Pizza is Italy's, of more specifically Naples' gift to the world. And I am here to tell you that Italians may talk with their hands but they eat their food with knives and forks. In Naples, pizza is always eaten with a knife and fork, especially when seated at a restaurant. Dispensation from cutlery is only given when the pizza is being eaten standing up at a bar or counter. Perhaps from the latter settings, New Yorkers imported their penchant for doing away with any utensils. Instead, the pizza is folded in the hand so that the tip goes into the mouth and the rest is bitten into on the way down the wedge. (See illustration above).
|Deep Dish Chicago Style...Pizza or Cake|
|Fast Food Pizza|
|"Moonrock Bagel Pizza"|
I don't think so.
The first TJ’s crust I tried was frozen Trader Giotto’s Organic Pizza Crusts. Two of them came in a 14.1 ounce package for $2.49. These were ‘personal sized’. Not big enough for two but quite adequate for one. "Trader Giotto" makes a big deal out of how they worked with an Italian supplier to create this crust. They certainly made it simple enough. You load the top of the still frozen pie with whatever you have in mind. Into the oven they go only to emerge at very few minutes later. For our toppings, I wanted to see if I could come close to one of Andrew and my favorite pies, the “Parma” from World Pie in Bridgehampton NY. The original “Parma” consists of tomato sauce topped with pesto, slices of
prosciutto and lots of shredded mozzarella. TJ’s Genova Pesto is the traditional blend of basil, garlic, nuts, Parmesan and Oil at 2.49 for 7 oz. . Their prosciutto is American made which is why it can be sold at 3.99 for four ounces, plenty for two pizzas. Finally, TJ’s shredded Mozzarella, the classic pizza cheese is 3.99 for 16 ounces. In error, I left off the tomato sauce but the result was remarkably flavorful and crisp. I am a huge lover of thin crust pizza, which this is, but it isn’t “Moderately chewy” or “light, airy” as TJ’s promised. But altogether it was certainly passable and very easy to make.
Next up was the pizza dough from the refrigerator case, $1.19 for a 16 oz ‘bag o dough’. Of the three varieties available, I went for the Regular, which is what we generally order in. This pizza I chose to top with Trader Joe’s Pizza Sauce. (16 oz. $1.99) Where Trader Giotto disappeared to in this incarnation, I am not sure. The dough was not the easiest thing to handle and Andrew and I were incapable of making a nice big round. We also could not get it to roll out as thin as we
might have liked it. Instead we used the back of a sheet pan, dusted with corn meal--a trick we learned from the exemplary "Two Boots", one of our favorite New York pizzerias. We ended up with a rectangular pie. I must say this was delicious. The Pizza sauce is fairly sweet but for this pie TJ’s Quattro Formaggio Shredded Cheese (4.99 for 12 ounces.) counter-balanced the sauce nicely. It combines Asiago, Fontina, Parmagiano and Mild Provolone and it’s a great melting cheese. We had some asparagus which we also added and we finished up the prosciutto from our first pie to top this one. It puffed up and tasted the most like a really good pizza parlor pizza.
The last experiment was the simplest. I used one of the three flavors of Naan, that fragrant Indian flatbread that TJs sells frozen. Covered with a good bit of Quattro Formaggio, and served with an Indian curry, it was an excellent starch and a little surprise in an Indian meal.
So how do TJ’s Pizza offerings hold up? As I said, I wouldn’t bother with their considerable stock of pre-made frozen pizzas. I’d give a ‘meh’ to the frozen organic crust. But all the toppings we tried were good to very good and the refrigerated crust would be hard to beat if I made my own. Finally the Naan is a very simple way to add an exotic take on pizza to any meal. Enjoy!