Pizza Walk With Me

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marghertia

Making Pizzas with Pittsburgh Pizzaiolo, Dan Cardone

Pizza Essay, Pizza VideoDan TallaricoComment

When I first started dating my now-wife, Christa, I didn't think pizza would become part of the fabric of our relationship. Soon after, I started this website and she has traveled with me on my pizza journeys across the land and film me eat slices of pizza. Around the same time, her father starting really getting into pizza.

His frequent trips to Italy became more frequent. Soon, he was spending weeks at a time at a Pizzaiolo school in Naples. He would return to the states with in-depth knowledge of Neapolitan pizza. A true pizzaiolo. While he has bounced around pizzerias, most of his baking takes place in his backyard where he had a pizza oven constructed next to his bocci court. Some say it's the Little Italy of the North Hills.

This video is from our most recent trip to the North Hills Little Italy. Watch Dan Cardone craft a Margherita pizza - with a big twist. That's right, we defied the strict rules of Margherita pizza and added tiny san marzano tomatoes. They added a nice burst of flavor and a bit of extra zest to the traditional pie.  

Here are a couple of the other pizzas we made that day, as well as the finished Margherita from the one in the video. 

Margherita Pizza San Marzano Tomatoes

Here's the pizza from the video. It was the first of the day and honestly, I think it could've used some more time in the oven. I like em crispy even though it's technically not "correct." The toppings could've been distributed better, but lots of jostling can happen from the walk on the basement to the backyard pizza oven. 

Margherita pizza with aleche

Now here was a divisive pizza! This one has some of that char I love, but it also has anchovies, or alici. When I served this pizza Dan was very clear not to tell people it had anchovies on it and that instead I should use the Italian word for it, alici. No one was fooled. 

And finally, here's one with a mix of shredded cheese. You know it's shredded because it burns up so quickly while the whole mozzarella stays nice and white. 

Oblong margherita pizza tomatoes shredded mozzarella

Pizza Review: Roberta's Airt-Tight Wood Fired Margherita Pizza

Pizza ReviewDan TallaricoComment

Roberta's pizza has thrived in Bushwick on a foundation of quality and freshness. Their business infrastructure was built organically over the course of a year where the Roberta's crew had nothing but close friends and family to rely on. In the Roberta's Cookbook there's a rambling introduction that tries to tell the Roberta's story (they note that it's a story still being written). While trying to capture the spirit they write, "To experience Roberta's, you have to visit it." And now you can purchase a vacuum sealed pizza of theirs in the freezer section of a local Whole Foods.

It's curious that a pizza place that relies so much on experiencing the environment of Roberta's would be one of the first to have their Margherita pizza sealed and sent across state lines. If so much of what makes Roberta's great is the atmosphere and making memories with friends, what good is a pizza divorced of that? 

While it may seem like a cash-in you'll be happy to know that this pizza actually holds up. Most frozen or reheated pizzas have a lingering taste about them. It's the taste of age, or a lack of freshness, that is entirely edible but in a different pizza class of its own. This Roberta's pizza came bubbling back to life after a mere three minutes in the oven. I let it loiter in the oven for a minute longer for extra crispiness. While the pizza was missing that pop of freshness, it is a solid Neapolitan pizza. 

Here's the pizza after spending a few minutes in the oven.

Here's the pizza after spending a few minutes in the oven.

The puddles of cheese held dribbles of olive oil, the sauce was simple and tangy. The pizza was a near perfect facsimile of the one that comes out of a Roberta's oven. Which makes sense as these pizzas are cooked and immediately packaged, freezing a pizza in time until you're ready to open the delicious time capsule. The Margherita is a perfect canvas if you want to add your toppings and doctor up the pizza. The pizza is perfectly balanced as is, and the sauce shines through, but feel free to add a sprinkle of meat.

They did their best to put a quality Margherita pizza into the wild. But the question remains: if you need to visit Roberta's to experience Roberta's, why package the pizza? The Roberta's cookbook was written a while ago and maybe they wised up. Maybe they want to spread their passion for pizza and open up the opportunity to gather with friends and make their memories in their homes. Or parks. Or wherever. The pizza is what draws friends and family together. It doesn't matter where it's eaten, as long as it's eaten with your pizza pals.

Roberta's air-tight Margherita is the king of the freezer section pizza. If you need a Neapolitan pizza in a pinch you can't go wrong with this package. It retails for ~$10 at Whole Foods or you can spend $70 to have it shipped from your door from Gold Bely's