Pizza Today - January 2021 - 41

Insight: This is truly where the rubber
hits the road for any restaurateur. Insight
takes all the imagination and inspiration
and binds it with facts, details, history, and
your reality to make a transformation of
thought. I find that pizza schools, mentors, other competitors and even customers
who say, " Have you ever thought about... "
offer the best insight into creating the most
insightful pizzas around.

Fourth Eye Blind
Insanity: Over 20 years, I have gone " all
in " on some insane pizzas. I like to describe
them as " Disgustalicious " , and they tend
to be highly marketable (especially late
at night.) I usually send them to some
prestigious chefs nearby to get testimonials
like, " This pizza is WRONG on every level! "
And " It's a heart attack in a box! "
Bride of Wonderboy: Based on the Jack
Black song, this monster has a hot dog and
mustard stuffed crust, mac and cheese sauce,
mozzarella, provolone, bacon, beef, tomatoes, pickles, onions, oven-ready French fries
on top and a generous squeeze of ketchup
across the top after the oven bake.
Death Pickle for Cutie: This great band
visited us for a festival, and we were ready.
Béchamel cream, Asiago, cheddar and provolone cheeses with tons of dill pickles and
topped with oven-ready French Fries and a
heavy topping of ranch dressing.
The Meat Romney: This lunatic-fringe
pizza dominated during the elections. TWO
pounds of local sausage made into a 12-inch
disc was par-cooked and frozen. When the
customer called in and " voted, " by referring to this pizza as a " Meat Romney " or a
" Barack Obameat. " We would then cook it
with our marinara, mozzarella and topped
with wall-to-wall pepperoni. We tallied the
votes at the end and had a cool election.

Strip Club
If you strip everything down to the bare
bones in a pizzeria, it all comes down to
base, sauce, cheese and toppings. These
elements can be manipulated in millions of
ways to capture a customer's attention. Here
are a few things you can do to stand out in a
small town.
The Base: A crust can be manipulated
ANY WAY YOU WANT. Whole grain
crusts, 00 flour, thin crusts, thick Sicilianstyle crusts, Detroit-style crusts, " Grandma "
crusts, Long Pizza al Metro crusts, Spanish
Coca-style crusts, Calzone, Stromboli,

Cheese bread, Thin Arabic Manoushe,
French Pissalidiere, Knotted crusts, Crusty
Garlic knots, Topping-filled dough, Brioche
and Semolina all can turn customers into
fanatics.
The Sauce is the Boss: Adding sauces
to any pizza is both easy and can radically
transform a boring pizza into a winner. Pestos, chili-spiced Sauce, cheese with cream
sauce, chunky tomato sauce, sauce on top
of cheese, dipping sauces, Asian-inspired
sauces, Teriyaki, BBQ sauce, fruit-based
sauces, mustard sauces and vegetable purees
can make for fabulous pizza products.
Cheeses: Even though some cheeses may
be expensive does not mean you have to use
a lot. For example, a few slices of French
Brie after the oven can draw sales. The taste
of an aged Gouda or Asiago is masterful on
a cream sauce. Gorgonzola, Blue, Stilton,
Feta, Chevre, Gruyere, Monterey Jack,
Kashkaval, Havarti, Halloumi, Manchego,
Pecorino, Teleggio and even Vegan cheeses
all add outstanding flavor value to a pie.
Toppings: Usually the first word to
describe a pizza is the topping, so here is
where quality counts. If you use the same
toppings as your corporate competitor, you
have lost the chance at beating them with
quality and flavor. Local chicken, ground
beef, sausage and ham set you apart from
any corporate nugg. Local ranchers and
butchers all have ham and bacon ends.
(Butchers cannot afford the labor or danger
in cutting the last pieces of bacon and ham.)
They always sell these cuts cheaply. When
you buy locally, you bring in whole farming
families into your orbit. They will always be
on your side.

SPINACH ARTICHOKE PIZZA
We have had these two ingredients on
our menu since opening 20 years ago.
This is a very popular pizza and is sometimes described by my staff to customers
as " spinach-artichoke dip on acid. " The
marinated artichoke halves are both sweet,
acidic and garlicy - and look beautiful on
each slice. And the tomato garnish finishes
off this pie well.
For the artichoke marinade:
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 1 ½ lemon, (1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano

½ tablespoon salt
1 ½ tablespoon sugar
12 whole artichokes cut in half, (approximate 19 ounces)
Mix all liquid ingredients in a bowl until
the salt and sugar has liquefied and all the
ingredients emulsify. The mix should exemplify a nice vinaigrette. Adjust to taste.
Add the artichoke halves to the
vinaigrette and toss very gently so the
artichokes do not fall apart. Reserve in the
refrigerator.
For the pizza:
½ cup, (3 ounces) red onion, chopped
1 proprietary 19-ounce large dough ball
¾ cup packed fresh spinach leaf
1 ½ cup frozen IQF spinach, thawed
and squeezed of water. (Combined
spinach should total approximately 1
pound)
5 tablespoons whole milk ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons Parmigiano
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 whole artichokes cut in quarters
½ cup proprietary béchamel sauce,
(Alfredo sauce)
1 ½ cups proprietary cheese blend, (6
ounces)
In a large bowl mix both types of spinach
with the ricotta, Parmigiano and salt. When
incorporated, gently fold in the quartered
artichokes.
Push out the large dough into a disc and
squeeze or brush the béchamel on the
dough. Add the cheese blend on top of
the sauce.
Using your fingers, press the spinach
mix on the pizza. It is up to you to make
this mix thick or thin.
After the spinach mix is evenly placed
on the pizza, place the pizza in a 475500 F oven and bake for 9-12 minutes.
Remember, this pizza is more like a pie so
check the middle of the pizza for doneness
frequently.
When the pizza is golden brown and
baked through, pull from the oven and
place fresh sliced or diced tomatoes in the
center for a bulls eye garnish. n

JOHN GUTEKANST owns Avalanche
Pizza in Athens, Ohio.
J A N UA R Y 2 0 2 1 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / 4 1

040_PIZ_0121_IKartichoke.indd 41

12/14/20 2:36 PM


http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Pizza Today - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - January 2021

Pizza Today - January 2021
Commentary
Digital
Conversation
Mike’s Monthly Tip
Man on the Street
Building Blocks
Tony’s Trending Recipe
Knead to Know
Destinations
Business Forecasting
Cleaning Protocols
Studying the Numbers
Lasagna
Small Market Menus
Chicken Pizzas
COVID-19 Mental Fatigue
New Year’s Business Resolutions
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - January 2021 - CT1
Pizza Today - January 2021 - CT2
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Pizza Today - January 2021
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Cover2
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Commentary
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 4
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 5
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 6
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 7
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Digital
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 9
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Conversation
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 11
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 13
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 15
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Building Blocks
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 17
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Tony’s Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 19
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 21
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 22
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 23
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Destinations
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 25
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Business Forecasting
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 27
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 28
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 29
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Cleaning Protocols
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 31
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 32
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 33
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Studying the Numbers
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 35
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 36
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 37
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Lasagna
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 39
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Small Market Menus
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 41
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Chicken Pizzas
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 43
Pizza Today - January 2021 - COVID-19 Mental Fatigue
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 45
Pizza Today - January 2021 - New Year’s Business Resolutions
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 47
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 48
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 49
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 51
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 53
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 54
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 55
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 56
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 57
Pizza Today - January 2021 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 59
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 60
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 61
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 62
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 63
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 64
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - January 2021 - 66
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Cover3
Pizza Today - January 2021 - Cover4
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