I have an infatuation for Pizzeria Paradiso. It was an awakening to what pizza could be, 25 years ago, in DC. Since then, there are many new entrants that make similarly exceptionally great pizza, but this is the first one in DC that did artisanal pizza, stepping away from New York style, or overly cheese and sauce concoction of my childhood.
The originator of this place was (and is) Ruth Gresser, also the author of this great book on pizza. I ordered it through Amazon a week back. We are in the process of putting the book to use, but already, I found an answer to many of Paradiso mysteries:
How Can I Make That Sauce? It isn’t quite a sauce, but some melange of tomato goodness, very simple, both a topping and a sauce. It is in the book as the Winter Tomato Sauce, and is actually an uncooked sauce.
What is the Paradiso Pizza Crust? There are never any pizza bones left, after a trip to Paradiso. They always have a bottle of extra virgin olive oil at the table, and kosher salt. The book covers how to make this wonderful crust. A surprisingly simple recipe, but with some real tricks, such as measuring flour by weight and not volume.
What Cheese Mix is Used? I always expected it, but yes, pure Fiore Di Latte (fresh) mozzarella only.
And the book goes on to how to approximate cooking pizza at home, and not one their wood fired Wood-Stone branded ovens. Gresser is very generous with her advice, and I finally know exactly how to make my favorite, the Atomico! Don’t worry, I’ll still go to the restaurant, but hopefully what I make at home comes close. You’ll have to buy the book to get the secrets, but they are in there!