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This is our easy pizza recipe; but before that, a little travel story…
We unboarded our train at the station. There was an air of rowdiness in the air which seemed familiar. In a raw and dysfunctional way, we were made to feel at home. To the left were nuns, gathered in a jovial circle with rosaries hanging from the side of their habits; not bothered at all by the cigarette smoking gang of kids to their right, listening to early Beastie Boys cuts on their loud boombox. Tourists looked dauntedly at the ticket machines hoping they pressed all the right buttons while looking over their shoulder hoping that they haven’t been pickpocketed.
If we didn’t know any better, we would have thought we were back in our hometown, in New York’s Penn Station. We were not. We were in Napoli Centrale. Once outside, we shrugged off the many corpulent, short-sleeved, button-down shirt wearing men, who were approaching us in hopes to take us for a ride. Our city instincts kicked in, and we took the first car that actually had the words “taxi” written on the side of the car and had a meter inside.
We exchanged the mandatory “Ciao” and “Buongiorno” with the driver and asked him to whisk us away to the Chiaia neighborhood. An affluent district with cool boutiques and designer shops, Chiaia is known for its waterfront views and its chic sensibilities. Of all for which it’s known, it’s most known for an establishment that existed in the neighborhood well before it got the upgraded status- Ristorante Pizzeria Mattozzi.
This restaurant has both outdoor seating and indoor. The outdoor area is beautifully tiled surrounded by plants and vines. The indoor, painted in that rustic yellow which is perennially favored throughout the Campania region. With the addition of the almost two-century-old wood-fired ovens, we knew we were about to have some great pizza. We quickly navigated through the menu and ordered a few pies.
This pizzeria established in 1833, from day one is a family-run institution. With the use of simple, high-quality ingredients, they make some of the best pizzas in a town known for being the epicenter of the dish. The pizzas that were brought to our table were a perfect specimen of the quintessential Neapolitan version.
It had the lightly burned corners, and soft center we were expecting. Meant to be eaten with a fork and knife rather than being cut into triangular pieces and eaten by hand. Upon the first forkful, we all realized how special this culinary moment was. Being New Yorkers, we have high standards when it comes to pizza, and this surpassed. With a good bottle of their house wine, it couldn’t be beaten.
I promised myself that when I got back to New York, and ever had the desire to make a pizza, I would follow their lead and only make it with the finest ingredients available.
One day, during a very busy subway commute home, there happened to be a school of nuns on the same platform in which I was standing and was reminded me of that day in Napoli Centrale. I was inspired to make pizza.
I knew my first stop had to be, yet another family establishment, DiPalo’s Fine Foods. Located on Mulberry Street in the heart of New York’s Little Italy for over 100 years, DiPalo’s is the leading Italian specialty shop in the city, offering everything one would need to make a high-quality pizza.
Here I purchased the pizza dough, the imported canned whole cherry tomatoes, the cheeses (taleggio and Parmigiano Reggiano), and the Italian cured bacon (closer to speck, an Italian cured, smoked meat native to the Alto Adige in taste and texture versus the bacon varieties to which we are accustomed here in the States). I also picked up some spinach at our local farmers market.
Here is the Dish Our Town simple pizza recipe:Print
Pizza and Wine Family Style
Easy to make pizza recipe and wine pairings.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: pizza
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: Italian
Let the pizza dough rest until brought to room temperature
Fork crush the whole tomatoes until the consistency is more viscous, but without losing too much of the tomatoes integrity. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and sugar to the sauce.
On a lightly flour dusted surface, stretch out dough from the center, out. The more you stretch the thinner the crust. In wanting to arrive at a pizza that was a hybrid of Neapolitan and New York style pizzas, I went for somewhere in between so it can be eaten both by hand and fork.
Spread tomato sauce, and add toppings (cheeses, and bacon).
Preheat your pizza stone.
Place uncooked pie on top of hot pizza stone and grill or bake at 450 F for 20 minutes.
Add fresh spinach for freshness.
Drizzle some good extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.
When grilling, its sometimes best to make crust without toppings first, then add in the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
- Serving Size: 4
Keywords: pizza, wine, easy family meal
CK Mondavi and Family
Keeping with the family theme; when looking for the best wine pairings for pizza, another establishment comes to mind- CK Mondavi and Family. Since 1943, this family vineyard has been producing some of the most drinkable wines available.
For this specific dish, we chose three: the 2016 Merlot, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2016 Pinot Grigio. Both the Merlot and the Cabernet stood up to the strong flavors brought out from the bacon and tomatoes.
The Cabernet with a hint of oak and a long finish is an especially good pairing. The Pinot Grigio served chilled, brings out the depths and sweetness that the Taleggio and Parmigiano cheeses bring.
Whenever you’ve had a busy day, pick up your ingredients from your family-run businesses, and make this easy pizza recipe. Also be sure to pick up a bottle of wine made by CK Mondavi and Family.
Where to have Pizza in New York:
For true Neapolitan execution and style, visit this New York City outpost. Friendly service and good prices. Located in the Bowery, it also has an element of cool. It’s the only place in the city that truly made us miss Naples. Maybe because the Bowery has a grit about it.
Where to have it in the World:
Located in Naples’ Chiaia neighborhood, this pizzeria has great service and a vibe that equals. The pizza is unequaled.
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