Brooklyn's own Anthony Marsillo from Gino's and Lenny Kern from L&B Spumoni teach Steve How to Make their classic pizzas.
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How to Make Classic Pizza
Steve: What happens when you combine dough, tomato sauce, and cheese in a hot oven? You get a recipe for disaster to my waistline. I’m talking about pizza. I’m Steve Schirripa and I’m hungry.
Today we’re talking about pizza and how easy it is to make, round, square, pepperoni, sausage, vegetarian, how do you like your pizza? Let’s take the streets and find out.
Now, do you like pizza?
Steve: What kind of pizza do you like?
Female: I like --
Steve: With caviar on it? Truffle pizza? What kind of Italian food do you like best.
Female: The hamburger.
Steve: The hamburger.
Female: It’s okay.
Steve: The Italian hamburger. They don’t have that in Spain.
Female: I know but in the Italian, the pizza.
Steve: Does she like pizza?
Female: Pizza guys.
Steve: Margarita pizza. Italian food is international. This is our proof right here. Well, what kinds of pizza do you like, thin or thick?
Steve: It’s get a little latitude. You got a busy work or some of that. Are you okay? Talk to Uncle Steve
Steve: Okay, and do you like pizza?
Male: Oh, I like the old school type of pizza.
Steve: Yes, like the regular pizza parlor.
Male: Yes, you know they got a pizza up in here and all those --
Steve: You kind of like that stuff?
Male: Yes but we don’t do it anymore. I think they get lazy with that.
Steve: Yes, I know. They just kind of put it in and the machine does it.
No matter how you slice it, pizza didn’t begin with the Italians but with the early Greeks. They baked large round flat bread which they covered with olive oil, onions and garlic. This flatbread spread around the Mediterranean, and finely made it to Italy where it was called pizza bread. At first there were no tomatoes on pizza for two reasons. One, the tomato didn’t arrived in Europe until the 1500’s after it was discovered in America and two, people thought tomatoes were poisonous and for good reason.
Rich people ate of dishes made from puda, the action in tomatoes cause lead into puda to leech in to their food, giving them lead poisoning and killing them. Right there that would put a crimp in tomato sales. But poor people specially the Italians who are in Naples had dishes made of wood. So when they ate tomatoes often they didn’t get anything but a full belly. Here in America the best pizza is in New York and in New York the best is in Brooklyn.
Hello, I’m her with Anthony and Vinny at Gino’s Restaurant at Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It’s a pizzeria tiny restaurant, great place since 1964, your father and uncle started it.
Steve: So you make your pizzas the same way since then?
Anthony: Same way, same recipes.
Steve: Same recipe?
Steve: Well, what are some of the pizzas that we could get here?
Male: We got Arugula pizza, Ferragamo pizza then make a fresh mozzarella.
Steve: If somebody comes in they go, “Hey Vinny. I want a pineapple and ham pizza. What do you say?
Vinny: Oh, I’ll make.
Steve: Oh, you’ll make it?
Vinny: Yes, I’m going to.
Steve: Oh, if somebody orders you’ll make.
Anthony: Oh where are you getting the pineapple from?
Vinny: They buy.
Steve: So you’ll make whatever they want.
Steve: How was this different, your pizza here than when you say in a chain store, you know these chains that everyone orders that they advertise. How is it different?
Anthony: Most of our ingredients, we use fresh and greens and we use top quality cheese.
Steve: And you think — and some of those they don’t?
Anthony: None, I think they don’t.
Steve: Okay. And so the restaurant expanded 1964 and your uncle and your father in expanding, you’ve been working here since —
Anthony: I’ve been here since about 1992.
Steve: So you came in as a kid. You started making—the first thing you learned how to make was pizza?
Anthony: No, not. We’re back through the kitchen.
Steve: Oh really. So the pizza doesn’t —
Anthony: It’s what I did but I know when I own — but I never got really into it?
Steve: And how long have you been making pizzas?
Vinny: About 20 years.
Steve: 20 years and what do you do before that?
Steve: Oh, you were a cook. Now you move upfront—but you like here because you sing. Let me hear you sing a little.
Vinny: [Foreign language]
Steve: Come on, let me hear you sing. No whatever, you sing what ever you want.
Vinny: [Singing in Foreign Language]
Steve: Where else are you going to get this, than in Brooklyn huh. Do you ever give a free pizza? You say give me a kiss. I’ll give you a free pizza?
Steve: You never done that?
Anthony: Come on.
Vinny: Maybe once in a while.
Steve: Alright, what are we going to make today? Who will show me how to make a pizza?
Vinny: Well, I’ll make a pizza, eat all you want.
Steve: Alright, you’re going to make a pizza. He’s going to go in the kitchen yeah and he’s going to make a pizza.
Anthony: I’m going to go, okay you take a look.
Steve: Okay, so Vinny what kind of pizza we’re making today?
Vinny: This will make a nice Focaccia.
Steve: Focaccia, alright. What does Focaccia mean?
Vinny: Focaccia is nice. It’s a bird, right?
Steve: A bird?
Steve: Focaccia means bird?
Steve: Oh, really? Alright, let’s make this bird pizza. Alright, so what do you got, nice —
Vinny: Nice, fresh, cherry tomatoes.
Steve: It’s fresh cherry tomatoes. And what is that in oil, they’re already —
Vinny: Oil, oregano, parsley, and what we call basilico, and the rosemary.
Steve: Okay, so we got some rosemary, we got some oil, parsley, garlic, salt pepper, all ready. Okay.
Alright, so we got that, there’s no cheese on this, right?
Steve: No cheese.
Vinny: No cheese at all.
Steve: Alright, so we got a nice dough, you’re ready to lay that all out. And now what are you putting on at.
Vinny: That’s the basilico.
Steve: Basilico. Fresh basilico.
Vinny: And then we put the rosemary, virgin olive oil for that.
Steve: This is a good pizza for people that are lactose intolerant.
Vinny: And then you put some grated cheese.
Steve: Grated cheese on the top. So you just snap on it.
Steve: So put a little cheese on this. So there we go.
Vinny: That’s it.
Steve: That’s it, very simple. This is American stuff. Do they make this in L.A. like that?
Vinny: Because they’re an Italian name, I never make over there, different way maybe.
Steve: Different way, maybe they do. How about singing while you make, come on.
Vinny: Okay [Singing in Foreign language]
Steve: So you got entertainment here also. So how long do you put Focaccia bread in there?
Vinny: It takes about 20 minutes.
Steve: 15 to 20 minutes, we got for Focaccia. Here we go.
Vinny: There you go.
Steve: Oh yeah, very nice. Wow that smells—very good. Vinny it smells like a Christmas tree. I love to wake up to this on Christmas morning. You know that?
Vinny: Yeah, why not.
Steve: There you go. Alright, now not show me how to make a regular traditional pizza.
Alright, Vinny show me how to make a regular pizza.
Vinny: First, you put some flour.
Steve: Alright, you put some flour down first.
Vinny: So you see that round.
Steve: Now, what are you doing? You knead it like that.
Steve: For how long?
Vinny: A couple of minutes.
Steve: A couple of minutes. Alright and how come you hit it like that?
Vinny: Because every time you there’s small bubble over here.
Steve: Oh, you got to break the bubble.
Vinny: Yeah, that’s it.
Steve: Will you throw that up in the air?
Vinny: You slowly flatten over here, do like this. And why not
Steve: Yes, but it’s hard to learn that.
Vinny: You have to learn it —
Steve: Yeah that’s it but it’s hard to make that, right? There you go. Alright.
Vinny: Then you put them over here and —
Steve: Put it on the pizza board. You spread it out.
Vinny: Then you put some pizza sauce. That’s pizza sauce.
Steve: Pizza sauce. Now, did you make this early, while you’re in the day?
Steve: You make it in the morning?
Vinny: We make it in the morning.
Steve: Fresh tomatoes.
Vinny: Fresh tomatoes.
Steve: Fresh tomatoes, you crushed your tomatoes without —
Vinny: No, this pizza sauce you make it in process.
Steve: Take it easy, I’m just asking you a question. You make it every morning.
Vinny: Yes every morning.
Steve: Alright, nice sauce.
Vinny: Nice sauce. And then put on some cheese.
Steve: Cheese, mozzarella, that’s fresh —
Vinny: No. Freshly grated cheese, Romano
Steve: Parmigiano-Romano, okay
Vinny: Yes. Then you put mozzarella.
Steve: Let’s just put mozzarella fresh.
Vinny: Everything is fresh.
Steve: So we put the pizza in for how long?
Vinny: For about 10 minutes.
Steve: 10 minutes and how hot is that oven? 500 degrees?
Steve: 500 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Steve: That’s it, alright.
Ready for that Vinny. Oh, that’s nice. Just look at that.
Steve: That is nice. So this was 10 minutes on 500.
Vinny: That’s it.
Steve: Did you burn the bottom?
Steve: That’s beautiful. You never burn a pizza, right?
Vinny: Yeah, once in a while.
Steve: Once in a while. Let me get — give me a cut for this one.
Vinny: Once in a while I burn.
Steve: You do, once in a blue moon. Alright, we all make mistakes.
Steve: Let’s cut it out, I’m dying for a slice of it, very nice. They cut it eight—into eights right.
Vinny: Eight pieces.
Steve: Unless you have giant slices.
Vinny: Okay, you choose which one you want.
Steve: Why not, this is good one. Very nice. Alright, here we are. Here you go, beautiful.
Vinny: Thank you.
Steve: From Gino’s in Brooklyn, great pizza.
Vinny: Take it easy.
Steve: Gino’s makes great well pizza. But if you like your pizza square like I do, I got just the place.
Okay, so I’m here with Spumoni Garden in Benson Hurst, Brooklyn, my favorite, favorite pizza in the entire world is right here in Spumoni Garden. I’ve been eating it since I’m two years old, Louis Barbatti is the owner. His grandfather started this place. How long have you been working in Spumoni Garden?
Louis: 49 years, I was three years old.
Steve: You started working at three years.
Louis: That’s right.
Steve: What did you do?
Louis: Walking around looking at everybody’s chops.
Steve: Is that what you did?
Louis: That’s what I did, that was my beginning job.
Steve: Now, your grandfather started this place. Tell me, the history of Spumoni Garden.
Louis: The spumoni itself was the start of the business and then we kind of grew from there.
Steve: So let me ask you, for people that don’t know, what exactly is Spumoni?
Louis: It’s a low fat kind of milk sherbets Italian ice cream.
Steve: And you make this from scratch.
Louis: We make it from scratch.
Steve: And you have different flavors of it.
Louis: Yes, pistachio, choco in the middle.
Steve: And the big —
Louis: And some chopped diamonds in there.
Steve: And the big seller is the pistachio.
Louis: It’s this but always the rainbow, everybody.
Louis: They like that old mix, yes.
Steve: So — and that’s your specialty.
Louis: That’s it.
Steve: That’s specially and that's in the pizza really as you think.
Louis: That’s it, you got it.
Steve: What makes your pizza and like I said once again, this is my favorite pizza in the world. What makes it so good?
Louis: I say it’s the style that we had and it’s a very light and airy and the sauce is very fresh.
Steve: Now is this recipe from your grandfather?
Louis: No, actually my uncle did this.
Steve: Your uncle did the pizza?
Steve: And no one makes pizza like this?
Louis: Not really, no.
Steve: People who’ve tried?
Louis: Tried and make their stuff but they can’t seem to —
Steve: It’s a thicker slice pizza but a lot of times you go pizzas kind of heavy — you know —
Louis: Very light, as you know.
Steve: Three or four, five. There’s no better pizza. Listen to me, you’re home watching a football game, your wife is not there, you’re in bed, five slices of anchovy pizza in your underwear, nobody around, that is — to me that is heaven.
Now, what kind of — let’s run through this. What kind of cheese have we got?
Louis: We got mozzarella, American Grande cheese.
Steve: This is mozzarella. It’s not —
Louis: Not a fresh mozzarella.
Steve: This is regular mozzarella.
Louis: Regular mozzarella.
Louis: You get whatever you want.
Steve: Whatever you want you can get it in an Italian deli and in the supermarket.
Louis: That’s correct. We sliced it. We cut these pieces in here.
Steve: And you have even sliced it thin though.
Louis: Right. That’s pretty thin. It’s not much of cheese pizza, it’s more of a dough pieces.
Steve: Yeah, it’s more about the dough.
Louis: It’s more about the dough and the sauce.
Steve: It’s more about the dough and the sauce. Okay, so you lay it out —
Louis: Lay them out like this.
Steve: We lay this out. We put each
Louis: Six pieces across here.
Steve: So each slice is going to have —
Louis: Each slice is going to get —
Steve: Each slice of pizza is going to have a piece to it.
Louis: That is correct.
Steve: Okay. Now —
Louis: Now we get the sauce. You’ll lay that on.
Steve: Now the sauce, do you make the sauce yourself?
Louis: Yes, we do.
Steve: You make the sauce from scratch, so, what’s in the sauce.
Louis: Spanish San Marzano tomatoes and what are the other tomatoes added? California tomatoes.
Steve: So it’s a mixture.
Louis: Salt, pepper, oregano.
Steve: Yes. Any special secret ingredients?
Louis: Yes. But we’re not going to tell you about it.
Steve: No, I didn’t expect that.
Louis: You’re not going to expect that.
Alright, so we spread it out.
Louis: Then we cover it out. Spread it around right through the edges.
Steve: Very nice, a lot of sauce. So let me ask you your father worked his ass off so you and your family, your brothers and sisters could be successful, as a kid he made you work a lot.
Louis: Yes. There was no playtime.
Steve: No playtime.
Louis: I had no summer time, forget about it.
Steve: Oh, like in Tony Manero, Disco Fever —
Louis: Everybody is at the Disco Fever and I was over here — I was rolling the spumoni at the back then.
Steve: Is your son, your son is going to take this over, who takes over?
Louis: I don’t know. We’ll see.
Steve: Who’s the next?—
Louis: Well we got a lot of nephews here.
Steve: And the younger kids, are they enjoying?
Louis: Yes, they are.
Steve: Okay, so we got our sauce.
Louis: We got our sauce.
Steve: Alright now what?
Louis: We’re going to get a little pecorino.
Steve: Grated cheese.
Louis: We’re going to sprinkle that stuff.
Steve: So this is a pretty simple.
Louis: Very simple.
Steve: I mean this is —
Louis: Maybe, honestly you can do this. And then we’re going to get some olive oil here on top.
Steve: And now, that would get the bottom oil in the bottom.
Louis: On the bottom of the pan, before you put your dough on there.
Steve: And that’s it.
Louis: That it.
Steve: Alright, Louis, So very simple, easy to make at home, very light. Alright, Now what? In the oven for how long?
Louis: 15 minutes.
Steve: 15 minutes,
Louis: And then we put it right here.
Steve: 600 degrees?
Steve: 650. That’s hot. And then you’re going to keep turning it.
Louis: Right, every five minutes or so, you come back and check underneath, you flip it around. We don’t want to burn the bottom.
Steve: So you just watch, you got to keep your eye on it or it’s going to burn the bottom.
Louis: You got it.
Steve: Alright, look, this is how it works. Like a work of art.
Louis: This is beautiful. Nobody wants to touch it.
Steve: So now, we’re going to cut to 18.
Louis: We’re going to cut, no—24. We do 24 so we cut it in half.
Louis: Now the middle.
Steve: It smells unbelievable and it’s very simple.
Louis: Very simple.
Steve: And it’s light. How many — what’s the most slices you have had?
Louis: About 14.
Steve: Really, I’m thinking seriously I had four or five.
Louis: Maybe six.
Steve: I say four or five is mine.
Louis: How about a spatula, Fredo? Give me a spatula. Thank you. All right, let’s go. We’re ready?
Louis: How about a dish?
Steve: Let me have, I like a corner.
Louis: Give him a corner.
Steve: I like the crust.
Louis: You don’t want the corner?
Steve: I like the corners.
Steve: See that, you see the thing here, you don’t even—
Louis: Look at the edge, it’s like light, you can’t even feel it. It’s four ounces.
Steve: You don’t even see the cheese underneath, right?
Louis: No you don’t actually, it’s almost like dissolve.
Steve: It’s almost like there’s no cheese on them. Let me here.
Louis: There we go.
Steve: I think it’s well. Spumoni Garden the best pizza in the world for Steve Shirripa’s Hungry, Louis my man thank you very much.
Louis: Thank you Steve. Very nice having you here.
Steve: Make it at home, come here to Spumoni Garden, it’s out of this world.
Louis: There we go. Thank you folks.
Steve: Hey, you got a room for some more? Watch all the other episodes of Steve Schirripa hungry and let me be your guide to Italian food and culture, from pizza to pasta, street food to cannoli and everything in between. You’ll learn how to make great Italian food at home from some of the world’s best chefs. Who knows, you can end up as well rounded as me.