I’m on a quest to find the perfect pizza. That will be a tough challenge, but I’m confident that I’m up to it. I went through a several-year spell in which I only tolerated pizza, but I came to my senses a few years ago when my mom told me it was one of her favorite foods.
If you don’t like pizza and you don’t try it in Rome, you’re missing a treat. It’s different from the pizza at home, though, with a thin, chewy crust and not much tomato sauce. Another difference in Rome is that you can walk into any bar or deli and pizzas are displayed behind the counter. You choose your pizza, tell the server how much you want, and eat it there or take it away.
My favorite pizza in June was a gamberetti (shrimp) pizza that I ate (several times) at a little take-out place near our hotel in Cavour. It had baby shrimp, arugula (which they translate as “rocket” here and in England), and a mayonnaise sauce on pizza dough. When I describe it, I want to turn up my nose and say, “No way,” but it’s truly excellent. I had a gamberetti pizza again a couple of weeks ago in a small pizzeria near the Piazza Navona, although that one had ketchup with it—sort of a shrimp louie pizza—and a third time in a pizzeria near Campo de’ Fiori. Although the Cavour gamberetti pizza was the best by far, I ate every bite of the other two.
Sadly for the gamberetti pizza, but happily for me, it lost its #1 ranking to a lingua di fuoco (tongue of fire) pizza—tomatoes, mozzarella, and hot sausage generously sprinkled with chili powder—at Dar Poeta pizzeria in Trastevere. Outstanding! My lips and tongue burned—in a good way—by the end of the meal. Even though we’d been seated in the basement with the other Americans, it was definitely cooler down there, and that pizza was perfect! Michael had a mortadella pizza, which he also liked, and he rates the pizza dough at Dar Poeta the best so far.
The gamberetti pizza lost its #2 ranking yesterday when I stopped at Forno Campo de’ Fiori and grabbed a couple of slices of pizza for lunch. I chose a pizza that had zucchini blossoms peeking out of the melted mozzarella, and when I picked up the package, the pizza was still hot—right out of the oven. Yum! But the best part was opening the package when I got home and finding anchovies buried under the zucchini blossoms and cheese! I hadn’t even noticed them when I chose my pizza. The dough was great, too, and I was in heaven!
I ate pizza for lunch at Recafé today and couldn’t decide between its version of lingua di fuoco or Napolitano con acciuge e fiori di zucchi (zucchini flowers and anchovies). The waiter suggested that I try the zucchini-flower pizza and add fresh tiny tomatoes, which I did, but the tomatoes were too much for such a delicate pizza, so I pushed them to the side and ate them as a salad. The dough was one of the best yet.
So on I go. I know it sounds like a terrible sacrifice, but, hey, somebody’s got to do it! I’ll keep you posted.