Best pizza you’ll ever make so much better than those frozen kinds you’ll find in the freezer section. With a little imagination honestly, your guest will rave.
Audra Lowe: Yeah a piece of that is really good but I think anything with truffle oil good. You can catch the next iron chef Sundays at 9 p.m. on the Food Network.