Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kitchen Klutz: Mama mia! Who let the Klutz make the pie?

Photo by Ted Levin

By Michèle De Meglio

What was I thinking?

I hate hot ovens, I don’t like spilling food on my clothes and I can’t stand when hats mess up my hair!

Picture this — I, the Kitchen Klutz, am wearing a puffy chef’s hat (which is totally falling off my head and flattening my hair) and am about to make a pizza — from scratch! And I’m doing it in a real pizzeria. That means my baby forearms are going into a giant pizza oven. Somebody help!

So there I was, standing in Curioso Pizzeria and Ristorante at 227 Roebling Street in Williamsburg and ready (or not) for my pizza making lesson from Matt Mahler, the eatery’s owner and star pizza maker.

Matt was nice enough and patient enough even though we had to throw out three (count ’em — three!) balls of dough that I ripped with my nails. (Sorry again!)

Following Matt’s directions, I plopped the fourth dough ball on Curioso’s marble counter top, coated it with flour and stretched it into a giant circle. I’m making this sound easier than it was. And omitting the part when I lost steam and Matt took over.

Now, it was time for the main attraction — throwing the dough up in the air! As per Matt’s instructions, I balled my hands into fists and kept them in the corners of the dough. I threw that sucker as high as I could and caught it like a pro! Actually, it landed like a lump and nearly fell on the floor. Hey, I tried.

Demonstrating the proper technique, Matt sent the dough soaring into the air twice as high as I did and caught it perfectly and easily. (Note: Matt’s twice my height so I think I did okay on the dough-air-height meter.)

Adding insult to injury, flour from the high-flying dough coated my “Italian Princess” shirt and went in my eyes. Even worse, Curioso’s was packed with customers enjoying their pizzas and laughing at my silly Klutz show. Geez, it’s like high school all over again.

Back on the marble, I covered the dough with two scoops of Curioso’s sauce (smells so good!), handfuls of mozzarella cheese and mushrooms (only on half to appease my hungry photographer).

Matt and I slid a massive pizza peel under the pie and carried it to the 500-degree oven. Since I’m afraid of toaster ovens, you can imagine how terrified I was.

But in retrospect, that was nothing compared to when it was time to take the pizza out of the oven. As my hands shook, I inched the peel toward the pie, which was all the way in the back of the oven. I froze in fear so Matt had to push the peel under the rest of the pie. And he helped slide it out while I complained about the piping hot peel handle.

Verdict: Curioso’s pizza is awesome! The crust is crispy, the cheese is fresh and the sauce is sweet. A perfect pie all around!

Hop the L train to Curioso’s to try this pleasant pie for yourself. It’s just $2 for a slice and medium soda! Don’t worry — I’ve hung up my chef’s hat. Matt will be the one making your slice.

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.


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