Archive for the ‘Pasta Recipes’ Category

Pizza al Filo (Pizza Napoletana with a twist…or two)


They say that variety is the spice of life. As owner of Avalanche Pizza for the past fifteen years I’ve surrounded myself with variety, (almost 60 toppings), forty specialty pizza, pizza oddities and combinations that no sane person would try. This definitely keeps us hopping but each day I still need something different to make my day complete. Call it a voice from the dark side or just a loose marble bouncing around this egg-shaped cranium of mine. Either way, it is an itch that has to be scratched.

chicken and waffle pizza

A few weeks ago, we had just rolled out our fabulous Chicken and Waffle Pizza to great applause from our pizza-loving fans. This pizza has it all; a béchamel cream, bacon, mozzarella, aged provolone, Belgium waffles and real fried chicken all baked at 500 loving degrees and then slathered with local maple syrup. It was on that same day that I was cleaning my pasta machine and decided to make the next little ditty.

After all, as John Cleese always says, “And now, for something completely different!

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I took a cold small dough ball, flattened and cut small strips, then sent it through my pasta machine thinking I would make a monkey-bread type of pizza. This would alleviate any bragging about cell structure or how high the cornicione got or the lack of gumline, just a cool pizza that had the mouth feel of a plate of pasta! The key to making this pizza was the temperature of the dough. Warm, proofed dough would never go through properly. This dough is about 60 percent hydrated and rolled out fabulously. I then put into an oiled ten inch pan to proof.

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I cooked the dough for nine minutes until it was just cooked through to the center. Then I flipped it over to reveal a wonderfully golden crust.

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Then I topped it with the traditionals: San Marzano tomatoes atop fresh basil and that arranged atop aged mozzarella instead of fresh, (to keep the pizza together). I then slathered the pie with Sicilian olive oil and Trapani sea salt.

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The pizza stayed together and was amazing with the strands popping here and there. It was quite the hit with my staff also who gobbled it all up in minutes except for the piece I had. As I bit into this wondrous slice, I realized that this was definitely one of the best pizzas I’ve ever tasted!

Junior Chefs School 2012

There is nothing more satisfying than cooking with kids, especially when you can show them that it’s okay to get your hands really sticky and “gross.”  That’s what happened a few days ago at the Athens Farmers Market, where chefs Joel Fair, Patty Nally and myself showed some really great chef kids how to make pasta from scratch.


We started with a simple 1 cups flour in a mound with a well in the center into which we cracked 2 eggs.


Junior Chefs School is an ongoing program managed by Kip Parker, the Athens Farmers Market Manager and all-around wonderful guy. It brings together local chefs with the youth of Athens to teach about local foods and how to manipulate them in delicious ways. It is one of the hundreds of “under the radar” programs that make Athens a food paradise!


We used put three pasta machines through the paces and made some fabulous fettucini.


  We made lots of pasta and even the teachers had fun…


We also made some great Agnolotto stuffed with  porcini and wild mushrooms with garlic and thyme. Double yum there!


The kids made some fabulous pasta and also learned some knife skills used on heirloom “Mr. Stipey” tomatoes.


All the while, the kids were looking at the bechemel sauce and of course, the meatballs I made with local lamb, beef and King Family Pork.


The pasta cooked fast and we had a combination of wheat pasta and local spelt pasta that were just waiting to jump into…


…a big bowl of tomatoes, basil…or meatballs and cream sauce.


What a great day. Thanks to all the junior chefs and Joel Fair, Patty Nally, Mr. Parker and Ms. Blazier for all thier hard work.