I love pizza. It is the perfect food. You can eat it with your hands (if you have to), it can contain vegetables, fat, carbs and is the perfect vehicle for leftovers. It can be as fancy as you want or as plain and simple as it comes. I don’t recommend eating it every day, like I probably did in college, and if you are watching your carbohydrate intake you should probably take a break from it. But, for the rest of us I say pizza, pizza, pizza.
My wife and I have a handful of pizza places that we really enjoy. In Los Angeles, we really love Pizzeria Mozza. It is a wonderful treat that we sneak off to every few months. It is not cheap but the pizzas, the appetizers and the wine are all exquisite. When we are in New York we have two favorites. Similar to Mozza and also owned by Mario Batali is Otto. We have the same routine at both. We usually go in the late afternoon when they are the least busy. We sit at the bar, order a few appetizers and a glass or two of wine and split a pizza and sometimes two. At Otto, we have gotten to know the daytime bar tender and he always steers us toward what is most delicious on the menu and from the bar. We meet really interesting people, usually folks from the neighborhood, and always have a fantastic date.
The other New York pizza that we enjoy is La Pizza Fresca. The restaurant is a lovely little unassuming place with one of the most comprehensive Italian wine lists in the city and a wood fired pizza oven that churns out a beautiful thin crust pizza in the Naples tradition. Unlike the Mario Batali joints, Fresca does not make you wonder whether you broke a window when the check comes.
One of the best aspects of both Otto and Mozza is that they are open all day. My wife and I constantly lament that more restaurants aren’t open all day. This makes no sense. One person walking in for a late lunch should be able to cover the cost of a skeleton staff for the period between traditional lunch and dinner. Also, once the word gets out that a place is open all day more people will take advantage of it.
- Pizza Skin or Two (recipe earlier this year on this site)
- Roasted Red and Yellow Pepper
- Handful of Mushrooms (your choice), sliced
- Chunk of Goat Cheese
- Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Chef’s Knife
- Pizza Stone
- Saute Pan
- Pizza Peel
- Roast the peppers either on the grill, in the oven or directly on a gas burner. You want the skin to char and allow enough time for the pepper to soften. Let cool, remove the skin and seeds and slice into thin strips.
- Collect the pepper strips in a small bowl, drizzle liberally with olive oil. Salt and pepper and mix up with your fingers. Let sit for a few hours (or a few minutes if you can’t wait)
- Saute the mushrooms in a little olive oil. Salt to wick the moisture out.
- Once your vegetables are prepared, pre heat the oven with the pizza stone to 450.
- Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on a pizza skin. Rub it around with your fingers.
- Lay down a layer of mushrooms.
- Arrange a spiral of yellow and red roasted pepper slivers.
- Dollop goat cheese evenly.
- Sprinkle the rosemary over top and pepper to taste.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.