I have finally tasted a Neapolitan pizza that I can use to compare my home cooked wfo pizzas to.Monday I was in Pittsburgh and visited IL Pizzaiolo who is VPN certified .THe restaurant is what I would picture a Naples pizzeria to look like.The atmosphere makes you feel like you are visiting Naples.
I was there with my son and a friend of his who were looking at a culinary school in the city,we order pasta, a panini, two pizzas for the table and one to go.The noodles were made on premiss from caputo flour, and the pasta dish was delicious,as was the panini.But,we were there for the pizza we ordered margherita DOC ,and a salsicce e rapini , made with mozzarella ,sausage,rapini,grated cheese and evo.First the margherita it tasted similar to one of my pizzas but it was a better in many ways.The dough was softer and puffier it was chewy but very light .the buffalo milk mozzarella was a little wet but the liquid blended with the other ingredients to enhance the flavor of the pizza.The three of us were very happy with our meal.Before the meal my lunch guests remarked that they hoped the food was worth the trip.After we finished they were happy foodies!
When the waitress found out we were from Ohio and this was one of our destinations she wanted us to meet Ron molnaro the owner, spelling of last name probably is wrong.Ron came out and gave us a hour education on Neapolitan pizza.
First his pizza follows VPN standards ,his oven was built by Marco and cooks at 900 deg floor and 1000 plus dome.The pizza cooks in 60 to 90 seconds.THe VPN standards regulate ingredients,temperatures ,and procedures .The differeces in product are based on the subtle taste variables in ingredients.That is why my home pizza tasted similar but not the same.It his skill at all areas of production that makes his pizza what it is.Also the quality of his cheese,his non-bufalo moz is made in house, his EVO choice,his brand of grated cheese all make the product different but follow the VPN standards.
Ron got into guidelines that would help me with my pizza making.The hydration that he uses and feel is good for capoto flour is 60 % .He noted that the Pizzerias in Naples were in the 60 to 62 %.I mentioned pizzeria Bianco and he felt it was one of the best in the country,the other was UPN.He liked Bianco's pizza and liked the fact that Chris Bianco dosn't cliam it is Neapolitan but his own interpretation .He feels his dough uses a higher protein flour and that is why it handles the extra hydration and cooks the way it does.The UPN pizza is closer to the standards but uses a poolish to make his dough.
I have a few pics,the only pizza pic is the one i took home so it is cold but,it still shows the browning,the bottom char and the crust.
There was a lot of information given to me if any one has other questions let me know he probably discussed it.In closing, I have never met a more helpful person.He had passion for Neapolitan pizza and he was willing to educate me and my guests on this national treasure.
I will be back in Pittsburgh and another visit will be made to this wonderful restaurant.