Every restaurant has its secret recipe, and Carlino’s is no exception. The award-winning Grandma’s pizza recently helped Carlino’s Restaurant earn the Patch Reader’s Choice award for the best pizza in Garden City, Mineola and New Hyde Park, so it’s time to give something back and share this cherished recipe with the whole neighborhood. Come along with us as we venture into Carlino’s kitchen and you’ll learn the Corteo Family’s closely guarded secret for their Grandma’s Pizza.
As in the Corteo family ancestral home in Monte Di Procida, Carlino’s pizza begins with a thicker Sicilian-style bread dough that stays tender in the oven. After making the dough, it rests in a wooden dough box that absorbs excess water to make it just a little chewy. Then, the dough goes into a square pizza pan oiled with fine Italian olive oil. If you press it thinly, but not too thinly – it should keep some of its rich moisture during baking.
After the pizza dough is in the pan, it’s time for the mozzarella cheese. One of Carlino’s recipe secrets is to use its fresh house-made mozzarella for a creamier texture and just the right amount of mellow saltiness. Tear the cheese into small pieces and scatter them over the surface of the dough. The trick is to get just enough cheese on the pizza; you want enough to make it rich, but not so much that it weighs down the slice.
Only after the cheese is down does the pizza sauce go on. That way, the sauce spreads around the cheese to make each bite uniquely delicious. A handmade pizza should have variety in every mouthful, and that’s why the sauce goes on around the cheese. Carlino’s sauce is made fresh each day with hand crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, oregano, basil and a dash of salt. Instead of spreading the sauce over the whole pizza, add it in dollops so it flows as it cooks.
Now it’s time for the garlic. Carlino’s Chef Wali roasts each morsel to release the sweet, nutty flavors before the slices of garlic go on the pizza. As the pie cooks, those flavors bake into the pizza without burning or overpowering the subtler tastes of the fresh mozzarella and vine ripened tomatoes. After scattering roasted garlic on the pizza, the pie gets a splash of olive oil on top and just underneath the crust to make it crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Why not put the oil in the pan before spreading the dough? Because when the oil goes in last, the bottom of the pizza has no time to soak it up, instead crisping and browning in the savory oil without getting greasy.
Carlino’s big deck oven cooks a Grandma’s pizza in about 15 minutes, but a home oven’s going to take longer because it doesn’t get to the high temperatures that restaurant ovens can reach. The restaurant’s ovens transform the dough into a hearty crust and the cheese into a creamy coat that’s just turning crisp and bubbling on the edges. You can shake on a little Parmesan cheese at the table or eat the pizza just as it is fresh out of the oven.
If that sounds like a lot of work to make a great pizza, you’re more than welcome to take a shortcut to a fantastic Grandma-style pizza: Call us at 516-747-6616 for free delivery or visit Carlino’s Restaurant at 204 Jericho Turnpike, in Mineola, NY and we’ll make you a fresh mouth watering pizza by hand from the freshest ingredients!
Carlo, Wali and all your friends at Carlino’s