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Pizza and Wine
Make an amazing frozen pizza even more gourmet by adding the toppings of your choice. Here, chicken, yellow grape tomatoes and picholine olives were added to the basic Pizza Romana Margherita pizza. But Margherita tastes divine totally unadorned.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.

 

 

November 2006

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Pastas

Pizza Romana Gourmet Frozen Pizza

The Best Frozen Pizza

 

CAPSULE REPORT:  This line of gourmet frozen pizza imported from Italy is as good as most “designer pizzas” we get at our local restaurants. The 12-inch pie can be split between two smaller eaters, or serve as a meal for someone with a big appetite. And in 4 flavors, everyone can have his or her favorite flavor. With a freezer full of Pizza Romana pies, our pizza needs are met, happily ever after.


Italy may be the greatest food country on earth. Let the hackles go up on the back of the neck of France, but no matter where you go in Italy, even the guys at the gas station eat lunches like kings. The secret is no secret: it’s the Mediterranean climate that delivers a constant harvest of locally-grown fruits and vegetables that haven’t been hybridized to look good on the grocer’s shelf at the expense of flavor. It’s respect for craftsmanship, so that people still want to be bakers, making wonderful fresh-baked bread and artisan cheeses for their communities. It’s knowing how to use herbs, and using as much as it takes to accessorize each dish. That’s Italian.

Three PizzasIf you believe in small miracles, you now can believe that the Italian passion for fine food has manifested itself in a line of frozen pizzas, available in supermarkets (and also via online order). They are so delicious, that we will never make an effort to go out for pizza again. Imported from Italy by Divine Pasta Company, Pizza Romana, which comes in four flavors, tastes better cooked from frozen than what most our local restaurants are cooking up fresh. (We may now have to walk around town in disguise and check arriving packages for ticking sounds.)

Varieties

The pizzas are Basil Pesto With Mozzarella And Tomato, Margherita, Porcini Mushroom and Fontina and Roasted Garlic Pesto With Gorgonzola And Walnut. They are made in Visso, a small and ancient town of 1200 residents in the Marche region of Italy. It was settled in the 13th century B.C., many centuries before the invention of pizza.*

*The world pizza is believed to come the Italian word “pizzicare,” which means “to pluck” or “to pinch” (as in the dough). Flat bread cooked on heated stones and covered with sweet and savory toppings has been noted since the Stone Age. Later, crusts resembling today’s pizza developed. However, the tomato was indigenous to the New World. Although yellow cherry tomatoes (the original tomato) had been brought back to Spain by Christopher Columbus at the turn of the 16th century and again by Hernando Cortez in 1529, they were feared poisonous and used as a houseplant. Almost 200 years later, lean times drove peasants to try eating the fruit. The first documented tomato sauce recipe is from 1839. Thus, while “white pizzas” existed prior to then, the pizza as we know it today, with tomato sauce, did not exist much before the 1840s.

As mushroom lovers, we were happiest with the lush, earthy flavors of Porcini Mushroom and Fontina, but found the Basil Pesto With Mozzarella And Tomato and the Roasted Garlic Pesto With Gorgonzola And Walnut to be equally charming. The Margherita needs some fresh basil when it comes out of the oven: the freezing represses the flavor of the original herb. But, it is a delicious mozzarella and tomato sauce pie for those who seek something plain, and provides a nice canvas for adding other ingredients: chiles, chicken, fresh tomatoes, grilled vegetables, herbs, meatballs, olives, pepperoni, prosciutto, roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes—whatever suits your fancy.

What makes these pizzas so darned tasty, made in an average home oven?

Ingredients, ingredients, ingredients! Natural spring water from the local national park is used to make the dough, which is slowly fermented for 24 hours. It is then hand stretched and baked in wood-fired brick ovens, the old-fashioned way. The crust is a thin style that you can cook to a regular or crispy consistency by keeping it in the oven an extra minute.

The finest-possible ingredients top the dough, from San Marzano tomatoes (see yellow box) to artisan sauces and outstanding mozzarella and fontina cheeses. There’s no corner-cutting, no substitutions. And the result is so very delicious that the photos, which look like “just another pizza,” can’t possibly do them justice. But one bite says it all.

San Marzano TomatoesSan Marzano Tomatoes
Grown in the town of San Marzano at the base of Mount Vesuvius, southeast of Naples, the volcanic soil and sunny climate grow tomatoes that are among the most sought-after on earth. They have an elongated shape, believed to be a mutation, with only two seed pockets (most tomatoes have five to seven). The pulp is dense, and because the variety has lower acidity, the tomatoes have a  natural sweetness and sauces made with them require no additional sugar. The varietal is not exclusive to San Marzano: it is grown in the U.S. and elsewhere.



Pizza Romana will change your life. From freezer to oven, it is ready in 6 to 7 minutes, piping hot. Compare that to take-out or delivery...assuming that any take-out or delivery could ever taste this good.

And don’t forget to throw some fresh basil or arugula onto that pie. The folks in Visso would approve.

PIZZA ROMANA

Frozen pizzas in Basil Pesto With Mozzarella And Tomato, Margherita, Porcini Mushroom and Fontina, and Roasted Garlic Pesto With Gorgonzola And Walnut

  • 13-Ounce Pizza
    (12-Inch Diameter)
    $7.99

Shop online at Divine Pasta.com

Available at some Whole Foods Markets, and soon at other fine food stores nationwide.

pie

Pizza Romana
Heat the oven, add the frozen pizza, and in 7 minutes:
pizza joy!

Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

 

© Copyright 2005-2014 Lifestyle Direct, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Images are the copyright of their individual owners.

 



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