Weekend warriors! Make your own wood fired pizza oven and create the perfect pizza »

John Pellicano shares his skills at both

By Sara Schwarz
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Gourmet pizzas at Innocent Bystander/Giant Steps cellar door, Healesville, Victoria

Gourmet pizzas at Innocent Bystander/Giant Steps cellar door, Healesville, Victoria [©Innocent Bystander/Giant Steps]

Pizza! At Leura Park Estate, Bellarine Peninsula
Wood fired pizza oven by John Pellicano


Of late my recipe book reading list has included such enthralling titles as ‘How to feed your baby solids’ and 'Introducing solids for dummies’. As such, it was with some delight that I was handed a pile of grown-up recipe books for testing and review.

Wood-Fired Pizza Oven by John Pellicano is a real treasure. Mr Pellicano’s father Fortunato is the inspiration behind this book and indeed behind Mr Pellicano Jnr’s love of and skill in making pizza ovens and of course, pizzas.

There are a few things I really liked about this book. It is straight-forward and approachable, the information is clear, the recipes seem to be well-tested family favourites, and who can resist a recipe book that offers DIY advice on how to build your own oven? The Pellicano family are clearly very dedicated to the art of pizza.

After you’ve built your pizza oven (should you so desire), the book then moves through all that is required to make a great pizza: dough, sauces, pizza combinations. It ends with some accompanying roast and bake ideas, including chicken wings and vegetables.

Now, I have a tried and true family dough recipe that has been handed down to me by my father that I have stuck to over the years, but the recipes for the assortment of dough really caught my eye. Basic dough, food processor dough, cheese pizza dough, herb pizza dough, mamma’s pizza dough, gluten-free dough and more are all listed here. I’ll be trying out a few soon I think.

The sauces too are all appealing and simple to prepare and include favourites such as Bolognese, pesto, spicy and of course Napolitana.

The book then offers up an array of tasty combinations to suit both the traditional pizza lover and the experimentalist. Most of these combinations you will recognise from your local pizza shop, but I have a feeling these homemade offerings will leave most store-bought pizzas for dead.

In summary, Wood-Fired Pizza Oven is a book that celebrates one of our favourite take-away foods, but encourages you to explore the simple art of making good pizza at home.

Mr Pellicano is someone who seems to truly love pizza and family, and his book encourages you to spend time making and eating pizza with yours. Building the oven is optional of course, but I’ve already mentally put aside a corner of my garden for one.  I think Mr Pellicano Snr would approve.

A great gift idea for the handy(wo)man in your life.

Wood-Fired Pizza Oven by John Pellicano is published by New Holland (Sydney 2014; hc, 240 pp) and retails for A$29.99

Here's a tasty recipe for Fig and Goat's Cheese Pizza from the book »

Read the media release »


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February 28th, 2015
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