Thursday, December 31, 2009


First, I would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive and encouraging of Morta Di Fame during the past year. Whether I invited myself over for dinner or you are half way around the world laughing at Nonna stories, you get it, which means I am not the only crazy one around here and that feels fantastic. I must especially thank Rocco and Nonna for letting me exploit their insanity and for never stopping loving and cooking for me. There isn't a moment when I don't love working on this blog.

Goals for Morta Di Fame in 2010: more Sicilian craziness, a Supper Club in Queens (at Nonna's perhaps), non-stop laughter and food.

Now, let's remember why this year was awesome:

Top 10 Places where I repeatedly used a mouth shovel this year:
1. Num Pang Sandwich Shop
21 East 12th St
between 5th Ave and UniversityNYC2.
2. Rye
247 S 1st St, Brooklyn
Closed but reopening soon
4. Wafa's
96-08 72nd Ave
Forest Hills, NY
5. Don Ferdinando's
151 Union St, Brooklyn
110 East 7th Street
New York, NY
261 Moore St Brooklyn,NY
74 Montauk Highway, Amagansett
9. Sushu Yasu
71-45 Yellowstone Blvd
Forest Hills, NY
354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Looking forward to eating at, in 2010:
Paulie Gee's Pizza, Greenpoint
Rockaway Taco, Rockaway

Morta Di Fame's Top 10 Dishes of 2009:

Looking forward to making in 2010:
Pasta with Sardines
The Stufato
Homemade Bread
A Whole Duck

A fun and exciting New Year to everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2009


I have been hiding out from the blogging world. I am not going to make any apologies because any more talk about F*@$ after this holiday and I will puke all over everyone! Then I will really have to apologize. So if you feel like you're pants aren't buttoning up quite right, then look in the back of your closet because maybe you were smart and hid some fat pants back there. I know I did.
I want to share some pictures and just a few words for context. And if you ignore this post entirely I completely understand. I do hope everyone had a wonderful holiday filled with laughter and lots of the the big F word. (Take that how you want.) And more of that for everyone in the New Year. Oh and lots of money for 2010, too!
Rocco's special Sicilian meat sauce with peas and cinnamon and topped with bread crumbs.
For Christmas day I made Rocco, who hate eggs and everything poultry related, Carrie's Coconut Cake, which is vegan. Its really moist and delicious. You will not miss the eggs or dairy.
Aunt Mary's Sfinci. These are like little Italian donuts and the hit of Christmas Eve every year.
Honey balls.
Too many oversized Italian pastries. I hate Italian pastries!
Nonna and Maria Sabella, who is nicknamed "La Discontenta" or "the discontented one." She is punk rock. She has purple hair. Sorry for the black and white photo. She is actually kind of bad ass.
Rocco. Que bella facia!
Espresso cups at midnight.
For Christmas Eve, I made the most delicious moist chocolate cake that no one ate because it couldn't compete with all the Italian pastries. I hate Italian pastries!
The Cassata Cake. Uncle Sal's favorite.
Mason: the cutest kid I have ever seen.

Carrie's Coconut Cake*

"hey girlfriend! here's the recipe:

1 2/3 cups sugar
*2/3 cup canola oil
(I used Sicilian olive oil)
1 (14-ounce can) coconut milk
1/4 cup soymilk
1/4 cup lemon juice (i always squeeze em!)
3 tbsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
*1 TBSP of Cointreau or Gran Marnier (not in the original recipe)
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
confectioners sugar

oven 350 degrees.
in a large mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, coconut milk, soymilk, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla.

sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients in batches, mixing well after each addition. fold in the coconut.

pour batter into greased pan & bake for an hour/ until inserted knife comes out clean. cool for ten minutes. flip
cakeout of pan, let cool completely then sift confectioners sugar over the top.

eat it!"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

GUIDO GIRLS DINNER #3 - in Queens!

In a worried tone Nonna asks when I go to Manhattan, "Jane you gotta go to New York?" I always find this funny, but then again I myself call it "the city," as if there aren't 4 other boroughs in New York City besides Manhattan. Most of my friends think visiting me in Queens is like traveling to another planet.
So when I proposed an Eyetalian Girls Dinner in my new Queens place, Meredith basically said, "Thanks for the offer, why don't we have it at my place?" (which is in Brooklyn). I held my ground, which is not easy with strong brained crazy Sicilian broads, and everyone made it here without a problem. Enter the new "awesome" phase of our friendships, because anyone willing to visit me in Queens from another borough is automatically an awesome friend.
Markus started off everyone's unique Queens dining experience with some professional Old Fashioned Cocktails he made with the Tuthilltown Manhattan Rye Whiskey we brought back from our "wine" tasting along the Shawangunk Wine Trail. If you haven't gone wine tasting along this trail, go! It was so much fun. But beware, after a few tastings you will get loose with your credit card and come home with an obscene amount of wine.
Markus takes his cocktail making very seriously and even watched an instructional video on how to make a proper Old Fashioned, the cocktail so named because people would ask for a whiskey cocktail made the "old fashioned" way. That day he put me on the hunt for oranges with oily skin, which I thought were appropriate for a greasy Italian dinner party. The cocktails were perfect, strong, enough but not too sweet with a nice citrus hint.
For appetizers I made local Sunchoke Bruschetta and served it alongside some Sicilian cheese, olives and sun dried tomatoes.
For the pasta course, I made a Creamy Mushroom Sage Sauce over Campanelle. This is such an easy sauce, perfect for company and in my opinion there is not a better flavor combination than shallots, mushrooms and sage. I also made an vegan version for my special Sicilian vegan guest that stood up to the creamy version. It had more of a mushroom flavor.
For the main course I served Panelle, which are chick pea fritters, with Italian bread, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Brocolli Rabe. This was my best panelle effort yet.
On our way to Ikea Rocco and I had stopped at Ferdinando's in Red Hook, which is one of the only places in the city where you can find panelle. I asked the panelle guy for some advice. He just said chick pea flour and water, with a little salt and fry them in canola oil. And at Ikea I found this great pan to use as a panelle form for $6. I followed his advice and didn't use lemon juice or parsley, I salted the paste well and I deep fried the panelle in Gemma oil, which is a vegetable oil about 10% olive oil. I was very satisfied with the results.
Melissa Love, of Crema Fatale, our favorite Vegan Pastry Chef brought over an unbelievable Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse Martini with Almond Praline. It was so delicious we practically licked the salt rimmed martini glasses clean. The almond praline was outstanding, so crunchy and chewy. The chocolate mouse was so smooth and there was a nice soft caramel surprise waiting on the bottom. The sea salt with the sweet was perfection and I don't do justice in this photo of the remarkable presentation. The dessert along with some really nice Cava, a white spanish sparkling wine that Meredith brought over was the perfect ending to our Crazy Eyetalian Girl's Dinner #3.
Thanks for coming to Queens my awesome Eyetalian friends!

Recipes from Eyetalian Girl's Dinner #3:

Old Fashioned Cocktail

To a cocktail glass add:
2 oz. rye whiskey
2-3 spoonfuls of simple syrup (For simple syrup dissolve 1 C. sugar in 1 C. water and cool)
2-3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
oily orange peel, twisted to express the oils and used as garnish
maraschino cherry (optional)

Sunchoke Bruschetta

1lb of Sunchokes or Jerusalem Artichokes
Olive Oil and/or butter
Salt and Pepper
1/2 loaf Italian Bread, sliced
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 whole clove of garlic

Preheat oven to 450.

Wash and peel the sunchokes and chopped into small pieces. Drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper on top and roast for about 15-20 minutes until they are soft.

Chop 1-2 pieces of garlic. Roast the chopped garlic with the sunchokes during the last 5 minutes of roasting.

Remove sunchokes from the oven and melt a few pats of butter on top (optional). Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional olive oil.

Toast sliced Italian bread. Upon removing from the toaster rub each slice with a clove of garlic.

Top each slice of toasted bread with the roasted sunchokes and serve.

Creamy Mushroom Sage Sauce with Campanelle Pasta

2 packages of fresh mushrooms (baby portobello, crimini or shiitaki), sliced
2 shallots, chopped
bunch of fresh sage, chopped
olive oil and butter
salt and pepper
about 1/2 C. cream or regular milk or soy milk
about 1 C. vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 lb. pasta, campanelle or penne

Sautee shallots and sage in butter and olive oil until softened. Add sliced mushrooms.
Once soft, season with salt and pepper. Add vegetable broth. Reduce for 5 minutes. Add cream of soy milk. Reduce until thickened about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and add a few pats of butter. Serve over campanelle pasta.

Panelle Revised
1 lb. chick pea flour
4 C. water or 1 Liter of Water
Oil for Frying

Boil the water. Add the chick pea flour slowly stirring constantly. Lower the heat if it starts to boil over. Keep boiling until its thick. Keep stirring. Once it pulls from the side of the pot, season with salt. Pour the paste into a greased mold. Cooking spray works best.
Let the panelle paste cool for a few hours in the fridge. Once its cool remove it from the mold and cut into thin 1/8 in. slices. Fry in canola or gemma oil and season with sea salt. Serve with Italian bread.

Brocolli Rabe
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp peperoncino (red pepper flakes)
extra virin olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large pan with a lid, sautee garlic and peperoncino in olive oil. Before the garlic browns add the broccoli rabe season with salt and pepper and put the lid on so it can steam. Stir after a few minutes so the greens on the bottom don't burn. Cook until the greens are softened. Serve with Italian bread.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1lb. Brussels Sprout
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and cut bottoms off the brussels sprouts. Cut each brussels sprout in half. In a baking dish season with a generous amount of olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake about 20 minutes until tender and the outer edges of the leaves are browned and caramelized.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Impromptu Rocco Dinner

When I have no food at home, but am ravenously hungry I call the Rocco. He always has something amazing on the stove. This lentil cauliflower soup is such a Galatioto family comfort food. Lentils, escarole, carrots, onions, garlic, celery, potatoes and Italian bay leaf topped with parmigianno reggiano and served with whole wheat coucous and Italian bread. A vegetarian delight!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I love any impending near apocalyptic event: hurricane, volcanic eruption, black out, you name it. Any reason to hunker down, hoard food, light candles and cozy up on the couch with nothing else to do is my idea of a good time. So when they predicted this massive blizzard, I was excited. Bring it on! It feels like every night is another holiday party this time of year. Not complaining, but sometimes its nice to stay home and read a book with some nice wine.
I am reading The Count of Monte Cristo. What a book! Love, Romance, Jealousy, Betrayal, Courage, Anguish, Vengeance, it has it all. Its 1,000 or so pages, a perfect read when you are pent up during a storm. A great quotation from this book that applies if you're stuck inside, cuddling with someone and watching the snow flakes fall: "Captivity that is shared is but half captivity."
I was inspired to read The Count of Monte Cristo after reading another great book (and awesome movie) called The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean Dominique Bauby. The main character and author, who a has-it-all fashion editor in Paris is struck with a major stroke that leaves him literally trapped inside his own body with "Locked-In Sydrome." He is fully paralyzed and torturously can only see and hear the world around him, but can't react in any way. He manages to figure out a way to communicate to the outside world by tediously blinking the alphabet and writes his entire autobiography in this way. Its tragic but truly inspiring. The Count of Monte Cristo was the Bauby's favorite book.
So what does this all have to do with food and the New Amsterdam Market? These photos that I took at the last New Amsterdam Market right before Thanksgiving were shot with a fish eye and appear the way I imagine the world would look from inside a diving bell. It was a perfect lens for me that day because I was in one of those strange moods where I merely felt like an observer, walking around aimlessly, looking at everything and everyone with not much to say. Its weird for me to not have much to say. I did manage to score a lot of yummy free samples.
It is such and extensive market, with a great energy, friendly vendors, free samples and great edible gifts just in time for the holidays. And since my two legs can walk to the subway and my two hands can fork food into my mouth, come hell or high water (or 2 feet of snow) we are going to the New Amsterdam Market today! The snow will make it all the more festive and there will be lots of delicious food to warm our bellies. Then we are going to take all our yummy goodies home, get planted on the couch, watch movies and stuff our faces a little more.
Sunday, December 20th
South Street, NYC

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Get your holiday edible gifts today at the Greenpoint Food Market. Lots of free samples, too!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The winter share has come to town and it was spectacular getting a gigantic box of veggies, lentils and fresh eggs. Of course I was very delighted to see the gorgeous broccoli sitting there on top of the heap. With it I made a creamy broccoli pasta (to be posted) and this dairy free creamy broccoli soup with fresh bay leaf. Bay leaf is such a special fragrant herb and fresh its even better. It really complemented the broccoli nicely.
This soup is so easy. I just sauteed some garlic and onions in olive oil with the bay leaf. Some peperoncino here is great. I added the broccoli and enough water to cover with some vegetable broth, then added some quartered red potatoes, skin on. I simmered until tender for about 20 minutes then pureed with the hand mixer, my hands-down favorite kitchen gadget. If you want to add some cream and butter, do it after you puree the soup, and some nice grated cheese would be great, too. But without the dairy, this soup is really creamy and delicious. Some hot chili oil to top this off would also be wonderful. Cheers! To broccoli!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy St. Lucy's Day!

St. Lucy's Day is the festival of lights. All I really know about this saint day is what we eat.
At Nonna's today we are eating my all time favorite dish: RICE BALLS or arancine (which means little oranges). They are so unbelievably delicious. I can eat ten easily. I eat them so fast that my food pipe can't keep up and I have to take mini rice ball breaks. I am eating one as I write this. Mommy just said food orgasm! Then after I admitted I was onto rice ball number four she said I was going to turn into a little rice ball.
Nonna also made white food or bianca mangiare which is comparable to rice pudding but made with whole wheat grain or cuccia (coo-chee-uh). It's kind of a weird dish, with a strange wet grainy texture. It's slightly sweet and topped with cinnamon and chocolate. Not my favorite but I still broke out the food shovel.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Making a Spaetztacle!

You may know him as the "scientist," or have read about my imaginary friend "Tim," the Southern bartender/professional mover, but my mystery man is a real living human being, with a real name, and he is coming out strong on the blog with a homemade family recipe. So watch me make a spaetztacle of him!
After a long motorcycle trip down to Florida to visit his parents, Markus came back up to New York with lots of pecan goodies from Georgia and some authentic German recipes courtesy of his Mom. I'm still waiting for my "Dirty South" bumper sticker for my imaginary car, but in the mean time these recipes will do.
There is nothing more worth cherishing than family recipes which are thriving mementos of someone or some time in our lives that we can stir up and in one bite experience the way we felt then. That is the definition of comfort food.
Markus grew up eating Kasespatzle or Cheese Spaetzle. Spaetzle is a traditional German egg noodle. Before this feast, I had very little spaetzle exposure, and I had never made any type of homemade noodle, so I really had no expectations. It turned out delicious!
In terms of appearance it looks sort of like macaroni and cheese. In terms of cheese and noodle layering and baking technique, its like a German lasagna, but this dish superbly stands out on its own.
There are three major components to this dish, noodles, cheese and onions. Need I say more? Fresh noodles are just so much better than store bought noodles. And the swiss cheese bakes into the noodles in a transcendental way. The whole thing topped with caramelized onions made me break out the mouth shovel. It was just so simple and so good.

Markus, thanks for teaching me how to make spaetzle!

Cheese Spaetzle
3 Onions
4 C. Flour
4 Eggs
1 C. Water
2 tsp. salt plus more for the boiling water
1 block of swiss cheese

Preheat and oven to 375 degree.

Start off by slicing three big onions in half, then into 1/4 inch slices. Sautee them in olive oil until brown and caramelized. They will be ready right before you put the dish in the oven.

Grate a block of swiss cheese. Set aside.

To make the batter you need 4C. flour, 1C. water, 4 eggs and salt. Place everything in a large bowl and mix. This batter needs to be beaten with a wooden spoon more than anything I have ever seen beaten in my life. It needs to be beaten until a big air bubble forms in the middle, a vigorous 10 minute beating will do. The batter takes on a gooey texture.
This is where the excitement begins. If you have a spaetzle machine, this is the time to dust it off. If not, you place about 1/2 C. of batter onto a wooden cutting board, then slice strips of the batter off the board with a knife into salted boiling water. Its a little awkward at first but fun once you get the hang of it. Once the spaetzle float to the top, which take like less than a minute or two, scoop them out with a strainer and into a buttered casserole dish. Top with grated cheese.

Boil more spaetzle and layer with more cheese. Repeat until you have a few layers of cheese and spaetzle then top the whole thing with the caramelized onions.

Bake for about 20 minutes covered. Get your mouth shovel out and serve with a salad.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Supermarkets are square...

One thing about supermarket shopping that SUCKS with a capital SUCKS is that you don't have access to a variety of vegetables. Yes, you can get broccoli, carrots, potatoes, etc but more than likely you get only one type of these vegetables, like Yukon Gold Potatoes for example, while at the Farmer's Market, at one stand there are more than 10 varieties of potatoes to choose from. Not only is this better for us nutritionally, but its super fun!
Check out this Romanescu Cauliflower. This cannot be had at your regular supermarket. Isn't it gorgeous? And it was deliciously and simple prepared in less than 20 minutes.
I sauteed some garlic and sun dried tomato paste in olive oil, then added some water to create a sauce. Then I warmed another pot, drizzled some olive oil on the bottom and added the Romanescu Cauliflower, cut in half (but whole is fine, too). Over the top I poured the tomato sauce over and salt and pepper. I added a little water to the bottom of the pan, then put the lid on so it could steam in the tomato sauce for about 10 minutes until tender but not falling apart. This is a very traditional and quick way to prepare cauliflower. With a nice piece of Italian Bread, lunch was served!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BUON COMPLEANO NONNA! Some more Sicilian craziness...

Happy 89th Birthday, Nonna! And another one, and another one, and another one...
Last year at this time, Nonna was in bad shape, in the hospital and we weren't sure she was going to make it through the holidays. But she has that Sicilian fight in her, and she is alive and spunky today and we are truly grateful, even though she doesn't exactly share that sentiment.
We took Nonna out to London Lennies, the best seafood restaurant in NYC which happens to be in the Queens hood. Top notch meal and top notch service.
It was a lot of crazy Galatioto Family fun, which culminated in the entire restaurant singing "Happy Birthday" to Nonna over a giant piece of cheese cake. Nonna's wish after she blew out the candles: "Natrannu un vulissi esseri essei 'cca" or "Next year I don't want to be here."
"Don't worry, Mama," Uncle Sal screamed across the table, "next year, we'll take you to Joe Abbraciamento's," (That's an all Italian joint up the block.) He knew full well she wasn't talking about the restaurant.
Claire, my bestest friend and our waitress was concerned.
"Was the service bad?" she asked.
"No, Claire, next year Nonna wants to be dead," I said.
And this is why Sicilians are insane. I rest my case.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Its 10pm (and snowing) do you know where your mutandine are?

You may be asking yourself WTF is mutandine? If you are asking this question, I am guessing you don't have a Sicilian Nonna. Mutandine or as I pronounce (moo-tun-dee-nee), is basically any undershirt and if you're from any of the outer boroughs you may refer to it as a stickball shirt or a wife beater.
As a child you did not go to Sunday dinner at Nonna's, even during a heat wave, without your mutandine. It was as if the mutandine possessed some magical powers that fought off the common cold and the evil eye.
Nonna had a keen sense about the mutandine. If I wore it, she subtly nodded in approval. But if not she gave me a horrified look then grab at my torso, rustling my clothes hysterically.
"Jane, you notta wear you mutandine? Jane, you goin' to catch cold."
Working up a sweat in the middle of the summer I would try to assure her that I would be okay.
"No! Jane you needa the mutandine."
So she would fish out one of Nonno's (that's my grandpa's) mutandine, a great big mutandine that fit me like a dress, so I looked like one of the chipmunks and I'd put my smaller outside shirt over it.
Looking like a fool, Nonna would calm down. Better to look like a fool than be struck with a fever in the middle of July. Satisfied, she would bring me to the table for a nice big bowl of my favorite pasta, which was plain with some olive oil.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Scratch that title. Make it: Exclusive Pizza FEAST at Paulie Gee's. And thank God it was a feast because on the drive out to Jersey, packed in the Honda that reeks of dog were Erik, Carrie, Angie, myself and a very hungry and cranky Rocco. And the only thing that makes this cursing curmudgeon happy in life these days is food, and lots of it.
So why were we so lucky to be invited to this special feast? After I met Paulie at a Pizzalicious Meet-Up at Roberta's in October and learned that he was opening his own authentic Neapolitan Pizza joint in Greenpoint (so close!) and that he would soon be retiring the outdoor oven in his backyard, I begged and begged to come over for a tasting. And when I want something bad, well I make it hard to say no.
When we arrived, Paulie and his pooch graciously greeted us on the porch of his quaint country house. We were in NJ, and if you grew up in Queens, unless you are in Newark, its the country. The minute we got out of the car we could smell that beautiful wood burning oven. It was a crisp night and we were ready to warm up with some delicious pizza.
But first, Paulie likes to get the party started with a little of his homemade limoncello. Sweet and strong, two good qualities for basically anything.
A toast, the fire was ready, and we started in on the menu, which was 12 pies! B-R-I-N-G I-T O-N!
While we were planning days prior, Paulie was concerned about the number of people coming because he wanted to make sure we had enough food for everyone. Now I can smell an Italian when I smell one and this food anxiety is a totally Italian trait. He kept stressing the number 8, and I kept saying, "don't worry Paulie; there will be plenty of food." I even brought a big salad (arugula, toasted pecans and pomegranate seeds) to calm him down plus two desserts. I didn't realize that he cuts the pies into 8 slices in order for everyone to taste each one. Nuh Duh!
It didn't matter because I threw in some other monkey wrenches. After inviting myself and seven friends over, among the guests was a vegan (who is pregnant and hungry) and a vegetarian (who is tall and hungry)! Let's see... first pizza: Margherita with Prosciutto di Parma. Uh? Yeah, thats meat and cheese. This just went to show what an awesome and flexible guy Paulie is.
Why is Paulie awesome? First, he's decided that his dream is to open a pizza place and he is doing it. Anyone who follows through on their dreams is truly an inspiration. Next, he is super open to new ideas, which will make his pizza place thrive. Instead of hanging a sign outside the door of his house that said, "No Vegans!" he challenged his assistant Alex, a "Godsend" as Paulie calls him, to come up with some ideas for vegan pizza. There is something to be said about letting off the reigns a little and letting other people get creative. Its just shows how confident you are in your own craft and how laid back and cool you are. Alex hooked up two amazing vegan pies. I was truly impressed as was the rest of the table.
But let's get down to business, or as Rocco pronounces, "biz-a-neece." PIZZA!

Exclusive Paulie Gee Pizza Feast Menu:

Margherita with Prosciutto di Parma

Marinara - San Marzano Tomatoes, Chopped Fresh Garlic and Coarse Sicilian Sea Salt

Bianco with Baby Arugula, Fresh Lemon Juice, Olive Oil and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Vegan Pie #1 - Mixed mushrooms, garlic, shallots, tomato, tofu cream sauce, shaved collard greens

Margherita with Sopressata Picante and Parmigiano Reggiano

Bianco with Baby Arugula, Fresh Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Prosciutto di Parma and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Margherita with Speck, Pecorino Romano and Sliced Sweet Onion

Bianco with Chopped Fresh Garlic, Pecorino Romano and Fresh Basil

Vegan #2 - Homemade Vegan Sausage, peppers, onions, basil and black sulfur salt

Bianco with Speck, Parmigiano Reggiano and Sunnyside Up Eggs

Bianco with Chopped Fresh Garlic, Cherry Tomato Medley, Fresh Basil and Coarse Sicilian Sea Salt

Margherita with Sopressata Picante and Parmigiano Reggiano

I was blown away by each and every pie. The crust was perfect. The sauce was perfect. His choice of toppings was perfect. And he cooked them in that outdoor oven to perfection. Each pie took about 90 seconds in the oven, and we devoured them all in less than that time.
My favorite was the Margherita with Sopressata Picante and Parmigiano Reggiano. I was such an Una Pizza gal for so long, (which means no pepperoni!) that I didn't realize how much I missed eating hot sopressata on my pizza. The way the edges curl up and get crispy makes my mouth water. And the heat was just right. I went back for seconds on this baby. See, bringing vegetarians wasn't a bad idea afterall.

Next favorite, to my surprise was the Marinara. That means no cheese, which is normally not my first choice when there is cheese to be eaten, but Paulie put fresh chopped garlic on top and I LOVE GARLIC!!! This was such a fantastic touch. To hell with the cheese. Everyone loved this one, especially those hungry veggie people.
A huge "crowd pleaser," as Paulie called it was the Bianco. Thats just cheese and basil, no sauce. The way the basil crisps up under the fire gives it a new life and flavor. This one melts in your mouth.

Everyone went nuts over the Bianco with Baby Arugula, Fresh Lemon Juice, Olive Oil and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, then when Paulie brought out a second, this time with Prosciutto di Parma under the arugula, everyone went nutser. Rocco was really delighted by the lemon flavor on the pizza. Nice touch, Paulie.
The Speck and Sweet Onions made such a winning combo. Speck is very bacony, almost like beef jerky in a high class kind of way. When he served it with the sunnyside up egg I was really excited. There was an egg sliding mishap in the oven that I am sure is Jerry's fault, but it still had such a phenomenal flavor. It was like delicious breakfast on pizza. I always get the Margherita with an Egg on top at Roberta's. I think if I beg hard enough that Paulie will do this for me at his joint then I don't need to go to Roberta's at all. Egg on pizza equals genius, period.
Onto the vegan pies. Great job, Alex! The crusts were good. They had a nuttiness to them. I liked all the fresh ingredients. The slivers of collard greens gave a nice crunch and the tofu creme was really rich and tasty. Even the homemade sausage was really interesting, filled with nice spicy flavors, like fennel and mustard seeds. Compared to the non-vegan pies, I'd say the vegan pies were all about the combination of flavors leaving you wondering what deliciousness you were eating, while Paulie's non-vegan pies were much simpler, in which each component complimented each other but never took over the whole pie so you really could appreciate each ingredient on its own.
I would like to take a moment to focus not only on the exquisite pies, but also on the great company. Thats what its all about and Paulie knows this and his warmth and hospitality, his funny stories and his passion for each pie made the mood fun and cheerful. And Rocco and Paulie, now thats a combination, let me tell you! To get these two in the same room was priceless.
After 10 pies, we were stuffed. That where my old friend Jerry came in. Not only did Jerry bring delicious home brewed Bock beer that had a nice sweet coffee flavor, but he also was in charge of the fire. When we were kids, Jerry worked at the infamous Prima Pizza on Hillside Ave in Queens Village, where they sold $1 slices, so I was very confident he could work that fire. He did a great job except for the egg fiasco, ah-hem. But Jerry's most important job, and why I adore him so, is that he is a food vacuum. Any leftovers, Jerry gladly eats. So he was key, because we were all so so full and he just shrugged his shoulders and shoveled it in. Gotta love it!
After a short recovery period, we did my favorite thing in the world after a great meal, we double desserted! I brought two cakes, a Chocolate Almond Torte and a Vegan German Apple Cake, and everyone had a slice of each. I love that!

What a wonderful evening it turned out to be. Lovely company and outstanding pizza that Greenpoint will be blown away by. Yes, Paulie, I will pay for that pizza! And on the ride home, Mr. Rocco was stuffed like a goose and a very happy camper. I know because he was singing about the dog, a good sign and cursing less. He even said, and I quote, "that Paulie, he's a really nice guy. I want to be friends with him. If we have him over for Pasta with Sardines, he will be our friend forever!" Diddo. Soon Paulie, very soon.

Stay tuned for Paulie Gee's Pizza joint to be opening soon in Greenpoint, on Franklin and Greenpoint Aves.

And if you want to read more about Paulie follow these links:
Paulie's Flickr (below: Paulie's pizza photos - yum!)
Thanks again, Paulie for an unforgettable evening! You're a classy dude and a downright excellent pizzaiuolo. I can hardly wait for your pizza joint to open.