A couple of weeks ago, Chef Nick posted some culinary reviews and photos from his recent trip to New York. One thing in particular stuck with me – a description of the arugula pizza from Luzzo’s on 1st Avenue in Manhattan, which he followed up with a photo.
Saturday was pizza day at chez nous, so I checked Nick’s description again and went shopping for the proper ingredients. (Tip: tread lightly when you go into your friendly neighbourhood Italian charcuterie and say “give me your best prosciutto!” At $60 per kilo, it gets pricey!)
As usual, we started with a pizza Margherita – zen-like in its delicious simplicity. That worked out quite well, so I was psyched to try the arugula pie.
I stretched out the second dough and spread it with my home-made sauce – a simple sauce of San Marzano tomatoes, a pinch of salt, a small scattering of basil, and a touch of garlic. I let it cook for no more than five minutes, and when it cools down I pour in a big slug of extra virgin olive oil.
Then I scattered on a handful of grated Friulano cheese (not too much), then some chunks of fresh mozzarella. I slid the pie into the oven (hot as I can make it; 550° F) and sat back to watch. The dough rose instantly and things in the middle were bubbling madly. When using a well-heated pizza stone, it takes only about six minutes to make a pizza in a 550° oven, so I had to be vigilant. When it was almost done, I pulled the pie out, scattered on some torn strips of prosciutto, and put it back in the oven for another minute.
Then I pulled the pie out of the oven and scattered a bunch of raw baby arugula across the top, followed by a handful of shaved parmiggiano cheese. The idea is that you don’t want to cook those last two ingredients, but the heat from the pizza warms them and releases their delicious aromas.
Here it is:
Not bad for a first attempt. It even looks a bit like Luzzo’s except that it’s way smaller and not so uniformly round. (My pizzas almost always take an odd shape.) It uses pretty much the same ingredients, except for the Friulano, which was my idea (I’ve used it before – it mixes nicely with mozz.)
And it tasted great! What an interesting combination of flavors. I will definitely make this one again. Thanks to Chef Nick and Luzzo’s for the inspiration!