The place where pizza comes to be written about

Pete vs Food presents… The Baguette Of Shame

This one's for you, Big Papa


So. As you all know by now, I love Man Vs Food. I love it a lot. And I love that I am still finding new episodes to watch, like the one I saw on Dave last night, which was in Florida. One of the features was about a sandwich joint in Sarasota (nope, me neither) that basically created subway sandwiches so stuffed with nutritional evil that they would… Well, make me want to make one.

And so I made one.

I was actually in a bit of a TTWOAPWD mood anyway, but I decided to forego the pizza in favour of something a bit more ridiculous. So I went out and bought: a large baguette, a tin of Fray Bentos meatballs in tomato sauce, a small tin of Heinz macaroni cheese and some mozzerella shavings. And with those ingredients, in the spirit of and in tribute to last night’s Man Vs Food, I composed what I am calling THE BAGUETTE OF SHAME.

The ingredients

And as you can see, the whole lot cost less than a fiver. Unless you are adding the wine, for the cheapness of which I can only offer my profuse apologies.

Step 1: Turn on your grill. Heat up half of the meatballs and the macaroni cheese in separate saucepans.

Step 2: Slice off, slice open and flatten down half of the baguette. Give it a liberal coating of tomato pasta sauce, which, if you are me, you already have in the fridge.

Step 3: Coast with the now-heated macaroni cheese.

Step 4: Add a layer of meatballs in tomato sauce.

Step 5: Sprinkle liberally with mozzerella shavings and season with (if you are me) red pepper sauce.

Step 6: Place under hot grill.

See this? This is what perfection in action looks like.

Step 7: Put saucepans in a bowl of hot soapy water to soak. DO NOT WASH THEM UP YET. Or else that defeats the point.

12 Inch Pete Treat always reminds you of the human cost of food preparation

Step 8: Remove from grill when cheese starts to brown and bubble.

Oh, come on! Just look at that! Baby, you are NASTY!

Step 9: Eat the motherfucker. And drink the wine that you have close to hand, obvs.

Bermuda shorts: chef's own

This being a tribute to Man Vs Food, it would be remiss of me to say that I didn’t finish The Baguette Of Shame, it was a bit too hefty for me to put away in one go. But it would also be remiss of me to fail to note that it was ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY AMAZING. As, indeed, is anything that has meatballs on it. And yes, I know this technically has nothing to do with pizza. So sue me. 12 Inch Pete Treat is a blog that grows and evolves, verily like the bubbles that expand and pop on the top of a Franco Manca pizza.

Adam Richman,wherever you are right now and whatever you’re eating, this is my salute to you.


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If you want the pizza of your dreams… you’ve gotta Do It Yourself

I like seafood. I like pizzas. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that I like seafood pizzas. How much do I like them? I like them so much that I would punch a corgi to death on live TV, on the day of the Queen’s Jubilee, naked except for one injudiciously positioned bill-sized envelope complete with plastic window for the address, so you can basically see everything anyway, if there was a seafood pizza at the end of it. I LOVE SEAFOOD PIZZAS. Have you got that?

However, because I live in England rather than one of the world’s civilised nations, my options for seafood pizza from a regular delivery outlet are not great. None of the major retailers do decent ones (Pizza Hut doesn’t do one, likewise Dominos, likewise Papa John’s) and even if you are NOT one of the major delivery outlets, your idea of a seafood pizza probably means tuna (which I don’t like), anchovies (which will stink your flat out) and prawns.

That is not what I want on my seafood pizza. Yes, I want prawns, but I want lots of them, a veritable carpet of the little pink fuckers, effectively forming a second “sauce” between the tomato and the major toppings. Then I want squid – and I’m not talking about horrid rubbery rings of calamari, I’m talking fat, meaty chunks of squid the size of meatballs. And then, above all, I want scallops because scallops are AWESOME. But where am I going to get a seafood pizza like this? Why, with all that going on, I’m going to have to make it myself!

So I made it myself.

This is the pizza I made before it was was cooked on my dead fancy pizza stone

At the moment, Sainsbury’s do a mighty fine pizza base from which to work from, just the right thickness to be indulgent but to still allow you to think you are pursuing a healthier option. So I used one of those on top of my fancy new pizza stone, which is already starting to yield results. After a thin layer of pizza sauce, on went an almost complete blanket of tiny ickle prawns, and then oodles of squid and ten scallops, pre-fried to the point that they were sealed and edible. Then some olive oil, chilli flakes, a little bit of grated Gran Padano and onto the by-now-piping-hot pizza stone for 12 minutes at Gas Mark 7. And here’s what came out the other end.

Look at me! Look at how delicious I am!

Now, I know I would say this, I KNOW that I would. But for the expenditure of about £6.50 and the minimum of effort, I got the pizza that I have been more or less dreaming of constantly for the last several months (even while awake and in conversation with other people), and enough leftovers to do it again with anchovies two nights later. Dicing with food poisoning, yes, but it was worth it and besides, I could do with losing the weight. This just goes to prove two old sayings: firstly, that if something’s worth doing, you should do it yourself, and secondly, that scallops are THE FUCKING NUTS.

Did you hear that? I just said something nice about you.

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A Christmas pizza and an ambition fulfilled!

I’ve done it.

You see before you a very happy and proud man, or at least some words being typed by a very happy and proud man. You see, in addition to hoping that I could one day produce a pizza blog that was fiendishly brilliant in its execution and monolithic in terms of the hits it attracts (both aims which I have achieved with ruthless efficiency), I have always wanted to make my own pizza, from start to finish, with no help from anybody. And then eat it. And, although this may not sound difficult at all, we need to remember that a) my other half is much better at making pizzas than I am, and b) I am a man.

But I did it last night. And, more to the point, I did it in style, and did so with a seasonally-appropriate mode of presentation too. Last night, I made a – if I dare say so myself – completely magnificent Christmas Chicago-style deep dish pizza, stuffed hilariously yet deliciously with turkey and pigs in blankets. And it was a triumph, ladies and gentlemen, a ravishing festive triumph. I ate 70% of it, by way of proof, and the serving size is RIDICULOUS.

If you are in this photo, then please be aware that you are a topping and act accordingly

And here’s how I did it. First, I knocked out the dough according to the method laid down by Jamie Oliver, which is just how we do dough. Stick a base in the Cashmore 9” springform pan with a little overhang. A layer of mozzerella on the bottom (to be honest, I made a bit of a booboo here and used sliced buffalo mozzerella and didn’t squeeze out all of the liquid first, so there was a tiny bit of milky leakage when I made the first cut, but this is justified by the fact that I got to use the term “milky leakage”) and then in piles the meat. As I mentioned, this was turkey, in the form of some Bernard Matthews slices – I KNOW this is not ideal, but they did the job nonetheless – and some pigs in blankets, which were in this case party chipolatas wrapped in half-rashers of pancetta.

Pigs in blankets looking all snug in their pastry futon

On goes the lid, lots of knife holes to let out the escaping fumes, a layer of tomato, basil and chilli, and then another shredded ball of buffalo mozzerella and some grated parmesan and we’re ready to spend 40 minutes in the oven at 190 degrees.

Look at you, all warm and toasty

After twenty minutes, I covered the top of the pan with foil to present the cheese from over-browning, and dead on forty minutes I popped open that springform motherfucker (inappropriate swearing alert) and out came THIS.

Hi there everybody! I am Pete's Christmas pizza and I am the most delicious thing ever!

And when I took a slice out of it, I was met by THIS sight.

Plump sausages! Juicy melted cheese! Ay papi!

And THIS is what a slice of it looked like. And I can tell you that it tasted like sausagey, hammy, turkeyesque Heaven, and with the tree at Cashmore Acres twinkling prettily and a glass of Syrah in my hand, it finally kickstarted the Christmas spirit inside my weatherbeaten, cynical old heart. Once again, pizza is proven to be a force for good.

Four of these = happy Pete

And it keeps well too. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: tomorrow’s breakfast, today.

Son, you're headin' for a reheatin'...

Merry Christmas! Don’t worry, I’ll be posting more stuff, it just seemed appropriate to say that now. To end, here is a rare picture of me looking proud and happy, to communicate the concept that my Christmas deep dish pizza made me proud and happy.

Seasonal joy and goodwill to ALL!

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Guest drop #1: Buddy’s Pizza of Detroit!

Buddy's Pizza, back in the early days

From the ridiculous to the sublime. Yesterday: an absurd anecdote about the innate silliness of porn. Today: a pizza recipe from a genuine legend of American pizza.

One of the great things that has resulted from this blog in its first week of existence is that I am being followed (and more incredibly, actually read and listened to) by some top American pizzerias, which is kind of like Grandmaster Flash suddenly taking an interest in a random teenage bedroom DJ. Well, I simply had to ask them if any of them if they’d be willing to do a guest drop, and blow me if Buddy’s Pizza of Detroit, makers of the world-renowned Detroit original square pie, didn’t agree to give us a guest recipe! Incredible.

All rise for the branding

So now I’m going to hand over to Wes Pikula, vice president of operation for Buddy’s Pizza, to explain How To Make A Detroit-style Pie At Home…

Here in the states, it’s important to note that the battle for pizza lovers’ attention goes beyond famed New York or Chicago style pies. Detroit originated the square-shaped deep dish crust – and it all started at Buddy’s Pizza.

Our family-owned pizzeria  has a long history in the city. Our original Detroit location opened as a blind pig in 1936 and was transformed into a legitimate tavern in 1946, when Sicilian style pizza was added to the menu. At Buddy’s Pizza we’ve been dishing out our Detroit original square pie recipe for 65 years.

The Buddy's speciality in all its square, pipping hot glory. Yeah, I KNOW!

How did we do it? The secret to that signature shape is in the pan itself. Our pizza pans reflect our Motor City heritage. They were originally used to hold nuts and bolts in Detroit’s automotive factories. We use forged steel pans made by Dover Parkersburg, a company that dates back to 1833. It may be one of the secret ingredients to our success.

But there are others. We use what’s called a lean dough to make our 2-3 inch thick pizza crust. There is no oil or sugar added. And we proof it, or let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours until it rises, before it hits the oven. Unlike most pizzas, you’ll find our signature sauce on top of the cheese, not below it. We also use brick cheese, which adds to the taste.

English people! This is what brick cheese looks like!

If you’re curious, it’s possible to re-create the Detroit square pizza at home. Here’s how:

Step 1: Start with an authentic black steel square pan, 10 inches by 14 inches with 2 ¾ inch sides. Season the pan by coating the inside with vegetable oil and burn it in a 600 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Wipe off any residue left in the pan after burning it.

Step 2: Make a lean dough – don’t use oil or sugar. Weigh the dough into 10-16 ounce portions depending on your preference and roll each portion into a round ball.

Step 3: Place the dough ball in the square pan and press evenly until it covers the complete bottom of the pan completely, making sure that the sides are slightly pushed up around the perimeter.

Step 4: Spread shredded or ground brick cheese on the dough. Proof the cheesed pizza at room temperature for 1-2 hours, depending on preference.

Step 5: Lightly sauce the pizza, on top of the cheese (not on the dough as traditional pizzas are usually made). Place pizza in a pre-heated oven at 450 degrees and bake to desired doneness. It will take approximately 20-30 minutes.

Step 6: Remove the pizza from the oven. Take a spatula and run along the inside of the pan to loosen the pizza from the sides.  Lift pizza out of the pan and cut to desired size pieces and serve. Enjoy!”

Okay, I think it’s fair to say that this is now a serious pizza blog. My thanks to all at Buddy’s – I resolve to come and visit just as soon as I can. All that remains is for me to remind you all that, for those who’d like to order a Buddy’s Pizza, the family-owned pizzeria does ship anywhere. Call 001-313-892-9001 or check them out at buddyspizza.com or on Facebook or Twitter. A final, big thank you to Wes Pikula and Stephanie Casola, who made this possible, and for the magnificent phrase “desired doneness” which I am going to have printed on a T-shirt ASAP.

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In praise of… The Breakfast Pizza

At the risk of coming over all English Defence League (I think that, on this occasion, I’ll refrain from providing a link to that website), one thing that I like about being British is our inventiveness with leftovers. I don’t know whether this is a general rule, but when I was a nipper it was drummed into me that the bits that were surplus to requirements in the preparation of a pie or cake, could still be moulded into something else equally wonderful, if indeed there is anything as wonderful as a pie. One of my favourite childhood treats, for example, was getting to scoop out the leftover icing from the bowl after my mum had iced her cakes. Ah yes – even back then I was a big fat greedy bastard.

When Rosie and myself make pizza – I say this like it’s a common thing, when the reality is that we have made two in three months, although we’re intending to make more provided she can continue to bear going out with me – we always have leftover dough, leftover pizza sauce and leftover toppings. So we make breakfast pizza the following morning, like shivering alcoholics taking an early-morning two-fingers nip to make the DTs go away for a while. Now, in the weeks to come, Rosie will be doing a guest drop on thie blog in praise of the modern phenomenon that is “reheating last night’s pizza to have for breakfast” and she will do so with with, charm, and a writing flair that will be conspicuous in its absence from all other entries on this blog.

But what I am talking about is making a whole new, breakfast-friendly pizza out of the aforementioned leftovers. Because, when you think about it, if you’re dealing with bread, tomato sauce, sausage and ham, then you are dealing with the very fundamentals of a good British breakfast. And ham.

If you’re not now sold on the idea of pizza as a legitimate breakfast option, then a) I suspect you may be reading the wrong blog, b) I hate you and c) I am going to show you how to make one to persuade you. Don’t worry, it won’t take long. Not like that Chicago deep dish one, that one went on forever. It’s just a very small series of photographs really, taking you from start to finish, via meat. So this is your pizza before you whack it in the over. Bit of ham, bit of pizza sauce, some mozzerella, a tad thinner than usual in the crust.

Ham, cheese, tomato... See, it's easy!

So, as you can see, it’s basically your common-or-garden pizza, but with about four or five minutes to go, I cracked a couple of eggs onto it to turn it into a proper breakfast pizza. Time this right and the eggs are still runny, although as you can see from this picture, I cracked mine on too early. Even so, how delicious does that look? Yum ham! Yum eggs! Yum ham and eggs!

There is no meal that cannot be improved by the addition of two eggs

Ah, my tastebuds perform a gleeful fol-de-rol at the merest memory of such delights. Yes, the breakfast pizza is here and it’s here to stay, unless you all think it’s ridiculous and would prefer porridge anyway. In which case, you have my most sincere pity. Well, I think it’s time to end proceedings on a high, with a photograph of a palpably obese Midlander tucking in to a delicious, egg-strafed breakfizza. Bon appetit!

The actor Tom Hardy tucks into his breakfast pizza, yesterday

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The making of… Chicago-style deep dish pizza

So. As I was saying yesterday, me and Rosie decided to make a Chicago-style pizza and it was out of this world, or indeed any of the civilised worlds where pizza-eating is the norm. If you wanted to follow suit, you could watch a professional chef making one by clicking here, or stop being such an asshole and see how we did it instead.

STEP 1: I’m going to skip all the pizza dough preparation gubbins and assume that you know it all, and go straight into the pizza construction bit. You’ll need a springform pan – ours was probably a bit high in the sides and not wide enough, but it got the job done – into which you place your base. It should be a tad thicker than if you were making your own regular thin crust pizza, and there should be some overhang over the sides of the pan, but not too much. See below. Rosie doesn’t have a tattoo, by the way, it’s temporary.

Britain's #1 pizzaola works her magic

STEP TWO: Coat the bottom of the base with a generous layer of mozzerella slices, or to put it another way, put way too much cheese in the bottom.

Warning: not suitable for the lactose-intolerant

STEP THREE: Sprinkle a small amount of meat on top of the cheese. We used Hungarian paprika sausage, pepperoni and some fancy ham lardons that we got at Waitrose, where we also bought some of those Screme Eggs. Have you seen them? They’re awesome.

That's my hand!

STEP THREE POINT ONE: Look at the small amount of meat you have put in, decide that it is nowhere near enough, and dump in a load more.

Any pigs who may be watching, look away now

STEP FOUR: Decide that there wasn’t enough cheese under the meat, but since you can no longer gain access to the cheese to augment its presence, put some more mozzerella on top of the meat. And some parmesan.

Are you getting all this? Good

STEP FIVE: Take the remaining rolled-out pizza dough and place on top of the unholy amount of meat and cheese that you have already placed in the base.

Gotta get that dough

STEP FIVE POINT ONE: Roll the dough overhang towards the middle of the pizza so it forms some kind of crust, and then make sure you prick the top layer of dough with a knife very many times because… Erm… I think you get a lot of steam build-up in there or something. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Rosie has actually tried to stab me with this very knife, fact fans

STEP SIX: Cover the top layer of your pizza with your pizza sauce. We made our own using smushed tomatos, basil and a pinch of sugar, but you can get yours out of a jar if you like. Here at 12 Inch Pete Treat, we do not judge.

I totally made that sauce myself, you know

STEP SEVEN: Add more cheese. We used pinchfuls (is that even a word?) of buffalo mozzerella and a more heavy layer of parmesan. And then, buddy, you have got a Chicago style deep dish pizza that is ready to cook!

We have got ourselves a motherfrickin' PIZZA

STEP EIGHT: Okay, I’ll level with you now. Me and Rosie made this pizza in its entirety while we were rather inebriated, and the whole thing was thrown together in about 45 minutes from first preparation of dough to slam-it-in-the-oven time (X Factor was on at 8 and we don’t like to miss it). So there were bound to be casualties. It turned out that we miscalculated the oven setting we should have been using – 190 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes is good, we had the oven on about 280 by mistake – and so the pastry lid blew up like a big delicious toe blister and left us with a pizza that wasn’t so much “deep dish” as “more or less spherical.” But all was not lost. We simply removed the afflicted lid and decided to have the pizza open-topped, which is actually how a lot of people take their deep dish pizza anyway. So when we popped the oven open at about 8.40 in the PM, we were met with this…


And, although it might not look like much (actually, scratch that, it looks bloody awesome) it was AB SO FLAY MING LOOT LEE incredible. It really was. I have to admit that my involvement in it was rather “advisory” or “observational”, although you could argue that the arduous sauce-stirring role was an essential one. The bottom line is, we dined on a huge, fat, meat-stuffed, cheese-oozing, ever-so-slightly hard-to-handle wedge of monster pizza in the Chicago style that night, and it was exquisite. So here, to end, is the obligatory blurred picture of the half-finished item. The rest, by now, lived in our contented guts.

I know I am blurred but you get the general gist

We are available for catering gigs at very short notice. Thanks to Adam Richman and Man Vs Food for the inspiration.

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