PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A local family-owned pizza house has won a competition in Italy for making America’s best pizza in 2019.
The pizza was the creation of a local chef who says Pittsburgh is finally getting recognition for its pizza.
It’s as American as apple pie — pizza — and now judges at the Pizza World Championship in Parma, Italy, have declared this pizza at Pittsburgh’s Caliente Pizza as America’s best.
It’s a pizza pie designed by Chef Eric Von Hansen and called the “Mee-maw” after his Italian mother.
“Named after my mother who’s a mee-maw. She has ten grandkids from me, my brother, my sister,” Von Hansen told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
It’s the Mee-maw’s ingredients that make it stand out.
KDKA watched the chef make one, adding olive oil and aged Parmesan to his special dough followed by something called rapini.
“My rapini, an Italian green grown in Tuscany, Italy, very flavorful, a little bit bitter, but you cook it down. But it’s cooked down with a peppered bacon, shallots, garlic, a little bit of onion, some crushed plum tomatoes. It gives it a great, great flavor.”
The next ingredient — shaved porchetta.
“It’s beautiful. It takes ten hours [to cook]. You can see all the nice herbs inside it.”
So what is porchetta?
“Porchetta is the belly of the pig that is opened up and seasoned with various herbs and spices.”
Topped with aged parmesan, the pizza was popped in the oven for about seven-eight minutes before customers like the Rodgers family, who had just heard of the award-winning pizza, gave it a try.
“It was fantastic, some of the best pizza I ever had,” said Chris Rodgers of Bethel Park.
“It’s chock full of flavor.”
It’s a big win for Nick Bogacz, who owns five Caliente Pizza Houses in Pittsburgh.
Bogacz enticed Chef Von Hansen to join Caliente’s and assisted the chef on the trip to Italy.
“All along the way, Eric was pillaging for ingredients to make this pizza,” said Bogacz.
Of course, KDKA money editor Jon Delano had to try it.
“I’ve never tasted a pizza like this. This is great,” admitted Delano.
“That is awesome. That is a very good piece of pizza.”
The pizza is now available at all Caliente locations in limited quantities.