This post’s a little different than my other ones. It’s not so much about cooking than it is about an interesting taste-test experience.
By chance, I recently ended up having pizza for lunch three times in a row. Each one was made in a different style, and it’s worth noting the different types of crusts and flavors they were shooting for.
Locally, the upscale chain DeSano’s does an amazing Neapolitan style pizza. Neapolitan pizza has a very thin, airy crust at the base that some equate to the New York style of pizza. However the main difference – likely due to the different levels of gluten in ’00’ flour – lets it char more on the underside while remaining so delicate that a slice is difficult to pick up. Seriously, it’s worth keeping a knife and fork on hand to eat the very tip!
This kind of crust works best with very sparing applications of buffalo mozzerella, sauce, basil, and a relatively dry meat like Prosciutto. I recently tried a new topping, an oven-charred sweet pepper called a ‘peppadew’ which is also amazing!
After the Neapolitan I tried a more humble slice of pie; a store bought Totino’s. While they’re square these days, I could only find a photo of an older round crust. To my surprise, these are good enough in their own right – a distinctively sweet flavor to the sauce that balances out a salty meat and some less-than-stretchy mozzerella. Of interest here is a totally different, rigid, almost cracker-like crust. Perfect for snacking in front of the the television, which is absolutely something you could not do with a Neapolitan pie!
Third up is the classic NYC-style pizza. Our local Austin purveyor is Home Slice, which makes this kind of pizza so perfectly that when you bite in, you can see the steam grates and hear the honk of the yellow taxicabs.
Like a Neapolitan, NYC has a very thin, airy crust. The difference is that it’s less ‘pillowy’ and it’s also more structurally sound. While you may get grease on your fingertips or down your arm, you can and should pick up a slice of this pizza, give it a bit of a fold between your fingers, and dig in. For some reason, NY style pizza goes best with solid, even greasy toppings like pepperoni and sausage.
All I can say is…pizza’s good, full stop. Even the not-so-good stuff…is actually pretty good. (grins!)