Hot Brown Pizza

By Craig Priebe with Dianne Jacob | October 12, 2015
Louisville is home to the Kentucky Derby, the prestigious annual horse race that, since 1875, has drawn thousands of people every year. Many grand hotels opened to accommodate the visitors, including the Brown Hotel in 1923. Chef Fred Schmidt created the hotel’s signature dish, the Hot Brown sandwich, now a Louisville tradition. Roast turkey, bacon, and tomato are covered in a creamy sauce with Gruyere and broiled until hot and brown. Benny Impellizzeri began selling his distinctive pizzas, made with two layers of toppings and two layers of cheese, from his dad’s butcher shop in 1978. They later became known as “Louisville-style” pizzas. Impellizzeri’s has done a fine job of honoring Louisville cuisine with its creamy, rich Hot Brown pizza.


Makes 1 (16-inch) pizza, serves 3 to 4

New York–Style Pizza Dough (see recipe below)
Alfredo Sauce (see recipe below)
4 1/2 ounces Gruyere, grated (1 1/2 cups)
4 ounces bacon (4 strips)
12 ounces sliced cooked turkey breast
1 small tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Make the pizza dough at least 12 hours ahead.

Rest the dough on the counter until it comes to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Make the alfredo sauce. Before it cools, add 1 cup of the grated Gruyere and keep stirring as the cheese melts into the sauce.

Place the bacon strips on a small pan and bake for 15 minutes. They will be partially cooked. Drain on paper towels. Let cool, then slice into 1-inch

Move an oven rack to the lowest position. Increase the oven temperature to 500 F and heat for 15 minutes.

Shape the dough and place it on the pizza pan or screen, according to the instructions on page 64. Spread the sauce on the dough with a rubber spatula, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup grated Gruyere. Top with the turkey slices, followed by the bacon.

Bake the pizza for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is deep brown and the toppings are bubbling. Check underneath with a metal spatula to ensure the bottom crust is deep brown too. Let the pizza rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped tomato and parsley, then cut the pizza into 8 wedges and serve.

New York–Style Pizza Dough

This dough makes a crispy crust with a chewy rim, the kind you’ll see at good pizzerias all over New York. Letting the dough rise overnight lets the yeast do a better job at fermentation over a longer time, building flavor and texture. Some recipes call for a hand-tossed dough, so I have included the instructions to do so. It’s fun! It’s not about throwing a pizza in the air, but about a way to stretch it quickly. This recipe gets your dough onto a pan, ready for the toppings.

1 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place the flour, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low to combine, about 5 seconds. Add the water and the olive oil and mix until a ball forms, about 2 minutes.

Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. Add the salt. Knead on medium speed for 12 minutes. If the dough is too wet or sticky, add a teaspoon of flour and mix until a ball comes cleanly off the side of the bowl. When the dough is ready it should be firm, smooth, and supple.

To test elasticity, hold a 1-inch piece between your fingers and stretch the dough to make a windowpane. It should look like. If not, knead for 5 minutes more and test again. Keep going until the dough passes the test, up to 30 minutes more.

Pour a teaspoon of olive oil into a medium bowl. Wet your hands with water, shape the dough into a ball, and place it in the bowl. Turn the dough to coat it with oil. This prevents a crust from forming on its surface as it rises. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight or up to 72 hours. After about 12 hours, the dough will be wider and taller, approximately doubled in size. Rest the dough on the counter until it comes to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Getting the Dough in Shape 
Stretch the Dough Lightly flour a clean, dry countertop. Gently place the round of dough on your counter. Do not knead or press on it. Instead, let it settle. Dust the top with flour. Make dimples in the dough with your fingertips by pressing down in the middle to stretch it out. At the same time, move the dough around in a circle with your fingertips. A 1-inch rim should form naturally. Press your fingertips along the inside of the rim, moving in a circle. Place your hands on the dough, fingers up against the rim, and push out while turning in a circle. Add more flour if necessary, to ensure the dough slides easily.

Pick up the dough to finish stretching it out. Slide your hands underneath and pick it up. Let the dough fall around your hands to stretch it. Keep your hands along the edges, rather than in the middle. The dough should be 16 inches in diameter.

Hand-tossing Technique
The New York dough is a good one to hand-toss because it’s sturdy, flexible, and stretches well, and it’s not sticky. Pick up the dough and, with your palms down, drape the dough over the knuckles of both hands.

Toss the dough a few inches into the air and put a little spin on it to rotate the dough. Do this several times and keep the dough close to your
hands. Don’t throw it up into the air. That is not necessary and it will probably end up on the floor. The dough should be thin in the center with a ring around the edge. It should be about 16 inches in diameter.

Place the dough on the Pan or screen. Spray a round 16-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray and then lightly coat with flour. Place the pan next to the dough on the counter and quickly pick up the crust while sliding it onto the pan. Reshape as necessary into a round or oval shape. Your New York–style dough is now ready for the pizza toppings.

Alfredo Sauce
Makes 1 1/2 cups , enough for one (14- or 16-inch) pizza

This creamy sauce has lots of flavor and tastes great on pizza topped with chicken, shrimp, lobster, or salmon. Add Swiss cheese to make a classic Mornay sauce. Add Parmigiano Reggiano to make it sharper. You can make this sauce up to four days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
11/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until a smooth paste forms, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, salt, pepper, bay leaf, hot sauce, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring often to prevent scalding on the bottom. The sauce will thicken in 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Excerpted from The United States of Pizza by Craig Priebe with Dianne Jacob, Rizzoli New York, 2015.  Images by Jeff  Kauck.

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