Pizza Special: Pancetta e Pomodoro….A blast from the past!

Pancetta e Pomodoro

Those of you who have been with us for the past 12 years may remember when we only offered a handful of pizzas, salads, wines and beers. Wow! Our menu has certainly expanded greatly over time!

Can you recall the original incarnation of our Pancetta e Pomodoro pizza? Let me refresh your memory a bit. It featured a base sauce of golden tomatoes topped with pancetta*, roasted mushrooms and fontina, provolone and asiago cheeses. It was a great little pizza enjoyed by all who were fortunate enough to taste it.  Then, about two years into it, our hearts dropped with some bad news. We discovered that the source for the distinctive golden tomatoes would no longer be available. We searched and searched (and searched) to no avail and finally admitted to the fact that we would have to change this special pizza.

Over the course of the next few years, we tried a handful of other pizzas that featured pancetta. Sure these “Pancetta e Pomodoro” pizzas were all delicious and tasty, but nothing quite compared to the one with the golden sauce. Luckily, about six years ago, we finally nailed it again. We realized that we could make something as special, or better, with what we already had in house…roasted tomatoes, which is the Pancetta e Pomodoro that I bring to you today.

While pancetta is always a star in my book, the roasted tomatoes are right up there, too. We prepare them very simply by dousing cherry tomatoes with a great extra virgin olive oil, adding a few garlic cloves, salting them and blasting them in our wood fired ovens for just a few minutes. That’s all it takes for the tomatoes to release their juices, caramelize a bit and sweeten up even further. Simple and extraordinary!

The Pancetta e Pomodoro starts with an extra virgin olive base. We add a bit of basil and fresh mozzarella and then top it with our roasted tomatoes and roasted onions.  Next, the big shining star, the pancetta and a dusting of pecorino romano to wrap it all up. It’s fired for the 90 seconds and then heaven falls to earth as the Pancetta e Pomodoro lands at your table with its cheesy, tomatoey, porky goodness!

The Pancetta e Pomodoro will run through March 25th.  I suggest you taste one now…since you never know what will happen in the future!

* Americans love to refer to pancetta as Italian bacon. There are only three real similarities between pancetta and bacon: both are made from pork belly, salted and cured. What sets them apart is what is used in the cure itself and how they are treated after being cured. Bacon generally has brown sugar and sometimes maple syrup in the cure. Pancetta is cured only with salt and maybe some bay leaf, rosemary, garlic and/or black pepper.  But, what really sets the two apart is the fact that bacon is then smoked where pancetta is not. This means that they differ vastly in flavor. Bacon is salty, sweet, smoky deliciousness while pancetta is salty, herbaceous and the true pork flavor shines through.  I like to refer to pancetta as the more refined big brother of bacon (and I am certain that may ruffle a few feathers, but so be it).  Regardless, I am a HUGE fan of both and, if you opened my refrigerator at home, you would find my bacon right next to my pancetta.

Brian Gojdics

Italian food has always played a role in Brian’s life in some capacity or another. Where he grew up in NE Ohio, families from Sicily, Naples and Abruzzo dominated the local Italian restaurant scene and he became inspired by their culinary traditions and flavors. Brian migrated west to Seattle and was hired as a cook when Tutta Bella opened its doors in 2004. He is now the Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage with responsibility over all menu development. Brian is one of the first three, and the first American, recognized by the AVPN as a Senior Pizzaiolo and has spent countless hours training with many master pizzaioli in Naples and across the United States. Brian and Tutta Bella’s owner still meet every Friday morning to explore and share new ingredients and recipes.