Gimme some gimme some pizza, baby.
La Nathy Peluso speaks for all of us when she belts out her song. Where’s the goddamn pizza? And you, my fellow gordis, want to know the answer, too. A reader wrote in, I am in the mood for a classic Italian-style pizza, where should I go?
So here are three of my favorite pizzas, Italian-specific and Italian-in-spirit. And also, write to me! I’ll (maybe) answer your craving.
Classic neapolitan at San Paolo Pizzeria | Uriarte 1616, Palermo Soho
There is a lot of talk about Italian-inspired, ingredient-driven pizza being the big trend in 2019. But little of that would be possible without a pizzero like Maurizio de Rosa. The Naples-native slings traditional Neapolitan-style pizzas from an oven he built himself, fermented first in crates he made specially to keep the dough drier before being topped and baked for exactly 90 seconds. The obsessive attention to detail pays off—this year de Rosa’s pizzeria was the only South American shop to be recognized by the Italian 50 Best Pizza.
De Rosa isn’t much for messing with history. Although there are modern and traditional options, the house always recommends the classics. The margherita never fails—a roma tomato sauce with a little tang, earthy fresh basil, a touch of mozzarella and a dash of reggiano. The mastunicola, lesser known in these parts but a favorite in Naples, is topped with provolone, basil and a brushstroke of pork lard—the latter pulling out a lovely umami flavor. The dough has a wonderful duality—chewy and thin in the middle with a crunchy bubbly crust. Pops of sourdough flavor fly off the crust with each loud bite.
Roman-style pizza at Cosi Mi Piace | El Salvador 4618, Palermo Soho
Cosi Mi Piace is more than just a fiery pizza oven. It is a push forward for ingredient-driven, often sourced with an eye for good ecology. Herbs and other greens are grown on the terrace above in a hydroponic garden that requires a tenth of the water used in traditional farming. What can’t be grown on site is purchased from an organic farm. Try the heirloom tomatoes painted in olive oil and basil, focaccia with fresh rosemary or a slightly pungent goat ricotta. You’re going to want some pizza, too. Where San Paolo shines in simplicity of flavor, Cosi mi Piace breaks through the wall with loud, often unconventional flavors. Stick to tradition with a diávola, topped with fresh mozzarella and spicy salame, or diverge with a morcilla y huevo, gooey blood sauce and apples topped with a soft-poached egg. Pizzas are tossed and rolled extra thin and often whipped with charred bubbles and a crust that cracks like chicharrón.
Modern Italian at Siamo nel Forno | Costa Rica 5886, Palermo Hollywood
Unless you are ready to grab a seat as soon as the doors swing open, expect a wait. But there is burrata that comes enveloped in prosciutto. Order that first and forget your woes. Soft strips of cured ham break apart and add just the right touch of salt and fat to the wet ball of burrata. You can stay on the cheese train with the equally scrumptious provolone wrapped in prosciutto, a slightly heartier ham-dairy overload. There are also fragrant basil leaves and perky red tomatoes topped with a gooey mozzarella fior de latte with the house caprese.
Guests should calculate roughly one pizza per person. I lean towards the margherita con salsiccia, a richly sauced pie topped with spicy chorizo or the champignon e prosciutto cotto, soft earthy mushrooms with thick slices of ham and salty goat feta. Doughs are thin but meaty—they are fermented slowly and have a lovely slightly sour flavor. 90 seconds in a hot wood burning oven creates a beautiful pillowy crust that bubbles up and burns just enough to add a nice charred flavor. Read our full article here.
Bonus Track | Get the F*ck outta Palermo
Although pies of the Italian persuasion are contained exclusively within Palermo, stretch your legs with these: the North American-Italian hybrid pizza at the decidedly familial Bandini Pizzeria over in Villa Urquiza, grab the caprichosa, topped with salty capers and artichoke hearts; grab a warm spring seat over at Pony Pizza, the pizza is particularly puffy with airy bubbles that chew like a sourdough bun ripped straight out of the oven. Never discount a good pizza a la piedra, the porteño version of the Italian standard. Jaimito’s is a neighborhood bodegón permanently stuck in the 1970s, with formica tables that were their long before Anafe made them popular again. Order, without fail, the mozzarella, top it off with a moscato and soda and do yourself a favor with a flan mixto.