Posts Tagged ‘bresaola pizza’

House Cured Bresaola- Perfect for Pizza



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The Northern Italians in the Valtellina region of Lombardi have it good. They are lucky enough to imbibe in the foods that are reflective of the mountains around them which snake up though Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Austria. This area northeast of Milan is known for Pizzocheri, the wonderful buckwheat pasta dish, fresh fish from the deep lakes, its fine polenta dishes and Casera cheese but the most famous product that is traced back over 100 years ago is bresaola.  The small town of Chiavenna is ground zero for this dried beef because it offers a great, dry microclimate for air dying beef like bresaola and the smoked version, “Bresaola Affumicata.”

I’ve been familiar with bresaola for many years. At the Primavera restaurant at the Fairmont hotel in Chicago, my friend Chef Giovanni di Negris served bresaola atop thinly shaved fennel salad, lemon and Parmigiano Reggiano and in Boston, we made a Bresaola Condita served with lemon, oregano and egg. Both were great dishes but its very rare to see pizzas finished with this fine, air dried beef and I think it’s time to change that.

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I’ve found that curing meats like Bresaola, guanciale, lardo, speck and salami bring a more personal aspect to pizza making. I make pizza everyday and the simple act of knowing that I created the dough, sauce, cheese and toppings is what craftsmanship is all about. The time it takes to plan, forage, cure and dry meats creates a fantastic sense of anticipation, ownership and even love when I pull that hot pizza from the oven. My bresaola starts as a cut from the raw rump or top round and is enhanced with spices, wine, vinegar and citrus and time that creates a complex beefy flavor when dried and sliced thin atop a piping hot pizza.

This is my go to recipe for a great Bresaola which appeared in Pizza Today Magazine in February 2015. Because I am a Pizzeria owner, I just don’t have the time to cure and dry a larger cut of beef so I opt for smaller cuts which cuts the curing time down. You will need a curing cabinet to cure the meat. I’ve found a great one in any white wine cooler that can be had for 200 clams because it keeps a perfect temperature and if you put a bowl of salted water at the bottom, it produces enough moisture to not be too dry.


Two pound eye of round roast, trimmed of all fat

One cup white wine

One cup red wine

Four cloves diced garlic

One teaspoon powdered cinnamon

Two tablespoons whole black peppercorns

Zest from one orange and one lemon

Three bay leaves crumbled

One teaspoon ground cloves

Two teaspoons dried chili flakes

Five, four-inch stalks of rosemary, stripped and rough chopped

Five ounces course sea salt


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Place all ingredients in a heavy plastic bag and mix with your hand. Cut the eye of round lengthwise in half if you want. (I’ve found that this makes the meat area smaller and is only to expedite the cure.) Immerse the meat in the bag to marinate for seven days in the refrigerator or until the meat feels as if it has hardened.

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Remove from the marinade, rinse under cold water and wipe the meat dry let sit at room temperature for two hours to dry.

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Place in a double wrap of cheesecloth tied with kitchen twine.

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Hang the meat in a dry, airy place with a temperature of 55 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit to cure. A white wine cooler, (the best curing cabinets ever) is a great choice for this. Cure for two to three weeks for the meat to lose thirty percent of its bulk.

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Slice thin and serve as you would Prosciutto di Parma with Parmigiano Reggiano, lemon, apples, arugula or with just a splash of olive oil and pepper or you can make a miraculously delicious pizza like I did in the next posting. Until then… Semper Pie!



The Pizza Olympics in Italy, 2011


My “Schiacciata alla Lombardo,” highlighting the cheeses and food of the Lombary region placed 4th in the U.S.A. I slathered wonderful Bellweather Farms Crescenza on the whole thing, then topped in thirds (1) Gorgonzola Dolce, Gorgonzola Piccante, sliced pear, Bresaola (air dried beef) and arugula. (2) Teleggio, wild mushrooms and truffle oil. (3) Vallentina Casera cheese with pancetta fresca (fresh pork side, marinated with salt, herbs and balsamic) and braised raddichio. My dough consisted of a wild yeast 24 hour levain with 50 percent local spelt flour and a 16 hour cold-retarded biga, then mixed with a 50/50 mix of 14 percent protein flour and caputo tipo “00” flour to a 70 percent hydration.

World Pizza Champions

Not long ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to the pizza olympics, held in Salsomaggiore Italy. My team, The World Pizza Champions ruled the day with fantastic culinary scores as well as the silver and bronze medals in pizza acrobatics.


This fabulous pizza made by Tony Gemignani won “Best Pizza in the U.S.A.”  The”cornicione” (Korn-e-Chon-A) or end crust has a terrific open crumb and airy cells obtained by pre-ferments, the perfect amount of hydration, patience and a little pizza love. Tony named this “Pizza Fortura.”  It consisted of  100% organic 12-grain  flour from Central Milling with a 93 percent hydration, Anchor Steam starter, triple malted, La Quercia prosciutto, blackberry honey, Sierra Nevada mozzarella and white cheddar with arugula. 

The fabulous Tony Gemignani, owner of Tony’s Napolitana, Tony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Slice House, Pizza Rock in Sacramento and Pysano’s Pizza in Castro Valley  won “Best Pizza in the U.S.A.” for his score in the Pizza Classico category (damn- I came in second.) Tony also rocked the “Pizza Teglia” category, coming in 4th in the World followed by Bruno di Fabio who finished 8th in the World. Bruno has just opened “Re Napoli” to rave reviews in Greenwich CT.  and is opening a spectacular pizzeria called “900” in the East Village, Manhattan. (These guys are on FIRE!)

Here are the sights of the competition.


Eric Corbin, Pat Miller and Jay Shuurman exploded with great tricks in the Freestyle Acrobatics and Largest Dough Stretch.


    Some great pizzas were made in the Teglia, or pan pizza category where alot of Italians let them rest for over 10 minutes. 


Tony and Bruno saying, “If we gave you 1000 Euro, would you make sure the judges give that goon from Ohio a lower score?”


                     Lotsa French Chefs showed up this year. Here a chef creates a red Mullet pizza with spring vegetables.


Pat Miller, Owner of A Slice of New York in Columbus Ohio was spectacular in all events but really shined in largest dough stretch.


Contestants from all over the world competed in “The Fastest,” or pulling 5 small doughs out onto 12 inch screens in record time.


                               The Japanese team scored third place in the team acrobatics. Here they are with Miss Italy.


Three pizza legends; Tony Gemignani, Antonio Manzi (He won first place, freestyle acrobatics) and Bruno di Fabio.


                                                                               Did I mention the French were there?


                                                                                  Eric Corbin helping a nice old geezer cross the street.


                                                                                          Presentation to the judges is everything.


                                            The non-gluten category was held in a seperate area and featured some great pizzas also.


                                                                                                     The World Pizza Champions.


              Nancy Puglisi, (center) herself a master at the pizza business, acted as our interpreter, coach and friend.


This pizza place forth in the world in “Pizza in Teglia” or pan pizza and was made by (who else) Tony Gemignani. It is called the “Pancetta Porcini” using a 72 hour maturation with a poolish, porcini marsala cream sauce, wild mushrooms, smoked pancetta, smoked scarmoza, truffle oil, sea salt, roasted red peppers, fresh thyme, and mache.



Jay Shuurman, Eric Corbin and Alberto Pavolo shared the stage in victory for thier freestyle actobatic dough tossing.


                                                                 Here is Tony Gemignani picking up his trophy for Best Pizza in the U.S.A.     


This was an exciting and exhausting trip, these guys are some of the best and most dedicated pizza people on the planet and it was an honor to accompany them. Next year, even though they are my friends, I will crush them with a stellar pizza and win Best Pizza in the World because, like Bruno says “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometime.”

Semper Pie!

the goon

( I’ve had some problems attaching videos to posts but hope that soon I can show them to you.)