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Your local pizza spot is enough, especially when it needs your support more than ever

A person using a pizza peel to remove a pizza from an industrial metal wood-fired pizza oven.
A person using a pizza peel to remove a pizza from an industrial metal wood-fired pizza oven.
Photo: John Lawson/Moment/Getty Images

I like pizza. It’s fair to say I love pizza. It’s fair to say I’ve held adult-age birthday parties at pizza places. First dates. Second dates. Happy hours. Girls’ nights. Family nights. Late nights. Walking-by-and-smelling-a-slice moments.

I have traveled for pizza — from other boroughs to other states. I hope I will travel for pizza again soon. My first non-home Covid-19 eating experience was pizza. My first non-takeout Covid-19 eating experience was pizza. I’d have a slice right now if one were available.

I also like lists. It’s fair to say I have lists going in multiple notebooks and pads…

Salad is a side, not a topping

Photo: shaian ramesht/Unsplash

One thing I’ve learned traveling around the U.S. is that there is a lot of weird pizza out there. Pizza made with baking soda. Or biscuit mix. Pizza made with tasteless sauce from huge cans and pre-grated cheese that doesn’t really melt. And pizza heated up in a microwave on Amtrak (beyond gross). Not to mention some really weird toppings. All of this is so wrong, wrong, wrong.

I live in Western New York in a city with a large Italian American population — Sicilian American, to be precise. I spend a lot of time in NYC and always try…

Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana is keeping it lean, running a 2-person operation on the Jersey Shore

A baked pizza sitting on the hearth of a pizza oven that currently has two other pizzas in it.
A baked pizza sitting on the hearth of a pizza oven that currently has two other pizzas in it.
Photos courtesy of Una Pizza Napoletana

When I spoke to Anthony Mangieri, the pizzaiolo icon of Una Pizza Napoletana, he was working from his Atlantic Highlands location, the fourth iteration of the restaurant that has inspired pizza pilgrimages no matter where he’s located. Since February, he’s slinging pies Friday through Sunday only. And, like the early days of his career, he’s making around 100 pizzas a day himself.

By choice, Mangieri is back where he started, not too far from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, where he learned baking in the mid-’90s. From there, he opened a shop in the East Village in 2004 in what became…

A by-the-numbers account of the rise of New Jersey pizzaiolo Michael Fitzick

Photos: Adam Erace

New and old burns flow down Michael Fitzick’s forearms. Pick one and follow it like a river to the deltas of his hands, half-sunk into a pan of pizza dough, glowing with oil, stretching into fingers with short, rounded nails and the wide, reddish knuckles of someone who recently punched a wall. (The only thing Fitzick has recently punched is the dough after its first bulk fermentation.)

As any baker will tell you, when you spend your time shuttling bread into and out of a fire-breathing oven, you’re going to get burned. And Fitzick, a 15-year veteran of the Jersey…

Serve it with tomato sauce on the side and it’s near perfect

Photo: atomich/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Essentially a pizza folded over itself, the calzone is like one big hand pie: filling neatly enclosed with dough, so you get browned crust in every bite. You can fill it with any pizza toppings; it should be substantial and fairly dry so the dough doesn’t leak or get soggy. Drained ricotta is an ideal base. Serve with tomato sauce on the side, or don’t bother (if that’s the way you roll.)


Makes: 2 calzones, enough for 4 main-dish servings
Time: About 1¼ hours


  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 recipe pizza dough
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked spinach or other…

And how to make restaurant-quality pizza at home

Photo: Paolo Paradiso/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The classic American-style pizza, with variations to keep things interesting for a long time to come. You can use store-bought tomato sauce, but my two recipes are so simple they may be easier than a run to the grocery. As always, good-quality mozzarella is preferable; if it comes packed in water, drain it well and slice it thinly if it’s too soft to grate.

Cheese Pizza

Makes: 1 large or 2+ small pies
Time: About 45 minutes


  • 1 batch pizza dough
  • Flour for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or more as needed
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (see below)
  • 2 cups grated or…

The possibilities are endless

Photo: Maren Caruso/DigitalVision/Getty Images Plus

Use the following ingredients, alone or in combination, on any pizza, depending on what sauce you’d like as the base. For quantities, err on the conservative side, particularly if you’re using multiple toppings. It’s easy to add more later, but an overtopped pizza will be soggy and flimsy.

  • Cooked sausage, bacon, pancetta, chicken, meatballs, or other meat
  • Sliced salami, prosciutto, speck, mortadella, dried (Spanish) chorizo, guanciale, or other cured meat
  • An egg, cracked directly over the pizza, added about 5 minutes before baking is done
  • Grated hard and semihard cheeses like Parmesan, cheddar, Gouda, provolone, or Gruyèr
  • Sliced semisoft cheeses…

Pizza bianca is perhaps the most underrated of all

Photos: Dario Wax/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Pizza bianca — white pizza, pizza without sauce — is a blank slate. Without toppings, it’s a great appetizer that lets you appreciate the homemade dough, but it’s also the perfect base for you to experiment with some of the possible additions and tweaks that follow. However you do it, it’s likely to be among the best pizzas you’ll ever eat.

White Pizza

Makes: 1 large or 2+ small pies
Time: About 45 minutes


  • 1 recipe pizza dough
  • Flour for dusting
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon or more roughly chopped fresh rosemary or thyme leaves


  1. Heat…

The basics of pizza

Photo: istetiana/Moment/Getty Images

Everybody loves pizza. Even if you’re used to the wood-fired pies that are increasingly popular at more and more restaurants, home-baked pizza will amaze you with how easy, fun, and versatile it is. And if you’re used to only delivery pizza, it’s a game-changer.

When you make your own pizza, of course, you have complete control over ingredients in terms of both quality and quantity. The toppings range from elemental — tomatoes, mozzarella, mushrooms, meat, vegetables —to more original or special: new kinds of cheese, eggs, salsa verde, and more. At home, you have the option of using better ingredients…

Freeze extra dough so you can more easily make a pie anytime

Photo: Janet Moore/EyeEm/Getty Images

Pizza dough is not only incredibly easy to make but freezes well, too. I keep a few balls of it tucked away at all times so that a homemade pie is always at my fingertips. I make pizza dough in the food processor. To do it by hand, stir in a bowl with a heavy wooden spoon until the dough becomes too heavy to stir, then switch to your hands. To make the dough in a stand mixer, start with the paddle attachment and, when the dough becomes heavy, replace the paddle with the dough hook. …


Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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