Ordering in from Otto

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As a New York based food blogger, I often make an effort to vary my posts so that those of you not in New York–which, I imagine, is actually the large majority of you–can feel like I’m speaking to you too.

But this post, despite its New York specificity, has what I imagine is universal appeal–mostly because of a chef that I’ve loved and admired for as long as I’ve been interested in cooking. That chef is Mario Batali.

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Katy’s Pizza

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Pizza god Adam Kuban of SliceNY and Serious Eats had this to say the last time I made pizza: “AmGour: I love ya and all, man, but you gotta spread that dough out thinner!”

A thin crust, it turns out, is the sine qua non of perfect pizza. The great pizzas of New York–Di Fara, Franny’s, and Una Pizza Napoletana–all have relatively thin crusts that don’t overwhelm the other pizza elements. But, I must confess, when I’m at home making pizza my goal isn’t to recreate these laudable thin-crust pizzas; my goal is to recreate my friend Katy’s pizza, from the days when she lived close by in Atlanta.

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Tim Horton & Frank Pepe

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Beware: when driving back from Cape Cod to New York, be wary of any Canadians or Yalies in your car. In our case, we had Dara (a Canadian) and Amir (a Yalie) both of whom were responsible for thousands of calories consumed against my innocent, food-shirking will. Why must food obsessives force me, a health-nut, to eat doughnuts and pizza when all I want are bags of trail mix and no-fat fruit smoothies? Are you buying any of this? No?

Ok, you’re right, the Canadian and the Yalie were certainly enablers, but I was the catalyst for all the fat we consumed on the drive back. The Canadian started it. Dara spied a sign for Tim Horton’s, which you see in the picture above. I’d recalled a Canadian reader e-mailing me once about Tim Horton’s, saying it’s the Canadian version of Dunkin’ Donuts only much, much better. Dara agreed. “We should go there,” either she said or I said; or maybe we both said it. We’d pulled off the highway anyway because we needed gas and there was Tim Horton’s, where, after the gas, we stopped for a bathroom and a doughnut.

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Don’t Hold The Anchovies

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Anyone who grew up in the 80s watching “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” will recall a very specific phrase that kicks in whenever the characters decide to order a pizza. I feel like you hear this phrase in “E.T.” when Eliot’s brother has friends over for poker and maybe in an episode of “Facts of Life” where Blaire learns the perils of superficiality. Either way, the phrase is emblematic of its time, not something you often hear today. The phrase is: “Hold the anchovies.”

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Homemade Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Rosemary & Gorgonzola

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Sometimes the name of a dish sounds so intimidating your immediate reaction is: “Pish posh! I can’t make that! And why did I just say pish posh?”

Such might be the case with the pizza you see above. You hear “pizza” and that doesn’t sound so difficult, but you add “caramelized onions, rosemary and gorgonzola” and you feel like you’re on Planet Impossible. Well come back to Earth, Earthling, and let me assure you: that pizza you see above may SOUND difficult, but it’s really a cinch. Here, let me convince you.

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