MozzaPi’s pizza remains near and dear to my heart

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I’m sure I’ve told you before that pizza is one of my favorite foods. I can’t think of one of Louisville’s 60 pizzerias that I would outright reject. Well, maybe some of the national chains, unless I’m really hungry.

I mean, what’s not to love about pizza? It’s relatively healthy, a thin bread base that, except for the occasional deep pie, barely yields enough carbs to bother anyone. A layer of delicious tomato sauce, a layer of delicious cheese, some tasty meats or vegetables of your taste on top… why, you have all the food groups on your plate!

So what’s my favorite pizza in town? I often ask myself this question, but I don’t have an easy answer. Charcoal and wood-fired pizzas are appealing, but a good gas or electric pizza oven with a brick or concrete deck can absolutely do the job.

Sure, I like New York thin crust or Italian style, but I wouldn’t say no to a slightly thicker crust, or even, on occasion, the deep dish styles of Chicago and Detroit.

A good pizza, after all, is as much about the bread as it is about the sauce, cheese and toppings. To make me truly happy, the pizza crust has to have the heft, bubbly texture and crispy exterior, and good wheat flavor of an artisan bread. If you don’t have this excellent base, the rest of the pizza can hardly excel.

When it comes to great bread at a Louisville pizza place, it’s hard to beat MozzaPi, thankfully reopened post-pandemic in its original neighborhoods on the east side of Anchorage. Describing itself as an artisan pizzeria and bakery, MozzaPi prides itself on making its breads and pizza dough with sustainable, organic and locally grown ancient grains, freshly ground on site. It’s hard to get more serious about your bread than that.

Nothing makes kale better than finely chopping it and gently massaging it with oil. That’s just the beginning of MozzaPi’s memorable Kale Salad.

“The new pizza paradigm is all about balance,” MozzaPi says on its website. “Cleverly balancing the crust with the toppings, balancing the flavors with the textures, balancing the local with seasonal ingredients. It’s really about taking natural, wholesome ingredients and preparing them in a way that’s easy and satisfying.

Yum! Just reading this is making me crave pizza right now.

The current menu is about as simple as it gets: seven specialty pizzas, all nine-inches, all $14; or classic build-your-own pies with cheese ($11), pepperoni, or sausage (both $12), plus $2.50 per meat filling, $1.50 per vegetable filling, 75 cents for extra cheese and $2.50 if you want a gluten free crust. A dinner-sized house salad or insanely good kale salad are $13 each. A side of excellent foccacia is $5, a side salad $6, and for dessert, a freshly baked cookie is $3.

I made a healthy choice with MozzaPi’s spinach and ricotta pizza ($14). A lovely crust, golden brown and covered in leopard spots from the oven, was topped with a freshly made just-spiced tomato sauce and red pepper flakes, topped with a thick blanket of fresh baby spinach and finished with mozzarella slices and ricotta cream cheese. The spinach didn’t wilt so it was almost like spinach salad pizza with cheese.

I would definitely try it again, but before I go back to it, I need to try a few of the other offbeat topping combos first. Pizza with sweet onion marmalade, for example, with blue cheese, andouille sausage, bourbon cherries and rosemary. Or spicy giardiniera pizza with pepperoni, roasted red peppers, onion, celery and spicy serrano peppers. Yes, I love these pizzas.

The kale salad ($13) was perfect. Lots of chopped kale has been gently massaged with olive oil and lemon vinaigrette, then topped with grape tomatoes, toasted walnuts, sunflower seeds and slices of Parmesan cheese. The freshly baked rosemary focaccia on the side added a welcome touch.

A side house salad ($6) also had potential, with a great concept pairing mixed spring lettuces and baby spinach with cherry tomatoes, graded carrots and chopped cucumber and slices of Parmesan, all topped with an appetizing Dijon mustard and lemon vinaigrette. It’s a lot to love, but it was flawed by a pet peeve: blackened edges on a few pieces of lettuce that should have been discarded.

For what it’s worth although the owner and a staff of three were extremely busy managing the register, kitchen and food on a very busy day. They got it so right in difficult circumstances that I can’t blame them much for that little mistake.

We finished with one of our favorite cookies, a large-grain sweet corn cookie ($3) made with freshly ground yellow cornmeal and baked to order. It was so good that I ordered two more.

Our meal for two was $38.16 plus 22% tip. •

Mozza Pi
12102 LaGrange Road
890-4832
mozzapi.com

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