Virtual Cooking Class: Fresh Pulled Mozzarella and Pepperoni Pizza

Join us on Facebook Live Saturday, May 23 at 2:00pm PDT/ 5:00pm EDT! We’re virtually connecting on Memorial Day Weekend AND National Chardonnay Day at Winston Hill Vineyard! Leslie Frank and local chef, Nash Cognetti of Napa Valley’s Tra Vigne Pizzeria will sip our 2018 Lewis Vineyard Chardonnay and newly released 2016 Patriarch while sharing how to make two delicious Italian dishes.

Learn how to make fresh pulled mozzarella and mushroom and pepperoni wood fired pizza (Leslie’s favorite). Chef Nash will show you how to open, top, and perfectly bake your pizza in your home oven – no pizza stone needed. No purchase is necessary to participate, but feel free to get your favorite pizza dough, toppings, and wine ahead of time. Read on for the mozzarella recipe and ingredients.

Mozzarella “Al Minuto” Recipe


6 oz per serving, whole milk mozzarella curd (available online or from an artisan cheese shop)
1 cup Kosher salt
1 gallon boiling water
1 bottle Napa Valley olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste


Stainless-steel bowl
Fine mesh strainer
Bowl of ice water


1) Break the curd into walnut size pieces and allow it to reach room temperature.

2) Create a saline solution by bringing 1 cup of kosher salt and 1 gallon of water to a boil.

3) Place about 6 ounces of curds into a stainless-steel bowl and begin to melt by ladling in small amounts of the boiling saline. It helps to use a fine mesh strainer and drain the saline from the curds when it’s no longer extremely hot and add fresh boiling saline.

4) Once the curds are melted, begin to form a ball.  You can accomplish this by first, adding a final ladle of boiling saline and then reaching directly into the hot bowl and pulling out the very hot mass of cheese. We highly recommend you keep a bowl of ice water nearby and dip your burning hands in occasionally for relief.

5) You should have in your hands a mass of seeping gooey cheese which you form into a ball by folding it over on top of itself repeatedly.

6) In order to develop the elasticity of the ball, form a ring by touching together the tips of your forefinger and thumb of your right hand. Place the cheese “ball” on the tips of your 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers of your left hand and push the “ball” through the ring of your right hand. Gradually expand the ring made by your right hand to allow the ball to fit through. Repeat. Repeat again. The outside of the cheese should look smooth and very elastic at this point. If it doesn’t, you’ve made a mistake and need to start over.

7) Rest the cheese by placing it in a cold-water bath so the form of the ball holds. Do this for about 30 seconds.

8) Serve the cheese with a copious drizzle of Napa Valley olive oil (you can buy it online), sea salt, and black pepper to taste.

Some hints for success:

Don’t be a wimp- the water is hot- any temperature less than “too hot” is not hot enough and will create inferior lumpy cheese.

Never refrigerate your cheese- it will get tough and rubbery.

Be sure to buy whole milk curds otherwise it will have no flavor.

Do not use anything but excellent quality olive oil with the cheese.

Unfortunately, the only way to really learn how to do this is through repeated failure. Good luck!