Category Archives: Pizza

Return to Sorbillo on the Bowery NYC for Pizza

I went to Sorbillo Pizzeria on the Bowery in NYC when it first opened.  Together with a friend, Michele and I had  three different pizzas. Michele liked them better than I did, but even she did not think they were that good. Then last month I was invited by Roberto Caporusio of Keste Wall Street to celebrate Neapolitan pizza being granted World Heritage Status by the United Nations. Roberto invited pizzaioli from NYC and other parts of the country.

Pizzaioli: Pietro Nesi, Antonio Esposito and Geggè Cozzolino

I noticed that one of the pizzaioli was from Sorbillo on the Bowery in NYC. I watched him as he made a pizza and when it came out of the oven I went over and had a slice or two. It was wonderful and I asked him his name and he said it was Geggè Cozzolino and he was from Naples. I told him next time I come to Sorbillo I wanted him to make my pizza. He said he would, but I should not come on Monday as it is his day off.

Yesterday Michele and I and 3 friends went to Sorbillo for lunch and Geggè made the pizza for us.  It was wonderful.

Geggè

Geggè with the Margarita

 

The Margarita — classic Neapolitan pie with tomato, mozzarella fior di latte and basil.

Folded pizza stuffed with escarole, olives, cheese and pine nuts.

Pizza with Pancetta and Nduja, a spicy sausage, and cheese

Bologna style, with Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Other than the Margarita, we let Geggè decide which pizzas to make for us.  Everybody agreed on how good they were and we will be going back soon.

We brought our own wine and it was a perfect combination with the pizzas.  A Toscana Rosso, Fontefossoli  2014, the wine is made from 60% Montepulciano and 40% Ciliegiolo and the vineyard is certified organic. This is an easy drinking wine with nice red fruit aromas and flavors. The producer is Ceccherini.

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Celebrating UN Recognition of Neapolitan Pizza at Keste

Last week I received  a text from Roberto Caprouscio of Kesté Wall Street that he had invited 8 pizzaioli from all over the country to make pizza with him. The occasion was a celebration of the fact that the tradition of Neapolitan pizza making was being granted World Heritage Status by the United Nations and being added to  UNESCO’s “Intangible list. ”  I saw the text at 1:00 and the event started at 4:00. Roberto said that they had decided at the last minute.  Some of the pizzaioli did not know until the night before and had just flown in that morning.  It was a offer I could not refuse!  

There were so many pizzas being made  at once  I was not always sure which pizzaiolo made which pizza.

Giorgia and Roberto Caporuscio and the Pizzaioli

 

Giulio Adriani from Atlanta and his Pizza with Zucchini Flowers

This folded “pizza” was made by Geggei Cozzolino of Sorbillo on the Bowery, NYC

Ready for the oven

Ready to eat

Geggei making pizza

Marinara ready to eat

Jonathan Goldsmith from Spaccanapoli in Chicargo with a pizza of his own creation.

Marco Dym of Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza, Denver

Edoardo Duran, Eatly NYC, and Luca Arrigoni, Sottocasa, Brooklyn NY

Pizza with Mozzarella and Baby Tomatoes

Gennaro Pecchia at Work

Giorgia Caporuscio of Kesté Making a Margarita Pizza.

Ciro Iovine of Song e Napule NYC

The perfect Margarita

Michele D’Amelio

We ended with a Focaccia made by Roberto and his special salami

 

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Four Master Pizzaioli at Kesté

Last week I received a text from Roberto Caporuscio of Keste Wall Street that he was making pizza with three other famous pizzaioliz that night. I had plans for dinner but as soon as dinner was over I  jumped in a cab and arrived just time as Roberto was making a Tiella “pie” a speciality from the town of Gaeta.

The filling.  Escarole, squid and black olives.

Ready for the oven.

Roberto shaving truffles on the Tiella– this would never happen in Gaeta.

The finished Tiella.

 

John Arena  made a pizza from an American flour that he developed.

Roberto  made a Roman style pizza.

 

The finished Roman pizza. Better than in Rome

Vincent Rotolo

The other Pizzaioli were Nino Coniglio and Vincent Rotolo.

New York Style Pizza or Detroit Style. Depends on where you live

Square Pizza Sicilian style – The best of this style I ever tasted!

An evening of great pizzaioli making great pizzas at Keste!  I only wish I had gotten there earlier to taste all of them.

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Special Pizza to Aid Hurricane Relief

 

It is not often that two top pizzaioli join together in a pizza making event to share Neapolitan pizza making techniques and collaborate in making pizza to benefit hurricane victims.

The event was held at Keste Wall Street( 66 Gold Street NYC )Roberto Caporuscio newest location. Roberto was joined by Tony Gemignani, a 12 time pizza champion, cookbook author and restaurant owner from the West Coast.

Roberto speaking about the dough

Roberto said, “It’s important that the centuries-old art of Neapolitan pizza-making is preserved for generations to come. Tony and I have so much respect and passion for what we do and love to share it with others. While he’s (Tony) in town from the West Coast, we thought it would be fun to get together and offer pizza-lovers an evening of tasting and teaching.”

There was a friendly competition as to who would make the best special pizza. Tony went first.  His version was made with butternut squash, mascarpone, fried brussels sprouts and a drizzle of sorghum.  

Roberto’s was topped with peas, prosciutto di Parma, pancetta, house made burrata and a drizzle of local honey. The pizza will be offered as a special at all of Roberto’s restaurants through November. Proceeds from sales will be donated to the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Irma relief fund.

Giorgia and Roberto

Giorgia Caporuscio, Roberto’s daughter an award winning pizzaiola in her own right, made the  Caporuscio version of the pizza.

The Caporuscio version being prepared by Georgia 

The finished pizza

The preparation of the Margarita

Ready to eat

 

 

 

Then she made a pizza with zucchini flowers whole tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella- preparation

 

Ready to eat

 

 

Tony signed copies of his new book

 

 

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Three Pre- Birthday Celebrations with Wine and Food

The first celebration took place at the Oriental Gardens restaurant in New York Cities China Town

Soft Shell Crabs and they were fantastic!

We started with the Champagne Krug 1990  from the Krug Collection.

Then a fried sole with scallions.

Chablis Grand Cru just great

Puligny- Montrachet needs more time

1979 Chinon excellent

There was more food and wine but I got caught up in the eating and drinking.

 

Next on to La Pizza Fresca

We started with Krug NV

Then Chianti Classico 1971 Riserva Ducale from Ruffino

Pizza Margarita

Chateaueuf-du-Papes 1990 right on the money

Amarone 1967 Bertani

Pizza with Prosciutto

A young man waiting for his pizza

 

Next was Gastronomia Siciliana Norma

Buratta with arugula

Spaghetti with sea urchin (ricci di Mare) was fantastic

Chianti Classico 1996

Pizza with porchetta

Barolo 1989 – barolo at its best 1989 was a great vintage!

 

 

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Pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio Revisited

Interview with a True “Pizzaiolo”, Roberto Caporuscio

CHARLES SCICOLONE (April 18, 2009)

Roberto Caporuscio Presenting his Pizzas
Recently, Roberto Caporuscio opened a new offshoot of his groundbreaking New York pizzeria, Keste.  The new place, known as Keste Wall Street, is located at Fulton and Gold Streets in the trendy Financial District.  It is big, with space for pizza classes and private parties, a full bar and plenty of seating.  But Roberto, and his pizza, have not changed a bit.  Here is what Michele and I wrote about him when we first discovered the original Keste.

With all of the pizzerias here in New York City, we are thrilled to have Pizzeria Keste which is dedicated to making genuine Neapolitan style pizza. Roberto Caporuscio is a true pizzaiolo and Keste raises the pizza bar in this city.

It seemed like only a few moments passed between the time we ordered our pizza Margarita and its arrival sizzling hot at the table.  Light, crisp and full of flavor, Michele said it was the best pizza she had eaten since Naples.   Rosario, one of the owners whom we had met before came by to see how we liked the pizza and introduced us to the pizzaiolo, Roberto Caporuscio.  Roberto, who is a wealth of knowledge about pizza, is from Campania and has a passion for Neapolitan style pizza and trained and worked in Naples.  He has also made pizza in Denver, Chicago, Pittsburgh and NJ, among other places.  He asked us which pizza places we liked in NYC and Naples and we realized that we liked many of the same places. Meanwhile, we had finished eating and Keste was getting busy.  Roberto asked us if we would like to come back to see how he made the pizza from scratch.  We gave him an enthusiastic Yes! And made a date for the following Monday.

Roberto’s experience making pizza in Italy and around the US taught him that despite the common belief, the water did not make a big difference in the finished pie.  The temperature and humidity were more important because these would affect how long the dough takes to rise. He does not use a “biga” starter.  He only uses fresh natural cake yeast that must be kept in the refrigerator.  Dry yeast does not do the job and can leave spots in the pizza. He uses a very small amount of yeast, 1 gram per liter of water, and lets the dough rise very slowly.

Roberto uses “double zero” Antimo Caputo flour in 55 lb bags.  It is made especially for pizza from seven different kinds of wheat. The wheat is ground very slowly so as not to damage the flour and the nutrients.  This flour gives you dough that is easier to stretch and the slow rise gives you more flavor and makes it lighter. Roberto does not put the dough in the refrigerator but leaves it out to rise for 18 to 24 hours.

The flour, water, salt and yeast are mixed in a special machine that has two arms and moves very slowly. The slow movement mixes the dough without heat buildup. It takes about 20 minutes for it to be ready. The dough remains in the machine until Roberto is ready to transfer it to a table where it continues to rise. When it is ready, the dough is shaped into 9.5 ounce balls.  The shaping method is the same for making mozzarella.  The finished balls are put into plastic boxes to rise. Roberto tried to find wooden boxes but did not like any of them. It takes about 20 minutes to shape the mass into individual balls. The finished dough is so soft, you might expect it to stick to your hands, but it does not. Roberto makes sure every ball of dough is perfectly round because any holes or gaps would prevent the pizzas from lying flat in the oven and they would not bake properly.

When it is time to make a pizza, Roberto takes a ball of dough and with his fingers spreads it into a disk. He rotates the disk by quarter turns–it takes less than a minute to reach its final shape. He makes sure that the pizza is not too thin in the middle, if it is the cornicione or rim will be too thick. I have never seen a pizzaiolo in Naples toss the pizza in the air, but I had to ask anyway. Roberto gave me a look and said that the dough is not to play with, it is food!

Next he puts on the sauce, starting in the middle and working in circles toward the edges– not too much sauce in the middle. Buffalo mozzarella is then added and some basil and a touch of olive oil. The wood burning oven is 900 degrees. He stretchers the dough a little more before putting it on the peel. I took out my watch and timed it.  A perfect Pizza Margarita was done in only 45 seconds.  From the time Roberto touches the dough and to the time the pizza arrives at your table is less than five minutes!  Like the classic Neapolitan pizza, it is 9-10 inches and has a crust that is neither too thin nor too thick.  It can be folded in half and then folded again into quarters, without cracking or breaking the crust. Only the edge, called the cornicione, is crisp, though it is also chewy.

Roberto grew up on a farm, and would milk the cows and make cheese. He told us a story of feeding the cows tomato skins so the milk had a pink tinge to illustrate for us that what you feed the cows determines what the cheese will taste like. He loves cheese and uses different types on his pizzas.  He says that he varies his pizza toppings as long as they make sense. Once a customer asked him to make a pizza with pineapple as a topping.  He considered it an insult and refused.   Would you have sushi and ask the chef to put Mozzarella on it?

In addition to the superb Margarita, we also tried Roberto’s Roman style pizza made with thin sliced potatoes, and the Mastro Nicola which is Roberto’s interpretation of the earliest Neapolitan pie, before tomatoes were introduced to Italy.  It was topped with pecorino, herbs and lard.

With all of the pizzerias here in New York City, we are thrilled to have Pizzeria Keste which is dedicated to making genuine Neapolitan style pizza.  Roberto Caporuscio is a true pizzaiolo and Keste raises the pizza bar in this city.

Here is a photo of Roberto Caporuscio at Keste Wall Street at the recent Strada di Mozzarella presentation for pizza Napoletana.

 

Keste’ Pizza & Vino
271 Bleecker St
New YorkNY 10014
(212) 243-1500‎

Keste’Wall Street

66 Gold Street, NY, NY

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Haccademia: A Great Pizzeria on the Road to Mt. Vesuvius

Last year I was in Benevento for Campania Stories, a tasting of the wines of Campania for journalists. My friend, the wine writer Tom Hyland, introduced me to Marina Alaimo a wine and food writer from Naples and we spoke about wine and pizza. When I told her that Michele and I would be in Naples in February she said that we must contact her and we did.img_2566

Marina picked us up and took us to Haccademia, a pizzeria on via Panoramica 8 in Terzigno less than half an hour outside Naples on the way to Pompeii. Marina told us that the road that passes in front of the restaurant leads directly to the top of Vesuvio.

Maria Consiglia Izzo, a food blogger and photographer, and the sommelier Fosca Tortorelli joined us at the restaurant to sample the pizza. Marina introduced us to the owner, Aniello Falanga and his son Nicola.

Maria said Aniello is a self-taught pizzaiolo. He has devoted his attention to studying the techniques of raising and maturing the dough in order to make it more digestible and light as a cloud.

Aniello and Nicola at work

Aniello and Nicola at work

Aniello is very passionate when it comes to speaking about pizza. He is an advisor to pizza places both in Italy and abroad and taught the art of pizza making for many years. He has won many awards and is mentioned in Gambero Rosso and Slow Food Vesuvius. He even goes to elementary schools in the Naples area to teach young children how to make pizza.

Aniello with his Pizza Fritta

Aniello with his Pizza Fritta

Aniello began working as a pizzaiolo in 1985 and opened his own pizzeria in 1989. For 20 years he had a pizzeria in Pompei. He has just received the stamp of approval # 631 from Association Vera Pizza Napoletana which certifies authentic Neapolitan pizza.

On Thursdays and Fridays, Aniello makes a special pan pizza. For this he uses flour made of ancient varieties of grains, which he has researched. img_2540The flour is made from variety of grain from the hills of Beneventane and is stone ground. Unfortunately, our visit was on a Wednesday so we did not get to try this pizza, though we did try several others.

 

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Aniello explained each pizza that we were served.

They are all traditional Neapolitan pizza. The ingredients he uses reflect the area around Vesuvius.img_2542

Four Bocconcini di Montanara: little fried rounds of pizza dough topped with ragu of beef, baccala, tomato and mozzarella, and anchovies and burrata.img_2545

Pizza Margarita antichi pomodori di Napoli, fiore di latte di Tramonti, basilico, olio evo del Vesuvio. My favorite pizza and it was Pizza Margarita at its best.img_2548

Pizza with winter quash, guanciale, pumpkin seeds and mozzarella. Michele and I have never had a pizza before with this topping and it was so good.img_2554

Pizza Luisella: scarola Napoletano, fiore di latte Tramonti, olive nere itrane, capperi di Salina, alici di Cetara, pinoli tostati e olio di Vesuvio. This may have been Michele’s favorite because in contained all the flavors of Campania and was so fresh tasting.img_2555

Montanara mozzarella, tomato and basil-topped fried pizza at its best. Aniello told us that after frying the dough and adding the toppings, he places it briefly in the oven to melt the cheese and enhance the crispness.img_2560

Pizza fritta with ricotta and ciccoli di maiale. This was so light it was difficult to tell it was fried, and the filling was creamy and well seasoned.

Fosca

Fosca and Marina

The first wine  we drank was selected by Fosca and the second by Marina

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Fosca suggested we start with the Caprettone Spumante Method Classico 100% Caprettone from Casa Setaro. This was an excellent choice. I met Massimo Setaro in Rome last October. See https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/a-taste-of-vesuvius-in-rome-casasetaro-winery/img_2546

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso “Vigna Lapillo” Sorrentino made from 80% Piedirosso and 20% Aglianico. Marina picked this wine because the winery is only a few minutes away and we were going to visit it after lunch.

 

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Before we left, Aniello insisted we try his Baba au Rhum. Not too sweet, it was surely the best version of this dessert I have ever eaten and great way to end a wonderful lunch.

 

 

 

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