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[Photograph: Dave Potez]

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.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Roberta's to give away this week.

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.

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