Article featured image
Yum
Your daily dose of leafy greens in pizza format.

Dana Cowin is the longtime editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine, so you might think her kitchen skills are as strong as her editorial prowess. Take it from a self-professed dish-ruining home cook: sometimes you need a real chef to step in and show you the ropes. Cowin’s new book, Mastering My Mistakes In The Kitchen, was inspired by (and with help from) some of the country’s most beloved chefs, to bring your confidence up to your taste buds’ level.

Determined to make pizza, my family’s favorite food and the zeitgeist dish of the millenium, I elected to start the easy way, with premade dough. So when I stopped off at Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery in Boston and saw gorgeous balls of dough wrapped in plastic, I bought one. During the long train ride to New York, it expanded, until it looked like a gargantuan heirloom tomato with deep ridges and creases.

When I got the dough home, I set to making the pizza right away, flattening it and trying to push it with my fingers into a big circle. The dough refused to stretch. Assuming that something happened to it on the ride, I gave up and just baked the rectangular lump of dough with broccoli rabe and a mix of cheeses and crème fraîche on top. Though it wasn’t awful, it wasn’t good either.

To improve my luck the next time around, I consulted with Nancy Silverton, who makes some of my favorite pizza in America at Mozza in LA, and I discovered that the dough most likely wasn’t the problem after all. After the trip, it was rested and at room temperature, two important qualities for a pizza dough. I had given up too soon. Nancy told me I needed to work the dough into shape slowly, first tapping my fingers in the center of the dough, as if on piano keys, then draping the dough over my fists, moving them around like the hands of a clock, to enlarge the shape.

Reprinted with permission from Mastering My Mistakes In The Kitchen