Straight-up Domino’s and Natty Ice have their time and place (stranded at a frat party?), but our tastes seem to have grown up with us. Now, if we’re looking to get our slice on, we’re reaching for a bottle of indie wine and small-batch pizza toppings to upgrade our local takeout. And if we’re feeling inspired, we’ll go so far as to make our own pizza. Why not? With our nonna-certified tomato sauces, indie charcuterie, veggie-packed spreads and melt-worthy cheese, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
It may be painful to say goodbye to the cute delivery boy or girl who have your order memorized and always throws in a free soda, but making pizza is easy as pie – especially if you get pre-made dough at the supermarket.
Start with a base, like Nonna’s Sweet Tomato Sauce. Its sweetness is thanks to vine-ripened tomatoes, but also due to the addition of carrots, caramelized onions and sweet bell peppers. If you’re more of a hot head, go for Nonna’s Spicy Sauce. This Jersey tomato gravy gets a touch of agave nectar, and also features capers, which lend a briny accent. In this case, there's truth in advertising... "Spicy" is spicy (thanks to Calabrian peppers!), so beware! By the way, the sauces made by City Saucery come from a real “Nonna” (that’s Italian for “grandma” for the non-paisans). Nonna Carolina is co-founder Michael Marino's own mother! She credits her training from her nonna in Calabria (the southernmost region of the Italian boot). Nonna Carolina supervises every step of the process, so you know this sauce is legit.
Now comes the cheese. If we’re going for a red sauce base, we like to top it with a shredded cheese that’ll melt well, like Briana or Tekenink Tomme. Briana, made by Leslie and Matthew, the husband-and-wife team of Jacobs & Brichford Farm in Indiana, is one of the more complex cheeses we’ve tasted – nice and firm, it starts off salty but finishes sweet, tart and creamy. And for those that love Cheddar but who are looking for something a little different and with better melt-ability, Tekenik, an organic, raw cow’s milk cheese made by family-run Robinson Farm in Massachusetts, is a great choice.
If we’re doing a white pizza (sans red sauce), we like to swap in Sutter Buttes’ creamy and briny Olive And Parmesan Tapenade as the “sauce,” topped with generous dollops of Vermont Creamery’s tangy Fresh Goat Cheese. Once out of the oven, a finishing drizzle of earthy, fragrant White Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil makes us feel fancy. And, in case you were wondering, no synthetic ingredients here – real truffles get macerated with the oil, infusing it with flavor until it’s bottled.
If we’re in a meat mood but feeling a little more luxe than processed pepperoni, a thin layer of melt-in-your-Mouth La Quercia American Prosciutto finished with a handful of arugula on top is always a good call. When we want something a little more toothsome, we go for a dry-cured Country Style Salami from Charlito's Cocina. Charlito's takes its influence from Spain, where Charlito himself spent time with family learning tradition. It's made only using 100% pasture-raised, heritage-breed pork and hand-harvested fleur de sel.
And then, of course, no matter what kind of pizza we’re having, a bottle of Mike’s Hot Honey is always close by.
It's #NationalPizzaWeek! To celebrate, we're 1. Eating a lot of pizza and 2. Talking about pizza all week. Don't miss our last #MOUTHwatering post about skipping the line and making New York's famous Artichoke pizza at home.