AMy PATUREL, A FREELANCE JOURNALIS T BASED IN MURRIE TA, CALIFORNIA, wRITES ABOUT FOOD, wINE, TRAVEL, HEALTH AND FITNESS.
that fire up 20 different pizza styles. In fact, California single-handedly
cornered the eclectic pie trend with barbecue chicken, Thai and carnitas
pizzas headlining on menus. They can be served up with mozzarella,
Gouda, goat cheese, feta or without cheese.
Traditionally a combination of New York and Italian thin crust, more
recently, California-style pizza is trending toward alternative grains that
include ancient- and whole-grain, as well as gluten-free crusts, with
toppings ranging from locally sourced kale, wild arugula and purple
cauliflower to pears, nectarines and sweet peas.
Derived from Neapolitan pizza, New Haven-style pie dough is moist
rather than dry and hand-pressed because it’s too soft to toss. “My grandfather was the first to
open an actual pizza restaurant in Connecticut,” says Gary Bimonte, director of quality assurance/
training at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven. “Up until then, pizza was sold in
bakeries, and always takeout.”
When Pepe’s started, it offered only two pies: crushed Italian tomatoes and crushed Italian
tomatoes with anchovies. Today, the options for different types of pies are seemingly limitless,
with ingredients ranging from standard sausage and pepperoni to shrimp and fresh-shucked
Even though Pepe’s has expanded to 10 storefronts across Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island and New York, it still maintains an artisanal approach to pizza making, using authentic
ingredients that include Romano cheese imported from Italy, domestic mozzarella and flour
specifically milled for Pepe’s pizza.
It’s hard to achieve a Neapolitan pizza in an oven that doesn’t reach 600°F. In fact, the crux of
Neapolitan pizza is the charred crust with pillowy pockets. “We burn coal at a high, intense, dry
heat,” says Bimonte. “It caramelizes the tomatoes and toppings and seals in the rich flavors.”