In the course of his extraordinary career as a baker, culinary instructor, and author, Peter Reinhart has dedicated himself to exploring the passions and techniques behind the great breads of the world. His most recent pursuit has been pizza—a seemingly simple food that has been hotly debated since Italian immigrants brought it to America more than a century ago. Allegiances run from the general (Chicago- versus New York–style, Neapolitan versus Sicilian) to the particular (Pepe’s versus Sally’s, Gino’s East versus Pizzeria Uno), and newfangled versions like sushi pizza are extending the frontier. In AMERICAN PIE, Reinhart follows the pizza trail from Italy to the States, capturing the stories behind the greatest artisanal pizzas of the Old World and the New.
Beginning his journey in Genoa, Reinhart scours the Italian countryside in search of the fabled focaccia col formaggio di Recco. After a stop in Florence for pizza vesuvio, with its black truffles and molten cheese, Peter heads to Rome to sample the famed seven-foot-long pizza bianca, and then Naples for the archetypal pizza napoletana. Back in America, the hunt for authentic pizza begins in the unlikely locale of Phoenix, Arizona, where Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco has convinced many that his pie is the best in the country. Sardinian pizza in Dallas; the pizza epicenter of New Haven; grilled pizza in Providence; the deep-dish pies of Chicago; Yugoslavian pogacha in Bellevue, Washington—these are just a few of the stops on Reinhart’s epic tour.
Reinhart then returns to the kitchen, where he gives a master class on pizza-making techniques and provides his interpretations of the most memorable pizzas from his journey. His insatiable curiosity—and appetite—and gift for storytelling make this a must-have book for the avid cook, as well as a great read for the armchair pizzaiolo.