Last night, one of our last nights in the Lunigiana, we went out for pizza with friends. Real pizza is always something I miss when I go to California. It’s not that the frozen-dough, 126 items on top, messy California pie is all that bad, it’s just that Italian pizza is quite different.
The Gatto Matto has achieved some fame in pizza competitions and is a hit with ex-pats: Winning The pizza hunters of Lunigiana competition handily.
Alas, the Gatto Matto is no longer in business. But the pizza, well you must see some of the well-crafted pies with toppings you don’t see outside of Italy.
If you are industrious enough to go to the back of the menu, after the “normal” pizzas, you’ll see a short list of some specialty pizzas. These, in my opinion, were the hit of the night. The one you see to the right is (are you truly ready for this?) a mashed potato and lardo pizza.
Ok, I just noticed that the drool has stopped dripping from the corners of your mouth. Who, in heaven’s name, would put lardo and mashed potatoes on a pizza? You’re also thinking, “when is this idiot going to use the phrase, or a slight variation of, “artery clogging”? Isn’t it imperative and required by law when your text is aimed at real Americans and their pristine veins? (I’ll look it up, promise.)
Ok, so it’s not just any lardo. It’s Duca di Tresana lardo, or lardo like they make it in the town of Tresana. It has exactly a 50-50 fat to lean ratio; you can see the lean bits on the picture, the fatty parts have dissolved lustily into the pizza. And the mashed potatoes are made special with the addition of nutmeg, the magic spice that transforms food into something, well, magical and exotic. Fab pizza. You should try it.
There was also one dribbled with some of what I’m thinking might be the last remaining stock of Balsamic Vinegar, considering all the storerooms that have collapsed due to recent earth-moving trembles. It also was studded with speck, chopped radicchio, and Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings. A close second place.
And then there was Martha’s rather plain, normal pizza, with those logs of fat asparagus floating in a sea of sauce you see up top there.
A great night, thanks to good friends and good pizza.