3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Pizzas and Italian comfort food,
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This review is from: Pizza Pilgrims: Recipes from the Backstreets of Italy (Hardcover)
Having frequently eaten from the Pizza Pilgrims' van in Berwick Street and already a regular at their restaurant in Dean Street, this is one book which I was looking forward to.
Thom and James' built the Pizza Pilgrims' reputation by serving freshly-made, piping hot, Neapolitan style pizza from the back of a van to lunchtime crowds in London.
For those already familiar with the Neapolitan pizza tradition, especially its chewy cornicione (crust), this book provides all the essential information from how to construct a garden pizza oven through to the correct flour and best choice of tomatoes. For Neapolitan pizza novices, the information is practical without being overly reverent, and with sufficient direction that a good finished product should still be attainable.
When it comes to toppings, the book includes 12 recipes, which is not only 10 more than Da Michele in Naples serves, but is actually a wider range than that served in Pizza Pilgrims' Dean Street restaurant. Without listing them all here, suffice it to say that the book includes both a classic Margarita and their signature Nduja.
The book also contains includes several other uses for pizza dough, such as savoury calzone, saltimbocca and their delicious Nutella and Ricotta calzone. The latter is essentially the same dish, albeit in a different shape, to the "Nutella pizza" presently on the dessert menu at Pizza Pilgrims' restaurant.
Venturing beyond pizza into the wider realm of Italian comfort food, the recipes are divided into street food and snacks, starters, mains, puddings and drinks. There are recipes for basics such as gnocchi, pasta dough and pesto. A small omission from their bistecca alla Fiorentina recipe is that it doesn't mention that the uncooked steak should always be at least 1" thick. Particularly Neapolitan treats include crunchy outside, tender inside supplì and sfogliatelle. Their sfogliatelle recipe is for a lemon cream filling, but Nutella is an equally delicious - and authentically Italian - alternative.
Interspersed amongst the recipes are pages giving some of the Pizza Pilgrims' back-story, commentary on key Italian ingredients such as olive oil and polenta and an explanation of some of the differences between Neapolitan and Roman pizza.
Overall, this is an excellent book which captures both the spirit and the flavours which have made Pizza Pilgrims such a success.