The trick to making restaurant-quality pizza at home? Use your oven’s broiler. “Get your oven as hot you possibly can, and use the broiler to cook it,” says Ruth Gresser. “Then just turn it down to the highest bake setting. It gives a nice rise to the crust.”
Gresser goes into greater detail in Kitchen Workshop – Pizza: Hands-On Cooking Lessons for Making Amazing Pizza at Home, the step-by-step cookbook she penned in 2013. However, the acclaimed chef is quick to concede that it may not work. “Some ovens will not be successful just because they won’t get hot enough.”
Still, if you use a pizza stone and the broiler, the finished product should approximate the kind you’ve savored over for years at Pizzeria Paradiso. We’re talking high-quality, Neapolitan-style pizza baked in a 650-degree wood-burning oven — the kind you may or may not eat with a knife and fork, but you certainly can’t buy by the slice.
These days, gourmet pizzas can be found throughout the D.C. area. Yet few match the quality — and even fewer the reputation — of Gresser’s Pizzeria Paradiso, which now serves five area neighborhoods, including Old Town Alexandria and Upper Northwest’s Spring Valley.