For those who are unfamiliar with the restaurant, Roberta's started out as a hip, easy-going pizza restaurant in pre-Girls Bushwick, Brooklyn. Cooking with basically only a wood-fired oven (read: no gas or heat), chef Carlo Mirarchi managed to attract the attention of the New York Times. One thing led to another, and the restaurant has now expanded into a sort of culinary compound, serving everything from their now-famous pizzas to sea urchin roe with stracciatella, caviar, and nasturtium granita.
The Roberta's cookbook also begins with pizza, so we too will kick off our week with a pie. The Speckenwolf is a mainstay on their menu. It's a simple white pizza topped with paper-thin slices of smoky cured speck, creamy fresh mozzarella, earthy mushrooms, and sharp red onions. It's the tiny sprinkle of oregano, though, that totally makes the dish.
Why I picked this recipe: I couldn't miss out on trying one of Roberta's pizzas at home; speck and mozzarella sounded like a great place to start.
What worked: I especially liked the herbal note added by the oregano. It added balance to the salty ham and creamy cheese.
What didn't: I decided to cut up my cremini mushrooms rather than leave them whole so I could spread them around the pizza.
Suggested tweaks: Don't have access to speck? You can use thinly sliced prosciutto and a sprinkle of smoked paprika instead. Wild mushrooms, like chanterelle or blue oysters would be a fine replacement for the creminis if you want deeper mushroom flavor.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.