(llustrated titles to come)


Way to Geaux, Jeaux! by Donny Rouse, CEO, 3 rd Generation

I can remember when LSU first signed Joe Burrow, a transfer quarterback from Ohio State. Over three seasons as backup in Ohio, Burrow had made just two touchdowns. But Coach O recognized talent when he saw it. I like to think we do that at Rouses, too — our VP of Operations started out as a service clerk stocker.

2019 was our first year as an official sponsor of LSU Athletics. LSU went undefeated in the toughest conference in all of college football. And Burrow threw an SEC-record 48 touchdown passes. In fact, he had one of the greatest passing seasons in college football history. It seemed like the whole country — yes, probably even you Alabama fans — was pulling for him to win the Heisman. It was the heart he showed during his Heisman acceptance speech that left Coach O and the rest of us crying like we’d been cutting onions all day. “I’m up here for all those kids in Athens County…who go home to not a lot of food on the table…” he said, inspiring donations to the Athens County Food Pantry from all over the country. Feeding the hungry is something we can all support, and we make it easy to help; you can join us in donating to our local food banks at any Rouses Market year-round. Just scan a coupon at the register to add to your bill, or purchase a pre-packed bag of canned goods for $10, which we will deliver for you. In his speech, Burrow gave credit to his LSU teammates for welcoming a kid from Ohio coming down to the bayou. That’s the Cajun spirit we talk about. A coach’s son himself,

he teared up while thanking Coach O for “…taking a chance on me not knowing if I could play or not,” and introducing him to crawfish and gumbo. Coach O is just like the rest of us on the Gulf Coast; we love to share our local food — our seafood, gumbos, boudin and all the great food this area is known for. Speaking of sharing our food: We catered a lot of tailgates at LSU’s Oaks this season, including all of the ones for Robin and Jim Burrow, Joe’s parents. Robin told an interviewer that she “loves, loves, loves [our] boudin balls and jambalaya and gumbo.” We love, love, love Robin. We heard from our tailgate team in Baton Rouge that she and Joe are some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. Watching them in interviews, it’s easy to see where Joe gets his humility. Burrow will likely be the number one pick in the NFL draft come April. But whether he’s number one in the draft or not, the adopted son of Louisiana — Jeaux Burreaux — will always be number one to us. Happy New Year, and thanks for a great 2019. I look forward to all the fun and food we’ll share in 2020.




cover photo by romney caruso Table of Contents




What Is Pepperoni? by Sarah Baird


Pizza Margherita Classic Caesar Salad Classic Italian Salad Apple, Gorgonzola & Arugula Pizza



To Dip or Not to Dip by David W. Brown


Letter from Donny Rouse




The Pineapple of My Pie by David W. Brown


Letter from the Editor


New York Style Pizza Chicago Pan Pizza


Pitcher Perfect Beer by Ken Wells

8 9

Letter from Ali Rouse Royster

Departments & Services

28 29 30 31 54 55 56 57 58 61

All You Knead Is Love


Dough & Cooking


White Sauce Red Sauce

A Slice of History by Sarah Baird


Pesto Sauce

New York, New York by Robert Simonson

Cauliflower Pizza Crust


Pie in the Chi by Robert Simonson

Fathead Pizza

Boudin Calzone


The “Gratest” Thing Since Sliced Pizza by Liz Thorpe

Crawfish Calzone

Hazelnut & Strawberry Pizza


When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie by Michael Tisserand

Mardi Gras Pizza


Pizzerias by Justin Nystrom


Frozen in Time by Sarah Baird

Why Pizza?

In survey after survey, we rank pizza as our favorite food. (It’s also our favorite wayto cheat on our diet). Each of us eats about 46 slices of pizza ayear.

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From one family-owned company to another, congratulations on your 60 th anniversary! CHEERS to ROUSES th ANNIVERSARY!

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Start your year off right! Look

for the Certified logos in stores,

resolve to shop certified.

farmer’s markets and restaurants

to support Louisiana businesses

and families, while keeping your

dollars at home and helping the

local economy.

Buy certified louisiana products today!


cozy up with a fresh cup of southern coffee. TRY ALL OF OUR LOCALLY-ROASTED BLENDS!


RITZ 4-Layer Mexican Toppers Total Time: 15 min | Makes: 6 servings, 4 topped crackers each. What You Need: 24 RITZ Crackers 1/4 cup guacamole 1/4 cup rinsed canned low-sodium black beans 2 Tbsp. salsa 2 small fresh jalapeño peppers, each cut into 12 thin slices

Make It: Top crackers with remaining ingredients.

Jazz it Up: Spoon 2 Tbsp. sour cream evenly over topped crackers. Nutrition Information Per Serving: 90 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 1g total sugars, 1g protein


Sarah Baird Sarah Baird is the author of multiple books including New Orleans Cocktails and Flask , which was released this summer. A 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, her work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Saveur, Eater, Food & Wine and The Guardian , among others. Previously, she served as restaurant critic for the New Orleans alt-weekly, Gambit Weekly , where she won Critic of the Year in 2015 for her dining reviews.

Romney Caruso Romney is a Mandeville resident and has been a professional photographer for over 25 years. He has styled and photographed food for hundreds of local and national publications, and for several cookbooks. His portrait series of chefs and bartenders, titled “Shakers, Knives & Irons,” was displayed in New Orleans and Los Angeles. BEGGARS Distinguished Professor of History at Loyola University New Orleans where he teaches American History, Foodways, and Oral History. He is the author of the James Beard nominated Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture and New Orleans after the Civil War: Race, Politics, and a New Birth of Freedom. Robert Simonson Robert writes about cocktails, spirits, bars, and bartenders for The New York Times . He is also a contributing editor and columnist at PUNCH . His books include The Old-Fashioned (2014), A Proper Drink (2016) and 3-Ingredient Cocktails (2017), which was nominated for a 2018 James Beard Award. He was also a primary contributor to The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails (2015). Robert won the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s 2019 Spirited Award for Best Cocktail and Spirits Writer, and his work, which has also appeared in Saveur, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, New York magazine, and Lucky Peach , has been nominated for a total of 11 Spirited Awards and two IACP Awards. A native of Wisconsin, he lives in Brooklyn. Liz Thorpe Liz Thorpe is a world-class cheese expert. A Yale graduate, she left a “normal” job in 2002 to work the counter at New York’s famed Murray’s Cheese. She is the founder of The People ’ s Cheese , and author of The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You ’ ll Love and The Cheese Chronicles . Justin A. Nystrom Justin is the Peter J. Cangelosi/

Michael Tisserand Michael is a New Orleans-based author whose books include The Kingdom of Zydeco ; Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White ; and a post-Katrina memoir, Sugarcane Academy , about Tisserand and other parents persuading one of his children’s teachers, Paul Reynaud, to start a school among the sugarcane fields of New Iberia. Tisserand is a founding member of the Laissez Boys Social Aide and Leisure Club, a Mardi Gras parading organization. KenWells Ken grew up on the banks of Bayou Black deep in South Louisiana’s Cajun belt. He got his first newspaper job as a 19-year-old college dropout, covering car wrecks and gator sightings for The Courier , a Houma, Louisiana weekly, while still helping out in his family’s snake-collecting business. Wells journalism career includes positions as senior writer and features editor for The Wall Street Journal ’s Page One. His latest book, Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou , is in stores now.

DavidW. Brown David is a regular contributor to The Atlantic , The Week and Mental Floss . His work also appears in Vox , The New York

Times , Writer’s Digest and Foreign Policy magazine. He is a regular commentator for television and radio.



Letter from the Editor by Marcy Nathan, Creative Director

Marketing & Advertising Director Tim Acosta

Creative Director & Editor Marcy Nathan

Art Director, Layout & Design Eliza Schulze

We ate so much pizza for this issue you’d think I’d be sick of it,

Illustrator Kacie Galtier

but I’m eating a cold slice as I write this. I have a terrible habit of eating at my computer even though I know I shouldn’t. When I took it to be repaired recently they degunked the keyboard and found a whole cat’s worth of fur and an entire bag of SmartPop!. I like popcorn. I love pizza. I honestly cannot count the number of Totino’s Party Pizzas and Stouffer’s French Bread Pizzas I bought from the 24-hour Munchie Mart at Vanderbilt, where I majored in drinking. There is a man — a fellow by the name of Dan Janssen — who claims that he has eaten pizza nearly every meal for the past 25 years. I’m not there yet, but I did spend a summer in New York during graduate school when I ate almost nothing but street-corner slices. Texas has hold ’em; New York has fold ’em. I quickly learned that the trick is to fold your slice in half lengthwise to make it portable. That keeps the runaway cheese, toppings and tomato sauce (mostly) on the crust as you walk and eat. Last year around this time, I was lucky enough to represent Rouses at a food show in Italy. You won’t be surprised to hear I squeezed a lifetime of eating pizza into one week. I ate thin and crispy Roman pizza; pizza al taglio — pizza by the cut, which resembles focaccia; and true Neapolitan pizza, which is made according to strict rules to ensure both quality and authenticity — it even has to be certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. I snuck a whole bell of Provolone cheese back to the United States in my suitcase. I’d have snuck the pizzaiolo from Pizzarium if he’d have fit in my bag. Food, as we’ve said before in these pages, is about people. Like pizzas, they can be thick or thin, but none are quite like the ones you grew up with. I will always have fond memories of Pizza Hut, because that’s where my parents took us when we were kids. Now, I know Pizza at the Hut has about as much resemblance to authentic Italian pizza as gumbo with carrots does to Dooky Chase’s, but back then it was one of the only pizza places in town. My sisters and I loved it. One particular visit stands out in my memory. We were enjoying a typical, kid-friendly pepperoni pizza. The couple a few tables away ordered what must have been a supreme pizza; it was covered with lots of exotic (to us kids) toppings. After they ate a few slices, they got up and left. The rest of the pizza was just sitting there, untouched. My father reached over and snatched it. My mother clutched her pearls. But just as Dad was finishing his first piece of “adult” pizza, the couple returned. FROM THE BATHROOM. My parents ended up buying them a whole pizza to replace the slice my dad ate. We tease my dad about it to this day. The moral of the story? No matter how serious the case of food envy, do not take leftover food off another table…unless you are absolutely certain the other party has departed the restaurant.

Production Manager McNally Sislo

Corporate Chef Marc Ardoin

Photo Director Romney Caruso

Copy Editor Patti Stallard

Advertising Amanda Kennedy Harley Breaux Marketing Stephanie Hopkins Robert Barilleaux

Nancy Besson Taryn Clement


(llustrated titles to come)




Departments & Products We started out in 1960 with a 7,000-square- foot store and have grown to 64 locations across South Louisiana, Mississippi and Lower Alabama. Wine, Spirits & Beer We have the Gulf Coast’s premier wine department, with wines at every price point, for both everyday and special occasions. We offer a range of bottle sizes of popular spirits, and an impressive selection of high-end and small-batch spirits and liqueurs, including gift-worthy bottles. And we get top honors for our craft beer selection, which includes cans, bottles and kegs from all over the Gulf Coast and the nation, plus import labels from around the world. Family Recipe Fried Chicken Besides king cake, what’s the most popular Carnival food? If you don’t know the answer, you’ve never been on the parade route early on Mardi Gras morning, when dozens of people in the waiting crowd are eating fried chicken for breakfast. We double-bread our chicken: It’s coated with a flour mixture, then a seasoned milk-based liquid, then coated again, so you get that nice crunch. Our chicken is fried in-store, all day, every day, in small batches. Please place large Mardi Gras orders in the deli. Our local produce roots run more than 90 years deep. J.P. Rouse founded the City Produce Company in 1923, bringing fruits and vegetables from local, independent farms to the rest of the state and eventually to stores around the country. When his son, Anthony J. Rouse, Sr., opened his first grocery store in 1960, he made supporting his farmer neighbors a priority. Generations later, we are more committed than ever to our local farmers and to bringing you the very best this region has to offer. Local Seafood Our Specialty! We can all agree that the best seafood in the world comes from right here on the Gulf Coast. We buy our Gulf fish, shrimp, crabs, crawfish and our wide range of oysters from dedicated, local fishermen with whom we have close personal and professional relationships. During crawfish season you can get our famous Louisiana crawfish hot from the pot, 11am to 7pm, every day. Helping the Gulf Coast Grow

Pizza Party by Ali Rouse Royster, 3 rd Generation I’m proud of how varied my kids’ palates are, most of the time. They’ll try most things, sometimes with just a little coercion, and they each eat things that aren’t normal “kid” foods. My oldest loves sushi and soup; my middle used to eat chicken breast and green beans twice a day; and my youngest eats fruits like they’re going out of style — if you look in my search history from the last few months you’ll find me asking if a toddler can have too many bananas in a day, plus some inquiries about blueberries that I won’t go into here. But as with all kids, they’ve gone through picky phases too, when they’ll only eat what my friends and I refer to as “the tan diet”: bread, peanut butter, chicken nuggets and the archnemesis of all moms trying to get their children to eat nutritious foods, French fries. My darling middle child is going through this right now — she sometimes has peanut butter on toast for both lunch and supper when she’s having a particularly threenager-y day. The one food that isn’t completely tan — and therefore throws my whole cute-name scheme off balance — is pizza. My children have never rebelled against pizza. Why would they? It’s delicious. We always have the following items on hand for “uh-oh we have nothing to feed the children” nights: packs of ready-to-bake Mama Mary’s Pizza Crusts in the 7-inch personal pan size, jars of Rouses Italian Marinara Sauce, Hormel Turkey Pepperoni (they don’t know the differ- ence!) and Kraft Pizza Blend shredded cheese. The kids love helping to “make” the pizzas; they don’t realize most of the work’s already been done. My husband taught them to prep the pizza crusts with olive oil using a basting brush (it’s like painting!) and to spread the marinara with the back of a spoon; I usually like to start with a letter shape and let them mess it up from there. Then they pick their toppings, which are usually very tame—mostly just cheese or pepperoni, but we’re trying to broaden their little minds to consider other options, too. Bell peppers and mushrooms are on my horizon! I know, I know, mushrooms are in the “tan” family, but as long as it’s not chicken nuggets, this mama is happy.

An Old-Fashioned Butcher Shop

We have full-service butcher shops in our stores, and trusted butchers available to answer your questions about cuts, grades and cooking techniques. Every steak is still cut by hand. Choose from steakhouse-quality USDA Prime beef and USDA Choice beef, or more affordable options. Most of our stores also have a dry-aged beef locker, in which the beef is aged at least 25 days. Authentic Cajun Specialties We’re proud to continue the South Louisiana tradition of crafting our own Cajun specialties and real Cajun food. Our authentic boudin, spicy andouille, sausages, hogshead cheese and stuffed meats are made with Rouse Family Recipes that go back three generations. Cooking and heating instructions are available at delicious on our line. Depending on your location, you might find barbecue, pizzas or a Mongolian grill. All of our stores feature grab-and-go meals, including $5 daily deals, fresh sandwiches and salads, and heat-and- eat dinners. Soup & Salad Bars Our make-your-own salad bars feature an ever-changing selection of prepared salads and fresh-cut vegetables and fruits. Our hot soup menu changes daily, though you’ll always find our famous gumbo — it’s a favorite year-round. Prepared Foods You’ll always find something hot and



In Our Stores

Private Label Products We know saving money is always first on your shopping list. That’s why we make it easy to save with store brands that are as good as national brands, and unique products developed in partnership with local producers. You’ll find hundreds of our Rouses Markets products throughout the store. Each food item has been personally taste-tested by the Rouse Family, and each product is guaranteed to deliver the best quality at the best price. Fresh Flower Shop Our licensed floral directors are as picky about the flowers we sell as our chefs are about the ingredients that go into the foods we make. Visit to order flowers for delivery within specified areas. Fresh Sushi You’ve probably seen our professional in-store sushi chefs handcrafting sashimi and sushi rolls. We also offer a variety of sampler platters, and sides like edamame and seaweed salad. Special orders and sushi platters are also available. Grocery Delivery & Pickup Order online at for same- day delivery to your home or office, or for curbside pickup.

Eat Rightwith Rouses Imagine having your own personal dietitian with you when you shop. Our Rouses registered dietitian, April, has handpicked more than 500 grocery items that have lower sodium, less saturated fat, healthier fats, and more fiber and less sugar. Just look for the Eat Right logo on the shelf tag or package. We also offer an extensive selection of organic, natural, gluten-free, sugar-free, paleo and special diet grocery items. Food from around the corner & around the world We travel the world to bring you new and interesting items, like authentic Italian olive oils and vinegars, and Thai coconut waters. King Cakes We bake more than 500,000 king cakes every carnival season. Our traditional king cake is made from a time-honored recipe, a soft and doughy cake with a cinnamon smear baked into the center. The final touch is the plastic baby. Our King Cake Krewe also makes filled king cakes in favorite flavors like strawberry cream cheese, Bavarian cream, praline and apple. Order online at

Order online and have it shipped to your door!





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SAVE $ 1 .00 on any TWO (2) NABISCO Cookies or Crackers (3.5 oz. or larger, any variety) RETAILER: Mondelēz Global LLC or a subsidiary, will reimburse the face value of this coupon plus handling if submitted in compliance with its Coupon Redemption Policy, previously provided to you and available upon request. Cash value 1/100¢. Coupon can only be distributed by Mondelēz Global LLC or its agent. Mail to: Mondelēz Global, LLC 1538, NCH Marketing Services, P.O. Box 880001, El Paso, TX 88588-0001. Offer expires: 2/29/20. CONSUMER: One coupon valid for item(s) indicated. Any other use constitutes fraud. VOID IF COPIED, TRANSFERRED, PURCHASED OR SOLD. Valid only in the USA, FPOs and APOs. © Mondelēz International group

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P I Z Z A M A R G H E R I T A R E C I P E Long-A row-Alt-Right P A G E 1 6


by sarah baird | photo by romney carus0

For anyone who’s ever taken a mythology course, it becomes very clear, very quickly just how much the stories of Greco-Roman tradition used food as a means of storytelling. L



There’s Persephone, the kidnapped goddess of the underworld, who eats pomegranate seeds and dooms the earth to experience winter each year. There’s the infamously decadent (and lewd) feast of Trimalchio in Petronius’ Satyricon , where — among other things — guests are implored to eat from “a circular tray around which were displayed the signs of the zodiac, and upon each sign the caterer had placed the food best in keeping with it…a piece of beef on Taurus, kidneys and lamb’s fry on Gemini…a small seafish on Scorpio, a bull’s eye on Sagittarius, a sea lobster on Capricorn, a goose on Aquarius and two mullets on Pisces.”

pizza from ancient Roman times, the pinsa has become a hot topic lately with pinsa pizzerias popping up all around Europe,” Time Out Tokyo wrote of a recently opened pinsa restaurant. “Think of it in terms of Sean Connery — every James Bond that came after him has paled in comparison!” The cyclical nature of human tastes aside, what’s perhaps most telling about pizza’s inherent appeal as a dish — then, now and every time in between — is that it’s always been a meal of the people, even long before it became synonymous with American fast-casual comfort. While more formal dining settings require a host of tools and trappings for the enjoyment of a meal — plates and glasses, at least, plus a table on which to serve the dishes, and chairs for sitting — a large part of pizza’s appeal throughout history has been its inherent mobility and ease of enjoyment. Chicago deep dish pizza aside, it’s hard to imagine someone slicing up their pizza slice with a fork and knife and not being met with a few painful winces.

But it was in translating a passage from the epic poem The Aeneid during my years as a Latin buff that I stumbled across a dish that seemed, well, curiously modern. Our hero Aeneas and his men devour a form of flatbread piled high with toppings (without realizing the meal had been cursed earlier in their journey by Celaeno, the Harpy queen): “Thin loaves of altar-bread Along the sward to bear their meats were laid (Such was the will of Jove), and wilding fruits Rose heaping high, with Ceres’ gift below.” And while this particular version of the dish didn’t work out quite so well for the wandering Trojans of ancient lore, it’s ended up serving us all pretty well since Virgil penned the tale between 29 and 19 BC. That’s right: I’m talking about pizza. In the United States today, Americans eat roughly 350 slices of pizza per second (yes, really), scarfing down a dish that hasn’t changed all that much in its basic concept since Persian soldiers serving under Darius the Great baked flatbreads with cheese and dates on their battle shields in the 6th century BC.

“We might call ancient flatbreads ‘pizzas’ because they embodied the basic concept of having one’s meal on an edible plate or using one’s bread as the plate and utensil,” writes Carol Helstosky in her 2008 book, Pizza: A History . “The universality of flatbread-as-plate suggests that convenience, perhaps for the sake of mobility or out of economic necessity, shaped ancient eating habits…. We might also describe these ancient flatbreads as the precursors to pizza because they were more than bread: topped with herbs or mushrooms, or a sauce, they constituted an entire meal.”

Pizza is inextricably linked to a tale of both convenience and economic necessity, particu- larly when it comes to Naples, the birthplace of the dish as we recognize it today. By the 18th century, the bustling seaside Italian city was packed with a working class in need of thrifty, on-the-go meals. Street vendors with wood- fired ovens were more than happy to oblige in the form of a flatbread topped with herbs, lard and salt (similar to a “white pizza”) that could be easily folded in one hand for chowing down while hustling back to work. Pizza quickly became the omnipresent weekday meal of the working class. Where’s the tomato sauce, you may ask? Even though tomatoes — a “NewWorld” food — first made their way to Italy in 1519, it wasn’t until a couple of decades later that Italians were wholly convinced that tomatoes weren’t poisonous. (Plants from the nightshade family, which also include eggplant and tobacco, had a particularly bad reputation back in the day as being toxic.) But by 1830, Naples had not only embraced the tomato, but pizza culture itself, wholeheart- edly. Several pizzerias, including the legendary Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, had opened across the city, even introducing chairs for patrons to sit down in while they enjoyed their wood-fired slices. In his work Le Corricolo , French writer Alexandre Dumas recorded just how prevalent pizza was among the working class of Naples — particularly during the winter — and recalls the several options for toppings that were popular during the time. “In Naples,” he writes, “pizza is flavored with oil, lard, tallow, cheese, tomato, or anchovies.” While pizza certainly became a draw for tourists to Naples throughout the 1800s (as well as a favorite of Spanish soldiers), pizza stayed fairly localized in the city until royalty came calling. In 1889, Raffaele Esposito — the most famous pizza maker in all of Naples and owner of Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba — was summoned

In the United States today, Americans eat roughly 350 slices of pizza per second

The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Babylonians were all excep- tional bakers, and used their dough-driven skills to create flatbreads that were cooked in outdoor ovens and then topped with herbs and oils. The Greek historian Herodotus noted that, in most Egyptian households, the fermented dough used for baking was treated with great reverence, and also included several recipes for flatbreads — which would eventually come to be referred to as “focaccia” in the Middle Ages —throughout his works. A first-generation pizza oven was even unearthed from the ruins of Pompeii (the ancient city destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD) after having been preserved for centuries in volcanic ash. The word pizza most likely derives from the Latin pix , meaning “pitch,” which began as an adjective for describing how well- cooked the flatbread base (the “pitch” of its color) was in the oven. Strangely enough, over the past few years, this Roman proto-pizza has come full circle, with pizza places across the world opening specifically to serve what they call pinsa : a style of pie made using the more traditional Roman method for dough. Hailed as a healthier option and made using a technique and ingredients that produce a lighter, fluffier base for toppings (thanks to the inclusion of a spelt or soy flour), this everything-old-is-new-again pizza style has even reached as far as Japan. “Widely considered to be the original


of anchovies, strong sheep’s milk cheese like cacio- cavallo and a smattering of bread crumbs make frequent appearances on Sicilian pies. But even within the Sicilian region, there are hyper- local differences in pizza styles. In the province of Catania, scacciata satisfies pizza cravings with a thin dough that has been folded over on itself several times and stuffed with a certain pairing of

Neapolitan pizza is on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage items

to make pizzas for King Umberto and Queen Margherita of Italy while they were staying at the Royal Palace of Capodimonte in Naples. He (and his wife, Rosa Brandi) made three different types of pies: one with lardo, cheese and basil; one with garlic, oil, oregano and tomato; and a final pizza topped with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil — the colors of the Italian flag. The queen was so enraptured with the final pie that it is said Esposito named it after her: pizza Margherita .

acceptable ingredients (ricotta cheese and onion or tomato and eggplant, for example) to form a loaf-like treat that some refer to as “lasagna bread.” In the province of Messina, a local cheese known as toma and endive reign supreme as toppings. And in the province of Siracusa, there’s the pizzolo , which involves stacking two fairly plain, herb-dusted pizzas atop one another and then stuffing a filling between the two.

This kind of malleability can also be seen in how pizza has taken on numerous forms in cities across the United States, bringing with it a heap of contentiousness and some hotly contested rivalries. There are the thin, Neapolitan-influ- enced pies of the Northeast-at-large: from New York City’s “by the slice” culture, to New Haven’s coal-fired “apizza,” to clam-topped pies. There’s the almost casserole-like deep dish pizzas of Chicago — an All-American construction if ever there was one. Detroit has its own chewy-meets-crispy spin on pizza crust, while St. Louis pledges pizza allegiance to a crust that’s cracker-thin. Above all else, pizza’s simplicity and true timeless- ness are qualities that make it infinitely open to interpretation. And whether you’re eating at the latest high-end pizzeria with a gorgeously

Of course, Esposito didn’t invent the pizza specif- ically for the queen — that part’s a false history. What we now know as the pizza Margherita had been produced at least as far back as 1796, and even described by historian Francesco De Bourcard in an 1866 account of the most common pizzas of the day: “The most ordinary pizzas, called coll’aglio e l’olio (with garlic and oil), are dressed with oil…as well as salt, oregano and garlic cloves shredded minutely. Others are covered with grated cheese and dressed with lard, and then they put over few leaves of basil. Over the firsts is often added some small seafish; on the seconds some thin slices of mozza- rella. Sometimes they use slices of prosciutto...” Today, Neapolitan pizza is on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage items, and the construction of “authentic” versions of the dish is policed by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. Among other super-strict guidelines,

Queen Margherita of Italy

tiled, wood-fired pizza oven, or ordering delivery from an old standby neighbor- hood joint while watching Netflix

true Neapolitan pizza dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or machine and baked for 60 to 90 seconds in a 905-degree wood-fire oven. And while Queen Margherita didn’t exactly get a pizza made just for her upper-crust taste buds, her affection for pizza saw its popularity flood every region of Italy in a fever pitch for an afford- able working-class food that had suddenly received the royal stamp of approval. Seemingly overnight, almost every region of Italy was eager to offer their own spin on pizza, establishing regional traditions that continue to this day. In Rome, there’s pizza al taglio (“by the cut”), where pizzas bake in a large rectangular pan and are then sliced into whatever size the customer desires. (Much like in a fancy cheese shop, the pizza is weighed, paid for according to weight, and eaten as a to-go snack.) There’s also pizza Romana tonda in Rome — a round pie with a particularly crispy, thin crust — as well as an eclectic mix of pizzas categorized according

in your sweatpants, pizza will continue to strike the perfect balance between being an old friend and an ever-evolving form of oven- baked, edible art.

to size or presentation, like pizza a metro (pizza by the meter) and pizza in pala (pizza served on a wooden paddle). And then there’s Sicilian pizza, which is known for its doughy, dense crust that’s closer to focaccia than the flexible-yet-thin Neapol- itan style. In addition to its distinguishable bready base, this type of pizza is perhaps most recogniz- able for its emphasis on locally sourced toppings: lots



Pizza Margherita Makes 1 12-inch pizza

Classic Caesar Salad Makes 4 servings


Note: Fresh mozzarella holds a lot of moisture, so it can make your pizza watery. Instead of slicing the mozzarella and immediately placing it on the pizza, allow the slices to air-dry on a paper towel for about 15 minutes. This will absorb any excess moisture. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 12-inch round of pizza dough (recipe on page 29) 3 tablespoons Margherita sauce (recipe below) Extra virgin olive oil 3-oz fresh mozzarella ball, sliced into large pieces 5-6 basil leaves, roughly torn HOW TO PREP: Place a pizza stone, metal baking surface or sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven before you turn it on. Set the oven dial to 500°F, and let it heat it for a full hour before you intend to cook. On a lightly floured surface, with floured hands, softly pat down the ball of dough into a circle. Use your palms or a roller to stretch the dough into a thin circle around 12 inches in diameter. With the tips of your fingers, pinch and push down around the border of the dough, rotating it as you do, to create an edge. Lightly flour a pizza peel and gently slide it beneath the dough. Make sure that the dough can slide back and forth on the peel so it won’t stick when you put it in the oven. If it does, the pie is certified for topping. Add a little more flour to the surface beneath the pie if it does tend to stick. Spread the sauce out on the dough using the back of a spoon, stopping about ½ inch from the dough’s edges. Do not use too much; two or three tablespoons will be plenty. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the pizza. Place the cheese atop the sauce, then scatter the basil on top. Slide the pie onto the heated stone in the oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, around 6 minutes. Margherita Sauce WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 cup puréed or crushed San Marzano canned tomatoes

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 clove garlic, halved 2 eggs 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons minced anchovies Dash Worcestershire sauce 1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into pieces ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 1 cup Italian croutons Salt and pepper, to taste HOW TO PREP: Rub the inside of a salad bowl with the garlic clove; discard it. Crack the eggs into the salad bowl. Gradually add the lemon juice and olive oil, beating all the while. Stir in anchovies and Worcestershire. Taste and add salt, if needed, and lots of pepper. Toss well with lettuce, and top with parmesan and croutons. Toss again at table. Serve immediately. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 garlic clove Pinch of salt 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 tablespoons red- or white-wine vinegar 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning ½ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil Freshly ground pepper 1 large romaine heart, chopped ½ head of iceberg lettuce, coarsely chopped ½ small red onion, thinly sliced ¼ cup pitted Castelvetrano or green olives, sliced 8 whole pepperoncini peppers 20 croutons (garlic flavored) 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved HOW TO PREP: In a large bowl, mash the garlic clove to a paste with a generous pinch of salt. Whisk in the mayonnaise, vinegar, Italian seasoning and garlic powder, then whisk in the olive oil. Season with pepper. Add the lettuces, onions, olives, pepperoncini, croutons and cheese, and toss well. Serve immediately. Classic Italian Salad Makes 4 servings

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 12-inch round of pizza dough (recipe on page 29) 3 cloves garlic, peeled ¼ cup olive oil

½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded ½ cup provolone cheese, shredded ½ Gala apple, sliced thin on a mandolin 5 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled 2 ounces teardrop-shaped sweet peppers ½ cup arugula 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

HOW TO PREP: Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Place the garlic and olive oil into a small saucepan, and bring to a low simmer, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet. Brush the garlic oil onto the crust. Evenly scatter the mozzarella and provolone cheese over the oiled dough. Top with the apple slices, sweet peppers and gorgonzola cheese. Place the pizza into the oven and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the crust is crispy on the bottom and the cheese is starting to lightly brown. Remove from the oven, and let rest for about 5 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkling of the balsamic vinegar and the arugula. Cut and serve. red sauce Few ingredients are as revered in Italian cuisine as the tomato. When making a sauce, do as the Italians do and keep it simple. This isn’t the time for lengthy reductions or fancy techniques. Just a few ingredients will do the trick. The varieties and types of tomatoes are endless, but Italian tomato varieties like the Roma, with its oval and almost feminine quality, and the San Marzano, a slender, pointed variety, are especially popular in Ital- ian cuisine. Both lend a juicy, fruity quality to sauces. Authentic Italian tomato products — whether canned whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, pastes or concentrates — use real Italian tomatoes and can also add a world of flavor to sauces.

2-3 fresh garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 pinches of kosher salt

HOW TO PREP: In a small bowl, mix together the puréed tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, pepper, and salt. Keep leftover sauce refrigerated.



by Robert Simonson | photos by romney carus0

Last fall, my son Asher went off to college. And like any kid born and raised in New York, he ventured into the hinterlands with a few firmly held beliefs on what is acceptable in terms of certain kinds of food and drink. He knew what a good bagel should taste like, and the proper architecture of a cream-cheese schmear. He wanted seltzer, not club soda. And where pizza was concerned, he had standards. This made me proud. I felt I had done my job as a parent because, by the time he reached maturity, Asher had two favorite pizza places in New York — one for slices, and one for whole pies. It was right that he had two, for slice joints and pizzerias are not the same thing. They make different kinds of pies for different needs. Neither of his choices were marquee names, the kind that make best-of lists or appear in weighty tomes about the history of pizza. They were local businesses. This also struck me as apt for, no matter which pizzerias New Yorkers think are the best in town, everyone has their favorite neighborhood haunt. And at the end of the day, these are the places where, pound for pound, you spend the most time and eat the majority of your life’s allotment of pizza. Asher’s slice joint is the wonderfully named The House of Pizza & Calzone, in the neighborhood that used to be known as Red Hook, but has now been rechristened by real estate brokers as the Columbia Street Waterfront District. The House has been serving its waterfront community since 1952. They make a solid, consistent slice with a tangy sauce; not too thin, not too thick. For many years, the slice’s signature was a thin dust of cornmeal on the underside of the crust. Asher’s full-pie place is even older: Sam’s Pizzeria. In business since 1930, it is easily the oldest going concern in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood. The restaurant is the personal fiefdom of its gruff, completely non-PC owner, Lou, whose approach to hospitality is of the my-way-or-the-highway sort. But Lou likes kids, so Asher’s patronage has always been welcome. The pies at Sam’s are of the classic Neapolitan sort, with a sauce made of three tomato varieties. We always order green olives, a topping not often found and a specialty of the house. The pizza comes out within 10 minutes of ordering, and the piping-hot freshness of the pie can’t be beat. In a city like New York, of course, one isn’t limited to the pies within walking distance. So, as every Gotham parent should, I took my



N E W Y O R K P I Z Z A R E C I P E Lon g-Ar ow-Al t-Rig ht P A G E 2 2


son to other celebrated pizzerias over the years so he might experience the full richness of the town’s offerings. By the time he reached 18, he had visited most of the big ones: Patsy’s, Grimaldi’s, Totonno’s, Lombardi’s, John’s, L&B Spumoni Gardens, and Joe & Pat’s. Location is everything, and my pizza-loving son was born in the right place. (I only failed to get him to the fabled Di Fara. It’s hard to convince a kid to wait in line for two hours, even if the slice at the other end is magical.) How did Asher, and New York in general, get so lucky pizza-wise? It’s not a terribly old story, the tale of how pizza came to the city and became a part of its DNA; just about a century or so old. And, as such things go, the history is fairly easy to track. The story usually begins in 1905 with Gennaro Lombardi, whose Lombardi’s still stands on Spring Street in Little Italy. New York did not lack for Italian immigrants in the late 19th century, and Lombardi, from Naples, was one of them. Recent research has revealed that other Italians sold pizza in New York before Lombardi, specifically pizzeria had many apprentices and none of them were particularly loyal, though they were considerate or smart enough to set up their pie shops in other neighborhoods. There is John’s, supposedly founded by John Sasso in 1929. (Milone, however, may have opened what became John’s as well, in 1915. Milone got around.) It is perhaps the most visible of the city’s old-school pizzerias, owing to its prime location on Bleecker Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. Its interior, made up of ceiling fans, worn wooden booths and tables, and old framed posters of bygone concerts, looks like what tourists imagine every Village hangout should be. In East Harlem, once an Italian stronghold, there is Patsy’s, begun in 1933 by Patsy Lancieri. It remains a lonely outpost of superior pie on First Avenue and, because of its remote location, is primarily a neighborhood place. And then there’s Totonno’s, begun in 1924 by Anthony “Totonno” Pero. It once served pizza to the throngs that visited the Coney Island beach every summer, as well as the thriving community that lived there year-round, but now holds stubborn vigil among a sea of auto-body shops. As one article recently put one Filippo Milone, who may have been Lombardi’s employer. Whoever dropped the acorn on Spring Street, it was a fertile planting, and from Lombardi’s the mighty New York pizza oak grew. The

it, “these are the four acknowledged prewar pizza pillars in the city.” Patsy’s and John’s began to expand in the 1990s (amid endless internecine family feuds), opening outposts in other parts of the city. Though the extensions weren’t bad, none produced pies as good as the original locations. (The quirks of original ovens and the qualities they lend to pizza are one of the more ineluctable mysteries that contribute to the character of heritage pizza pies.) However, they helped to remind the denizens of New York of the city’s rich pizza legacy, and inspired others to open their own contenders. The list of great modern New York pizzerias — Kesté, Motorino, Roberta’s, the late Franny’s, Lucali, Paulie Gee’s and others that can stand tall beside their culinary ancestors — is now columns longer than the old tally. But those are all makers of complete pies. Slice joints are a different breed and have their own tale to tell. (Many of the older places still proudly post signs in the window that declare, “No slices!”) The original pizzerias were all fueled by coal- or wood-fired ovens, which lent the pies their signature, bubbling, semi-blackened crust. The slice places used gas ovens, which had multiple, rectangular heat chambers stacked one on top of the next, all with closeable doors. This transformational contraption was devised by Frank Mastro, another Italian immigrant, in the 1930s. Gas ovens were easier to operate, got hot more quickly, could handle many pies at once and, most critically, allowed proprietors to serve a slice at a time, reheating each triangle as needed. This changed everything. People no longer had to sit down for a pizza dinner, or gather enough diners to finish off a pie. They could grab a slice and go, either eating it quickly at the counter or while walking down the block. Pizza was now something everyone and anyone with a little pocket change could eat. They could eat pizza anywhere, any time of day. It became New York’s endlessly giving moveable feast. Every residential enclave in New York boasts several slice joints, ranging from the indifferent to the excellent to the unavoidable outpost of the Ray’s chain. Of course, the fame of a few slice specialists has spread

beyond the borders of their neighborhood. Perhaps the most celebrated and universally beloved is Joe’s Pizza. It opened in 1975 on a picture-perfect corner in Greenwich Village and now operates just a few doors down from its original location. Joe’s is the slice assembly line at its best. A queue forever snakes out the door, and greedy customers devour all eight partitions of each pie within seconds of it emerging from the oven. The pies are always hot and fresh because they never have a chance to cool down. If anyone asks you what a slice of New York style pizza tastes like, just send them to Joe’s. The wedges are textbook. It could be that all slice joints could potentially be as good as Joe’s if they enjoyed such turnover. The world may never know. If Joe’s is New York’s most popular slice joint, Di Fara, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Midwood, is the city’s most hallowed. From the outside, the shop looks as crummy as crummy can be. Inside, the ancient Dom De Marco fashions each pie by hand, sprinkling each with grated Grana Padano cheese and a shower of fresh basil leaves, hand-clipped into There are other pizza storylines in New York. Staten Island, the most neglected of the five boroughs, has been quietly holding its own for decades. Joe & Pat’s (since 1960) has a thin crust and sweet sauce like no other. Denino’s (since 1937) serves a great clam pie, a New Haven tradition rarely offered in New York. And Lee’s Tavern (since 1940) offers a fantastic example of that under-sung, thin-crust sub-category known as bar pizza. And then there are places like The House of Pizza & Calzone and Sam’s Pizzeria, the steady soldiers that serve their communities and stand by tradition while only occasionally reaping a bit of press and praise. They propel the pizza continuum too, and they have their fans. My son is one. He probably won’t find great pizza at college. But he is sure to find a place that says it serves “New York pizza.” There’s one in every city. Those words aren’t an explanation. They’re a boast. The owners hope they communicate: good pizza. shreds with a scissors. You’ll wait forever and pay a small fortune ($5) for a slice, but you’ll barely be able to fathom the robust flavors that humble slice holds.

The original pizzerias were all fueled by coal- or wood-fired ovens, which lent the pies their signature, bubbling, semi-blackened crust. The slice places used gas ovens, which had multiple, rectangular heat chambers stacked one on top of the next, all with closeable doors.




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