Chef Daniele Uditi was down on his luck when he first moved to Los Angeles from Naples. His luck changed when he made a pizza for actor Chris O'Donnell. The actor loved Uditi's pizza so much that he had the chef come over to his home and teach guests how to make his delicious pie.
That encounter allowed Uditi to meet Candace Nelson, the pastry chef behind Sprinkles Cupcakes. Soon, the trio was talking about opening a restaurant which became Pizzana.
After opening his first restaurant in Brentwood, Uditi expanded to West Hollywood, where Jessica recently got to visit and indulge in some delicious Naples cuisine.
The West Hollywood location is small, but that's how Uditi likes it. He wants his visitors to feel cozy and interact with other diners.
He said his pizzas are "Neo-Neapolitan," because they are based on what he cooked and ate in Naples, but he added a Southern Carlifornia flair. Many of his ingredients are straight from Italy, including a starter yeast from his aunt's bakery back home dating back to the 1960s. But others are picked up at local farmers markets in L.A., Uditi said.
Jessica got in the kitchen with Uditi to make an artichoke salad and one of his signature pizzas, and got to sample other dishes at Pizzana.
This segment aired on California Cooking With Jessica Holmes Episode 45.
Pizzana Carciofi Arrostiti (Artichoke Salad), Serves 2
- 1 artichoke heart, cleaned and boiled
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 cup of thinly sliced baby artichokes
- 2 tablespoon of lemon citronette (1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, a pinch of salt)
- 1 tablespoon of grated parmigiano
- 1/2 tablespoon of roasted pine nuts
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Cut the artichoke heart in 4 pieces and place it on a tray.
- Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and place it in the oven under broil for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Place the hearts in a small bowl and add the lemon citronette while hot, along with the pine nuts.
- In a pan, heat some vegetable oil and fry the baby artichokes until golden and brown. Place them on tray lined with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle a plate with parmigiano reggiano, then place the artichokes heart with the pine nuts on top. Finish with the crispy baby artichokes.
Pizzana Corbarina Pizza, (Squash Blossom and Burrata)
For the gremolata
- 1/2 cup of parsley
- 1/2 cup of oregano
- 1 lemon zest
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1/2 cup of EVO
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 store bought pizzas-dough (or you can use the recipe below to make from scratch)
- 1/3 cup slices cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons of crushed San Marzano tomato
- 1 fresh burrata cheese ball
- 3 squash blossoms
Assembling the pizza
- Finely chop the parsley and the oregano and the garlic. Add to a bowl, zest a full lemon and add the oil, salt and pepper. Mix it with a spoon and set aside.
- Stretch your dough in a circular shape around 10 inches in diameter. Apply the crushed San Marzano and the cherry tomatoes. Cook it for 6-7 minutes in a 500 degree oven with a pizza stone.
- Slice your pizza and top each slice with a piece of burrata half squash blossom and teaspoon of gremolata.
To make pizza from scratch:
Ingredients for pizza dough
- 1000 g King Arthur bread flour or Caputo flour
- 650 grams of water at room temperature
- 35 grams of sea salt
- 5 grams of active dry yeast
- In a bowl, add the flour and water and combine until the mixture comes together. Let rest for 30 minutes. (this process is called autolysis).
- Dissolve the yeast in a little warm water and add to flour and water mixture. Knead until all the yeast is absorbed.
- Once the yeast is fully absorbed, add the salt and continue mixing. The process of kneading should last 10 to 15 minutes to start developing some gluten.
- Let the dough rest for at least an hour before dividing and rounding.
- After 1 hour, start dividing the dough in ball shapes of 250 grams. Place each ball of dough on a tray or in a plastic container and let proof at room temperature for 5-6 hours. The balls of dough should be double their size.
*For accurate results, I suggest using grams because they are much more precise than cups and ounces.
Recipe's courtesy of Daniele Uditi.