Hello fello pizza fans,
I grew up on Chicago's south side, raised on greasy thin crust pies cut into party squares. For the last 15 years I've lived in downtown Chicago where I was introduced to the deep-dish and pot-pie variants, both of which I also adore. However I am at heart a thin crust pizza puritan, preferring only sausage or pepperoni or both, and nothing else.
4 years ago my job took me from the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago to a small village in the winegrowing hills of southwestern Germany. I love it here, and as a beer aficionado it would be a slice of heaven if only I could locate a decent pizza. The German pizza restaurants aren't terrible, and the Italian joints are a step in the right direction but when you order a pepperoni pizza, a cheese pizza scattered with pepperoncinis arrives, not a slice of aged pork in sight! They have something kinda close, called 'paprika salami' but it pales in comparison to real American pepperoni. And 'Italian sausage', or what goes by that name in the states, simply does not exist here. The last two summers we vacationed in Rome and even the famous pizza restaurants there were a disappointment compared to the regular neighborhood joints I grew up with like Venuso's, Village Pizza, and Aurelio's.
My wife being an almost equally devoted pizza fan, we roll our own at least once a week; over the last 2 years she has nearly perfected a thin crust dough recipe, and through trial and error we have formulated our own sauce and fennel-spiced pork sausage recipes which together deliver a very satisfying pie. Every year when we visit home for the holidays I smuggle back a few pounds of real pepperoni, which we store in the freezer. I'm about to start grinding my own pork shoulder to get the fat ratio right and on our latest trip home we made a special point to visit Aurelio's to do a scientific study of each ingredient and realized we had our sauce all wrong, so I went in search of a good start and stumbled on to this forum.
I look forward to sharing as much as I can, and finding some guidance on my journey.