Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pizza Making Class @ Graffiato

Did you know October is National Pizza Month? In its honor, I took a pizza making class at Graffiato led by Chef de Cuisine, Jose Adorno.  Classes were offered every Sunday this month and my dear friend, Lucinda, was in town so I thought this would be a perfect way to spend the night and catch up with her.  Plus, she and her husband are big Mike Isabella fans, so she was just as thrilled to dine here. 

The "class" is comprised of 12 guests who sit all along the bar/pass right in front of the pizza oven.  Chef Jose demonstrated the finer points of the pizza making process, starting with tricks for their dough and then quick tips for how to top and then cook your pizza.  Lucinda and I sipped on Prosecco as we listened in and watched Chef Jose.

Chef Jose demonstrating the dough technique.
Pie building station.
Though it was not really a hands-on make-your-own-pizza type of class, it was still very informative and somewhat interactive by allowing us to see the yeast and play with the dough.  We learned their main trick is the use of old starter dough that has its own extra aged yeast in it.  This process is similar to how San Francisco makes its famous sourdough bread.  We all watched Chef Jose intently as he went through each step, took notes and asked questions, while enjoying a four course dinner.

We started with a Caesar Salad with shredded beets and cream cheese croutons.  What was that?! - yes, you read it correctly - cream.cheese.croutons.  These little sinful bites are simply cubes of frozen cream cheese, tossed in corn starch and then deep fried to give a wonderful crunchy crouton with a creamy inside.  The tang perfectly complimented the salad. 

Next, we ate a seasonal and beautiful Cream of Cauliflower Soup with diced green apple and chive oil.  The apple complimented the sweet cream of the soup, and overall this dish was just lovely. Chef Jose explained the soup is very easy to make at home and a great way to sneak in extra vegetables.

Each pair in the class got to choose a pizza to share, and Lucinda and I chose the White House topped with mozzarella, taleggio, ricotta, prosciutto, and finished with black pepper honey.  The "sauce" on this pie is simply the swirl of creamy ricotta.  Cheese lovers will love this pizza, and the honey drizzle added a nice balance of sweetness to the cheese and salty prosciutto. Oh, let's not forget the crust - it was perfectly chewy and lightly charred from the pizza oven.

Lastly, though we were pretty stuffed, we finished with a dessert of Zeppole served with Bavarian cream and strawberries.  What's not to love about fried dough covered in powdered sugar? I miraculously managed to scarf down my half, while Lucinda called "uncle!" pretty early in.

All in all we had a great time at this Graffiato pizza class.  The food was remarkable, and Chef Jose did his best, despite being down a man in the kitchen, which caused him to be pulled away at times to help cover orders.  This was a little distracting for us, but understandable. 

We also each received a pizza kit to take home and apply what we had learned.  I used the ingredients in my kits, plus added a few extra vegetables that we had already to make pizza with Keith the following night.  We used the Porky's Revenge (sopressata, pepperoni, sausage, mozzarella) kit and added green peppers.  We also used the American Pie (mozzarella, tomato, basil) kit and added mushrooms and ricotta.  Since we do not have a fancy wood-fire pizza oven, our dough did not come out as fluffy and charred, but still had great texture and flavor.  Graffiato offers four styles of these signature take-home pizza kits - place your order to 202-289-3600 by 10pm the day before pick-up, and get ready to bake. Pizza kits will be ready for pick-up beginning at 11:30am.

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