“Obsessively authentic Italian.” That’s the motto at Ca’ Momi, a bustling little Napa restaurant known for its Neapolitan-style pizza. So closely does it hew to tradition that it’s one of only 76 American pizzerias certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana organization.
Key to the springy crust of a Ca’ Momi pizza, says co-owner Dario De Conti, is the restaurant’s big wood-fired oven. It burns at 900°, instantly sealing the dough’s surface and trapping its expanding gases. Total baking time: 90 seconds. “The big problem with making pizza at home is that you don’t get the temperature,” he says. Most home ovens max out at 500°, not hot enough to trap gases—so the pizza tends to get crackerlike.
But De Conti has some tricks up his floury sleeve for making pizza at home, which he showed us at the Napa house. One of his secrets isn’t Italian at all: organic local produce. “Here in California, it is so much better than in Italy,” says De Conti. “It is amazing.”
Pizza spatula. To cut the dough. De Conti uses one from Italy; it’s hard to find here, but a wide, thin metal spatula works too.
Pizza stone. Absorbs and radiates heat so the crust cooks faster. pizzacraft.com.
Metal pizza peel. Slips easily under raw pizza; a short-handled one maneuvers better. pizzacraft.com.
Pizza board. For serving; De Conti likes a 14-in. one from Simply Bamboo. amazon.com.
Flour. High-protein Italian “00” (finely milled) flour produces the springiest crust; available at well-stocked grocery stores and online.
Tomato sauce. A good canned tomato is all you need. De Conti uses San Marzano or organic ground Christina’s tomatoes from Davis, California.
Fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. Delicate and perishable; find at cheese shops or well-stocked grocery stores (or use cow’s-milk mozzarella). Both are packed in brine.
Cooked ham (prosciutto cotto). Find at Italian and well-stocked grocery stores, or use uncured boiled ham from the deli counter.
This pizza, topped with fresh and smoked mozzarella and thyme, is delicately smoky. It's worth trying to find fresh smoked buffalo mozzarella with its lovely light texture. If you use smoked cow's-milk mozzarella instead, trim off the rind if it's tough.
Recipe: Biancaneve Pizza