Monday, April 18, 2011

Spacca Napoli

There are generally two major schools of thought on how pizza should be prepared. The New York Style is a large thin crust pizza with a minimal amount of sauce and cheese. A piece is generally a bit unwieldy so they are frequently folded to be eaten. The Chicago Style pizza is a deep dish style that is formed and cooked in a cast iron pan. It is also derisively referred to as a pizza casserole. While opinions are very strong as to which of these is the "right" way to have pizza, they are actually both wrong. Pizza originated in Naples, Italy, and the "right way" is the original Neapolitan style. There are a few places in Chicago that do a Neapolitan pizza, but the best of them is the place I went to last Friday, Spacca Napoli. So what is a Neapolitan pizza? It is a small (about 8 inches) thin crust pizza that is flame roasted in a brick oven. The crust is chewy and usually has a little char. Pizzas are either Rosso or red and served with an Italian tomato sauce and olive oil and Bianco or white which is simply topped with olive oil. Toppings are fairly minimal with mozzarella cheese and generally one or two other things like sausage or mushrooms. To start our dinner, we started with a burrata for or appetizer. A burrata starts with a ball of fresh mozzarella. The center is removed, mixed with cream and returned to the ball which results in an usually creamy texture. Burrata is Italian for buttered (which is how it actually tastes) and is served with bread (although it does taste great all by itself). For our entrees, my companion and I each ordered a pizza. We ended up ordering a white and a red pizza although both featured mushrooms. The white pizza was called a Bianco Nero and had Pecorino Romano with Black Truffle, Fior di Latte Mozzarella, Porcini Mushrooms, and White Truffle Oil. It smelled strongly of truffles and it hit me as soon as it hit the table.

The red pizza was a Funghi and, as you might guess, featured mushrooms. It had Fior di Latte Mozzarella, Basil, and Mushrooms. Both pizzas were very good although admittedly, I liked the truffle pizza better.

As we were out at a nice restaurant and we were offered dessert, what could we do but order dessert? I had a Zabaglione which was a cramy custard made with Marsala wine and topped with raspberries. It was light and sweet and very good and while the wine could be tasted, it was subtle. Our other dessert was called with a Tartufo and started with a frozen zabaione (like the zabaglione) wrapped in a chocolate mousse gelato, hazelnuts, and cocoa powder. This is as decadent was as decadent as it looks and sounds. We really enjoyed our dinner but as we were leaving, we were given another surprise. Instead of mints that many other restaurants give at exit, they were giving cannolis. i love me some cannolis so of course I had to have one. It made a great end to a great dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Reading this is making me hungry. Bonus cannolis - yeah!