Slideshow: Top This: Pickled Jalapeños and Fennel Sausage (à la Osteria la Buca)

Perfection in Dollop Form
Perfection in Dollop Form
Fennel sausage, ricotta, garlic paste, pickled jalapeños and rosemary may sound like flavor overkill, but the harmony of these ingredients cannot be denied. This pizza hasn’t a single boring bite. Even the treatment of the crust guarantees that no bones will be left behind.
Giving Jalapeños the Old B&B Treatment
Giving Jalapeños the Old B&B Treatment
Toss whole jalapeños with salt. In a large pot, bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric and celery seeds to a simmer. After 5 minutes, add the salted jalapeños to simmering brine. Turn off heat—you don’t want to cook the peppers, just let them warm up. Allow the pot to cool on the stove. Once cool, transfer everything to an air tight container and refrigerate. Allow to brine for at least a day.
Milk Magic
Milk Magic
OK, maybe ricotta isn’t exactly magic, but it’s simple transformation—heavily covered by The Food Lab—is like magic. At Osteria la Buca, Chef Neroni uses 3 parts whole milk to 1 part heavy cream with critic acid. On the stove, he brings the concoction to 190 degrees for 10 minutes, let’s it cool for 2 hours, and then strains the cheese.
Work it!
Work it!
Jason Neroni’s dough of domestic "00" flour, water, yeast, and olive oil is made in large batches daily and cold fermented for 3 days. The rested dough is worked with a sprinkle of AP flour and the marble work surface is dusted with fine semolina. Poking out a moat with your fingertips, form the cornicione and stretch the dough into a 12-inch round. Brush the entire bed with the garlic paste.
Putting Hard Work to Good Use
Putting Hard Work to Good Use
With your fingers, break up the sausage and ricotta into marble sized dollops and arrange them evenly on the crust. Finely chop the pickled jalapenos and sprinkle a hardy pinch over the pie (you can always add more when you’re done… I did!). Dust everything with the ground fennel seeds and prepare for the oven.
Is It Getting Hot in Here?
Is It Getting Hot in Here?
In Osteria la Buca’s oven, the pizza cooks for 2—2 1/2 minutes at 750°F. At home you can follow these firing instructions.