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Pics of Pizza at Jon’s

February 26, 2019

When Jon sends a note asking if you want pizza, the only answer is, “Hell yeah!”

This, of course, happened on Friday when my in-laws were in town. And if they happen to read today’s post, they are going to learn my secret. Because while I was out running errands to pick up ingredients to cook for our family’s dinner, I also included a stop at Jon’s house.

In theory, I suppose you could call it a pre dinner snack. But I probably ate close to a full pizza during the time I was hanging out in his backyard as Jon fired pies in the wood fired pizza oven he built with his own two hands.

One is tempted to say that friends with pizza ovens are the best kinds of friends. But it’s not just the oven that Jon brings to the table. He’s a pizza obsessive, and that’s a very good thing indeed. From the dough. To the sauce. To the toppings. To the technique. Every step along the way is very well considered. Temperatures are taken. Ingredients are carefully sourced.

And on Friday, when he asked me what I wanted on my pie, I knew right away.

You see, the first time I ever had pizza at Jon’s, it was a few years ago and he was playing around with a few different topping builds. This was before the wood fired oven was constructed, and he was cooking on a modified propane powered rig.

One of the pies he made was the Rosa which was developed by Chris Bianco in Phoenix.

It was love at first bite. The pizza was just so different, so delicious, so complex, and yet incredibly subtle. It’s a simple combination of olive oil, parm-reg, pistachios, red onions, and rosemary.

There is no sauce, and it is phenomenal.

When I got to travel to Phoenix a trip to Pizzeria Bianco was a must, and the Rosa pie was one of the three we got for the table. It was delicious. And while Bianco is able to work a special kind of magic with the pizza crust in the Arizona desert, I have to say I preferred Jon’s balance of the toppings better.

Last Friday, on the way to Jon’s house, I had to swing by Whole Foods to pick up the rosemary, red onion, and parm-reg required for the pie. And that was no problem at all, because I did need to pick up ingredients for dinner too. Not to mention, I’ll go to any lengths necessary to get my hands on a version of the Rosa.

Jon’s pies keep getting better and better. Recently, he mentioned on his blog that in the excitement of all the cooking on Friday, there wasn’t time for photos. So I thought I would share a few of mine.

He also made this delightful number inspired by a contributor to the pizza forums. It has sausage, hot peppers, rum soaked cranberries, and is topped with a drizzle of hot honey. It’s memorable combination of sweet, heat, and meat.

Not appearing in photographs is the slice of pepperoni I took for the road, with its crisp curling edges, and pooling cups of spicy, savory rendered fat.

Let’s just say that when I made it home for dinner things were a little behind schedule, and I wasn’t hungry at all. But all the same, I banged out a roast chicken with string beans, and sat down with the rest of the family for a lovely Friday night meal.

My apologies to all concerned for my tardiness. But when Jon calls, I’m always going to come running. Diet be damned.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2019 11:37 am

    Beautiful. Those “hot peppers” are jarred jalapeños from the look of them, correct? Could I use hot cherry peppers for more of a Cap District thing? Also, were the cranberries the Thanksgiving dinner kind, or dried (“Craisins”) and then soaked to reconstitute?

  2. -R. permalink
    February 26, 2019 11:38 am

    Those look exquisite. Color me jealous.

  3. RogerK permalink
    February 26, 2019 12:58 pm

    Magnificent looking!!!

  4. February 26, 2019 1:00 pm

    Those were jarred jalapenos. I prefer thinly sliced fresh jalapeno but forgot to grab one. Cherry peppers would be an interesting twist. The cranberries were Trader Joe’s version of Craisin style dried cranberries rehydrated in the rum. (The rum used to rehydrate the cranberries is a nice post bake treat for the chef.)

  5. February 26, 2019 1:03 pm

    And thank you for the kind words (and photos), Profussor. I had a lot of fun making pizza Friday.

    • February 26, 2019 1:25 pm

      Whenever you need help eating pizza, you’ve got my number. I’m happy to bring Rosa toppings any time. Day or night.

      Thanks for keeping me in the loop. Glad I had some pics to share.

  6. Bob W. permalink
    February 26, 2019 1:36 pm

    Those look absolutely delicious — nice-looking pies, Jon.

  7. Bakes permalink
    February 26, 2019 3:37 pm

    Those pizzas look amazing – Jon, is the oven of your own design? Any links to pizza oven building that you would recommend?

    • February 26, 2019 7:19 pm

      The oven is I guess technically my design but it is truly a hybrid of 3 or 4 other oven builds. Based on the experience of building the oven, there are a bunch of things I would do differently, which I guess is why in oven building circles people say “my first oven” meaning there will be others…but this beast was at least 5 years of reading, planning and putting myself through little tests to see if I could build it and in the end, I still almost bought one. If I bought, it was going to be a Four Grande Mere from breadstoneovens.com. There are also smaller, ready to go ovens that are less permanent if you’d like to go that way before building. Pizza Party ovens from Italy are very popular at pizzamaking.com and they have an oven that can use propane or wood. I purchased some stone from the Pizza Party owner and the customer service was excellent. I’ll stop babbling…

      My oven build is mostly documented here in reverse order here, some of the hoops I made myself jump through are there too:
      https://joninalbanyblog.blogspot.com/search/label/wood%20fired%20oven

      The forum at Forno Bravo has a lot of information although the forum isn’t as active as it was 10 years ago. This is one of the oven builds that strongly influenced mine:

      http://brokebrick.com/genesoven.htm

      Use lots of insulation and don’t forget to insulate under the floor too. You can’t over do the insulation.

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