Hello! Welcome to Pizza and a Movie. I am really excited about today’s pizza because it was a request from a reader back in May. But this pizza is not your average recreation. Before the pandemic, this reader travelled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin each year for a conference. She and her colleagues would go to a pizzeria called San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana. Their favorite pie to order is the namesake pizza, the San Giorgio. So today, by request, we attempt to recreate the San Giorgio Pizza.
I have never been to San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana, so I had no idea what this pizza should be like. But the dear reader sent me the pizzeria’s menu and a photo of the pizza. Working off of the bare bones menu listing the ingredients: “(pizza bianca/no tomato sauce) Braised fennel, crispy pancetta, Fior di Latte mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, baby arugula, extra virgin olive oil, sunny side egg”, I set out to recreate this beloved pie.
Aside from the sunny side egg, the arrangement of the baby arugula and the fresh grated Pecorino Romano, the original image of the pizza was not helpful in determining what the fennel was braised in. And was there an actual sauce; or was it just olive oil?
The reader emailed me a follow up that she had tried to recreate this pizza on her own, noting that the toppings felt like they were just sitting on top of the dough – and not “married” in the way the original San Giorgio’s ingredients are. Which led her to believe there must be some kind of white sauce tying it all together.
The White Sauce
This follow up from the reader got me thinking. There is an Italian White Ragu that you’ll often see with shredded pork and Pappardelle pasta. Could this be the solution? A white ragu would solve the fennel/braise question, and a creamy ragu would make an excellent white sauce to tie it all together. I recalled seeing a recipe for Pork, Fennel, Lemon Ragu on America’s Test Kitchen that, with a little fiddling, could be a great starting point.
Start by sautéing 8 ounces of diced pancetta in about 1/3 cup of water over medium-high heat until the water has evaporated and the pancetta begins to brown and the fat renders, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, dice a white or yellow onion and a fennel bulb. Mince or press 3-4 cloves of garlic and mince fresh thyme leaves.
Add the onion and fennel to the Dutch oven with the pancetta and its rendered fat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions and the fennel have softened and begin to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and about 3 teaspoons of Kosher salt and a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add the Cream
Reduce heat to medium and stir in one cup of heavy cream, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the cream reduces and thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
The cream will continue to thicken as it cools. Once it’s cooled down a bit, transfer to a smaller dish and refrigerate until ready to use.
In addition to the white sauce with fennel and pancetta, we have fresh mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and an egg. When the pie comes out of the oven, we will top it with the baby arugula and more fresh grated Pecorino Romano.
In your home oven, preheat the pizza stone in the oven to 450 degrees. Stretch your dough out to about 12-inches on your pizza peel. The white ragu will be somewhat solid, like soft butter and will melt out as it cooks, so don’t worry about spreading it, or you might tear a hole in the dough. Instead, use a spoon to dollop the white ragu all around the dough.
Next, layer on the fresh mozzarella and sprinkle about half of the grated Pecorino Romano.
Then for the fun part, crack an egg onto the center of the pizza. Because this oven will cook this pie in about 90 seconds, I decided to break the yolk, just a little, to get it to spread out a bit and so that it will cook evenly.
Now we are ready for the oven. In your home oven this will take about 15 minutes, for the cheese to melt, the cream sauce to spread out, the egg to cook and the crust to get golden.
San Giorgio Pizza?
When the pizza comes out, top it with the baby arugula, a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining grated Pecorino Romano.
Well, is this a San Giorgio Pizza? I cannot be totally sure since I have never tasted the San Giorgio Pizza before. But I will say that this is a damn good pizza!
To Laura, If you’re reading today’s post, please do let me know if we’ve come close to your beloved San Giorgio Pizza! I can’t wait for you to try this and let me know if we’ve succeeded the challenge of recreating the San Giorgio Pizza.
Movie Night: Luca
We have our interpretation of the San Giorgio Pizza ready to enjoy; so let’s get to the movie! Luca is the new Disney Pixar animated film. It’s a fantastic coming of age story about a young sea creature who dreams of life on land. We have heard a similar story, think: The Little Mermaid, but this is an updated story; it’s not centered around romance – a refreshing departure, indeed.
This story of friendship, courage and adventure takes place in a coastal town on the Italian Riviera; with beautiful animation, music and depictions of Italian culture. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say I teared up a bit. 🙂 Overall, this is by far the best the Pixar movie I have seen since Coco. It’s available on Disney Plus and I very highly recommend you give it a watch.
Thank you everyone for joining me today for Pizza and a Movie! If you have a favorite pizza that you’ve been unable to enjoy because of travel restrictions, or for any reason, drop me a line, and we can try to recreate it here for you. Give me a shout over on Instagram, or send me an email from my Contact Page. Take care and be well, everyone! xo Kelly
San Giorgio Pizza
Braised fennel, onion and pancetta in a rich cream sauce, topped with fresh mozzarella, Pecorino Romano cheese and and egg. Baked to perfection then topped with baby arugula, more Pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Braised Fennel and Pancetta Cream Sauce
- 8 oz. Pancetta, diced
- 1 small Fennel Bulb, cored and diced
- 1 small White Onion, diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves, minced
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Prepared Pizza Dough
- 1/2-1 cup Braised Fennel and Pancetta Cream Sauce
- Fresh Mozzarella, torn into small pieces
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano Cheese, divided
- 1 Large Egg
- Baby Arugula
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
Braised Fennel and Pancetta Cream Sauce
Sauté diced pancetta in about 1/3 cup of water over medium-high heat until the water has evaporated and the pancetta begins to brown and the fat renders, about 10 minutes.
Add the onion and fennel to the Dutch oven with the pancetta and its rendered fat.
Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions and the fennel have softened and begin to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme and about 3 teaspoons of Kosher salt and a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds.
Reduce heat to medium and stir in one cup of heavy cream, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the cream reduces and thickens, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool and transfer to a smaller dish and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
On a floured pizza peel, dust the dough with flour and create a crust around the perimeter of the dough and flatten down the center.
Stretch it out on the backs of your hands, left hand over right hand, until the dough is roughly 12-inches around.
Add more flour evenly on the peel and lay the dough on the peel.
Dollop the Braised Fennel and Pancetta Cream Sauce evenly over the dough, taking care not to smear it too much so as to not tear the dough.
Layer on the fresh mozzarella pieces. Sprinkle on about half of the grated Pecorino.
Crack the large egg in the center of the pizza.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and the egg is cooked.
Transfer out of the oven and top with baby arugula, a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining grated Pecorino.