Last Sunday we were invited to Kiriti and Radharadhya’s house for a going away pizza. We had no hesitation to accept the offer since Radharadhya’s last name is Cannavino. It doesn’t get more Italian than that. He was in charge of the kitchen, turning out at least 7 pies while me, my husband, Kiriti and the kids sat on the deck and stuffed our pie holes.
Radharadhya is a total pro at pizza making. In actuality, his skill cannot be reduced to his bloodline. He is a bread head through and through. I hung around the kitchen, in between slices, in order to get some tips. First off, I was really impressed by his level of calm and cleanliness. An orderly kitchen and a chill cook go a long way as far as adding to efficiency in the cooking process and digestibility of the food.
Working on a maple butcher block, Radharadhya rolled out the dough, which he made the night before and left resting in the fridge. His dough making process was something I never heard of before. After proofing the yeast, he made something that sounds like “a purush” but really I have no idea how to spell it. As far as I can remember, a purush is when you take the proofed yeast and then add flour to it, making it the consistency of pancake batter. I think he may have even done that two times!
As he rolled out the dough, he did not roll to the edges so beautiful air bubble would remain, making the pizza look very pizza parlor authentic. His sauce was made with whole seeded red dried chili, which he removed at the end of cooking. Although he didn’t start baking the pies until after we arrived, he had his pizza stone heating in the oven all morning on 500.
The best part of the pizza was surely the crust. Thin, crisp, full of bubbles in all the right places, it held it’s shape under the variety of toppings. There were so many varieties–pineapple, kalamata olives, red pepper. But my favorite was definitely the white pie with pine nuts and capers.
I am really going to miss Radharadhya, Kiriti and their daughter, Vrindavani, when we move. But after this visit to their house in Emmaus, I decided what I am really going to miss is their pizza. I have to say, hands down, this is the best pizza I had in the past 11 years.
My desire is that after we move, Radharadhya will come visit in Florida and hold a bread workshop at our house. He’s not just limited to pizza. Bagels, pretzels, baguettes–you name it. If it’s got yeast, he can make it.
Another thing that made the pizza simply divine was the fresh basil from Radharadhya’s square foot garden. For about a hundred bucks, he transformed some wasted space behind their shed into a garden patch that will produce fresh veggies, herbs and flowers well into the fall. Not bad, especially considering the cost included fencing, mulch, top soil and organic fertilizer.
Kiriti is no slouch in the kitchen, either. She made this beautiful cake for my daughter’s birthday. Although she’s not Italian, she is from New Jersey, which means she might as well be Italian. Kiriti is also a formally trained natural vegetarian chef. She went to school and even wore a chef’s hat!
I will miss these guys so much when we move. Driving home to Port Royal I said to my husband, “That meal was great. You know what really stinks about this move? I just realized we should have gotten together with them for dinner more often over these past couple of years!”
I appreciate the pizza. i appreciate the company of our friends. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long to get either again. Especially the pizza.