When people think of California, a few things naturally come to mind—sun, surf and sand. But there is more to the Golden State than beaches and movie stars. From San Diego to San Francisco, California is home to some of the best pizzerias and pizza makers on the West Coast, and Leah Scurto is no exception. A longtime member of the U.S. Pizza Team (USPT), Scurto has represented the team in numerous national and international competitions. Scurto has accompanied the USPT to the World Pizza Championships in the past and recently won her third trip to Italy at the 2018 West Coast Pizza Cup with her rosemary-infused Grandma pie. Formerly of Pizza My Heart in the San Francisco Bay area, Scurto has begun her own adventure toward ownership. With a wealth of knowledge, dedication and pizza talent, this win will help her to create a new California pizzeria that will soon be on everyone’s pizza radar.
Scurto has some words of wisdom for first-time pizza competitors: “Have fun. Don’t get too stressed out over it. Make what you make in your restaurants. It’s just another day cooking pizza.”
The Rosemary Sicilian Grandma Pizza
25 oz. dough ball
15”x15” Allied Metal Grandma Pan
5 oz. Bianco DiNapoli crushed tomato sauce
3 oz. Galbani Whole Milk Mozzarella, shredded
2 oz. Toma cheese, shredded
1.5 oz. Galbani Mozzarella Block Cheese, cut into small cubes
3-4 oz. sautéed mushroom medley
2 oz. cup-and-char pepperoni
1 oz. pan-fried pepperoni
5 basil leaves, chiffonade
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to finish
281g high-gluten flour
120g bread flour
1.5g instant yeast
8g kosher salt
12g extra-virgin olive oil
2g dried rosemary
Soak the rosemary in the olive oil for 1 hour before making the dough. Cold-ferment the dough ball for 48 hours. Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator 1 hour before stretching.
Generously oil the metal pan. Place the dough ball in the middle of the pan and gently push the dough out evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour. Push the dough out one more time so it reaches the corners of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for an additional 90 minutes. Par-bake the dough at 500-525˚F for about 5 minutes or until the slightest browning occurs. Pull the par-baked dough out of the pan and place it on a rack to cool while prepping the rest of the pie.
5 cremini mushrooms
6 shiitake mushrooms
3 heads oyster mushrooms
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
1 large shallot, minced
Pinch of salt
Thinly slice the mushrooms. Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan and cook the shallot until it starts to turn translucent. Add butter, mushrooms and thyme. Cook on medium-high until the mushrooms are tender but not overcooked. Add a touch of black pepper and a pinch of salt to taste.
Take 10 to 12 slices of pepperoni and slice into thirds. Toss into a small sauté pan and cook until crispy. Remove from the pan and place onto a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Place the par-baked dough into a lightly oiled 15”x15” pan. Spread the three-cheese shredded mixture evenly, leaving 1” of crust around the edges. Drizzle the Bianco Dinapoli sauce evenly over the top of the cheese. Spread half of the mushroom medley atop the cheese mixture. Add the cup-and-char pepperoni on top of the mushrooms. Layer the remainder of the mushroom medley around the pepperoni. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes at 525˚F until the crust is golden brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and remove from the pan. Drop the small cubes of mozzarella into the middle of the cupped pepperoni and add the pan-fried pepperoni on top. Return the pizza to the oven directly on the brick for 30 to 45 seconds to ensure the bottom of the pizza is crispy and golden brown. Remove from the oven, and finish the pie with a chiffonade of basil and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Cut into 6 slices and serve.
Voilà—The Rosemary Sicilian Grandma Pizza! For more information about Leah Scurto and her creations, look for her Chef’s Corner interview at pmq.com.