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
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.
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.
Whoever figured out fennel and pork worked so well together deserves the accolade of every pizza chef who followed. For store bought sausage, remove casings and get ready to crumble.
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
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?
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.
Dressing It Up
Add the finishing touches to the outer crust: a drizzle of extra virgin olive old and a sprinkle of sea salt. It makes this pizza stellar from tip to crust. Top the rest of the pie with a thick pinch of fresh rosemary and you, sir, are ready to eat!