Hello! I’m Peggy Paul Casella, a cookbook editor and writer based in Philadelphia, PA. For my day job I edit hundreds—sometimes thousands—of recipes each month from chefs, writers, and publishers all over the country, and I write sporadically for various publications and organizations. I also work part-time at a farm stand that carries local fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and other foodstuffs all year round. The farm stand keeps me on the pulse of seasonal produce and the regional food scene; there, I teach customers about the benefits of sustainable agriculture; handle and learn about traditional and obscure heirloom varieties; and eavesdrop on conversations between local chefs and restaurateurs, consumers and purveyors. It’s a weird life, perhaps, but it keeps me grounded. When I’m not working, I love spending time in the garden, dreaming up new house projects with my husband John, or seeking out the best BYOBs and beer bars in Philly.
Why Thursday Night Pizza?
In 2012, John bought me a stainless steel 14-cup food processor for Christmas, and after flipping through its spiral-bound recipe booklet for inspiration, I decided to christen my new appliance with homemade pizza dough. I picked a random Thursday for my first attempt, and even though I cut corners on the rising time, stretched it unevenly, and slathered on way too much sauce, the finished product was far superior to anything we could have bought at the supermarket. It was perfectly browned on the bottom, crispy around the edges, and chewy under the weight of its toppings. After his first bite, John looked me straight in the eye and declared, “I could eat this every night forever.”
The next Thursday I improved my stretching/rolling technique, and the Thursday after that I made a Margherita pie that tasted like legit gourmet pizza. Before long, as we tinkered with different flavor combinations and fresh, seasonal ingredients, Thursday became our favorite night of the week. A household ritual was born.
I started this blog as a way to chronicle my self-guided course in pizza making and to keep track of the different toppings and techniques I try each Thursday. It’s amazing how a circle of fresh-made dough can open your mind to endless possibilities. So pull up a stool and stay a while. Who knows, you might end up starting a weekly ritual of your own.