Healthy and Sane

Operation perfect pizza

August 10th, 2011 · 30 Comments · pizza

Thank you for all of your comments on the latest diet free living post! I gotta say I was really inspired and motivated when I wrote it.  It’s been barely 24 hours but I feel a real shift in my perception. Only good things can come from that!

Before this wave of inspiration came upon me (which by the way I totally credit the It Was Always Meant to Happen That Waybook… thanks Christie for reviewing it!! You all should buy it asap if you can relate to my struggles with food), pizza was on my mind. And well, I have the need to share such important things with you. ; )

Are you a pizza fan? What does “perfect pizza” mean to you?

To me, it means a chewy, doughy crust and incredibly fresh ingredients. Basically, it’s pizza from Picco. I’m obsessed!!


So obsessed in fact that Adam and I have had it the past 3 Sunday nights we’ve been in town… and I’ve ordered the exact same thing (salami & cherry peppers with garlic, rosemary, chopped tomato, fresh mozzarella, romano & basil) – this never happens!! Absolutely obsessed. It’s incredible. And now it’s our little Sunday night tradition.

Of course for those of you who don’t live in Boston, this little nugget of information is quite useless. I know! But don’t worry – I am now officially on a mission to create the perfect pizza crust, inspired by Picco!

This was Saturday night’s pizza (mushroom for me, buffalo chicken for Adam).


I used the dough recipe we tried at the King Arthur cooking class (scroll down that post to see the gorgeous pizza that came from that experience!)… which combines 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1.25t instant yeast, 3/4t salt, 1T olive oil and ~0.75cups of warm water. It is quick and easy… and it’s even better on the grill! Yup, I grilled our pizzas on Saturday [apparently I was in a grilling mood this weekend]!

You can’t really tell from this photo but the grill marks are all on the bottom and under the sauce. I brushed the rolled out dough with EVOO and put it directly on the grill. A few minutes later I flipped it (when little bubbles formed), left it on for a minute or so and then removed it to apply the toppings. The pizzas then went back on the grill, which I then closed to let the cheese melt for a few minutes and let the other side of the crust cook a bit more.

It was definitely the best pizza I’ve made so far! The dough was nice and crispy on the bottom but soft with a bit of chew all over! I thought it was close to Picco’s until we had it the following night… and so the search for the perfect dough continues

I think Picco uses sourdough crust… it was just so chewy with large air pockets, very reminiscent of sourdough. Have you ever made sourdough pizza crust? I need to find out how to do that and get on it STAT!

Pizza is one of my favorite food groups! Winking smile

Please share your favorite pizza stories and recipes in the comments!

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30 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Michelle

    I’ve made homemmade pizzza lots of times but I definitely want to try making it on the grill this summer!

  • #2 - Barefoot Pregnant and In The Kitchen

    My perfect pizza is a chewy crust but with a nice crunch on the bottom…mmmm with bell pepper, and onions from Checkmate Pizza in Concord NH. Who would have known NH can have such great Pizza! I make my dough when we are making it at home… I’ll have to try King Arthurs recipe… because I’m not super crazy about mine. I sometimes cheat and buy a premade dough from Portland Pie Company they have a Shipyard Beer dough thats pretty freaking good! Anyways I’m talking way too much about pizza guess what I’ll be making for supper tonight! Happy Hump Day!

  • #3 - Erin

    Perfect blog topic! I was just trying to convince Pete this weekend that you can grill pizza directly on the grill, but he wasn’t buying it. Now I have proof! Any tricks I need to know?

    • #4 - Elina

      Haha, perfect! :) Just what I did… brush the dough with olive oil (I also sprayed the grill) and it works really well!
      When are we getting together again??

  • #5 - shannon

    i’m still experimenting with dough as well, although i tend to like thinner pizza, with some chew 😉 i miss my grill. maybe at my new place?

  • #6 - Katie (The Aspiring RD)

    So glad you finally made it to picco! Try the sausage and mushroom when you get a chance!!

  • #8 - Elizabeth

    I need to try Picco! It’s on my list. Also, grilled pizza is fantastic.

  • #10 - Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

    Agreed – pizza should have its own food group. We have homemade pizza once a week ;).

  • #11 - Lizzy

    I’ve still never grilled pizza. I know the horror!!! I will though, I promise! My fav pizza in the world is fig, proscuitto and arugula! yummy!

  • #13 - Meghan@travelwinedine

    Yummm! I love Picco. I love thin, chewy pizza crust. And the King Arthur weekend is still one of my all time favorites :)

    • #14 - Elina

      I know! It was totally one of the highlights of 2010! We should do more classes… and/or trips! :)

  • #15 - Hillary Gras

    I write a pizza blog, so every time I have pizza is the best lol. But honestly, the best pizza night I ever had was my birthday this year. I invited all my friends over and we had a fabulous girls night of mini pizzas, wine and laughter. I moved from Boston recently, but the last time I visited my friends said, “Your birthday was the best party.. we NEED to do that again. So much fun. So much fun!”

    And most recently, a fig butter pizza (new at Trader Joes!) with prosciutto, onions (Elina, leave these out, you wont even notice!!), gorgonzola and arugula. Amazing!!!

    I need to try your dough recipe! or, King Arthur’s that is :)

    Have fun!!!

    • #16 - Elina

      Pizza blog? You’re my hero!! Love the idea of a mini pizza party… and I may have to recreate that pizza without onions and goat cheese, instead of gorgonzola… Mmmm, pizza 😉

  • #17 - w8lossgirl

    WHY can’t pizza be good for you? That’s my question.

    I want to send you on a food crawl to Davis Square – I know I’ve recommended Out of the Blue before (YUM) but you also need to hit up Pizzeria Posto. SO amazing. The pizza is ridiculous but they also have great wine – they have a system where they can keep super good wines in bottles, so you can have them by the glass (i.e. wines that you normally can only get by the bottle). Great bar scene, great bartender – and the pizza is crazy good. I keep it simple with a margerita pizza, tons of garlic, and an egg – sounds so weird but egg on pizza is fabulous. I’m not a meat person and I don’t love lots of toppings on pizza – but they have some cool combinations.

    Food crawl in Davis! Maybe I’ll meet you! How fun!

  • #18 - megan

    I LOVE PIZZA! especially thin.. crispy.. grilled pizza.. man it really hits the spot. I recently went to Falmouth to Stone L’Oven and the had brick oven pizza to die for, super thin and crispy. I want pizza right now for breakfast!!
    I love making my own pizza dough, whole wheat, i have perfected it!- i just love the nutty hearty flavor too, wow, we really love pizza hu? :)

  • #20 - Alaina

    I love chewy, doughy pizza too with ooey gooey cheese and fresh veggies. And yes, Picco is awesome! I love their ice cream too. :-)

  • #21 - w8lossgirl

    Elina you need to do a food crawl in Davis Square – I know I’ve suggested Out of the Blue before but Pizzeria Posto is a must too! SO good and amazing wines by the glass. I am not a meat person so I always keep it simple with a margerite pizza with lots of garlic and an egg (I know, weird, but delish). Organize a Davis food crawl and I’ll consult and join! SO fun

  • #22 - w8lossgirl

    You must do a food crawl in Davis Square and hit up Pizzeria Posto (along with Out of the Blue) – I’ll come! SO good. SUCH good pizza and amazing wine.

  • #24 - Bridget

    I’ve still never tried Pico but after this rave review I think it needs to happen soon!! Thanks for the reminder about the KA crust, I can’t find my recipes!! Your grilled pizzas look great, and I bet they tasted awesome. I love grilling pizza!!

  • #25 - Katy @ RecipeCan

    nice meeting you today! hope to see you at another food blogger event soon :)

  • #27 - willow

    I am so with you on loving pizza… Could eat it endlessly. :-) I make my own dough from either whole wheat or spelt flour, always doing a long, slow (usually 24 hour) rise/fermentation in the refrig. That gets you the slightly sour complexity of flavor without having to have a sourdough starter. The latest recipe I tried was this one:, subbing 100% whole grain flour, and 1/2 the amounts of sugar and oil that were called for. It was awesome — I still have two dough balls in the freezer…. Which reminds me that I should get one out for tomorrow night!
    Good luck with your experiments!

  • #29 - Pizza monkey bread + Pomi giveaway | Healthy and Sane

    […] of a Foodie Bride so please check out her post for more gorgeous mid-process photos (I used this recipe for the dough the first time – make sure to double it – and 2 store-bought dough balls the […]

  • #30 - JD

    The truth is it is very difficult to replicate restaurant pizza at home for the simple fact that most home ovens will only get up to 500F while professional & wood burning ovens can get up to 800-1000F, making a big difference in how fast the pizza cooks and subsequently how the crust is (and the air pockets.) Cranking the oven as high as it will go for about an hour before cooking and cooking on a baking stone is about as close as it gets at home. Though the grill may get hotter than 500F so may have been a good choice in this case!