Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Suzanne Goin of AOC in Los Angeles fell for the vongole that chef Marc Orfaly cooks at Pigalle in Boston. What great thing have you eaten lately, Marc?
Who: Marc Orfaly, chef-owner of Pigalle, Boston.
What: Robiola, Black-truffle pâté and Pecorino-tartufo pizza
Where: Accademia di Vino, New York
"My old college roommate Kevin Garcia is the chef at Accademia di Vino on the Upper West Side. He does a really outrageous black-truffle-and-robiola pizza. Maybe it's a chef thing, but I love the poor man/rich man thing. Pizza is almost a comfort food and to do a luxury topping with black truffle and robiola — it's a really nice juxtaposition. I love his dough. He uses whole-wheat flour and honey, and he grills the pizza. For me, it's the perfect texture of crispiness and chew: You want pizza to be crispy, but not a cracker. The earthiness of the dough really matches the truffles, and the creaminess of the robiola puts it over the top."
Accademia di Vino chef Kevin Garcia explains how the dish came about:
"Years and years and years ago, a very well-known pizzaiolo named Chiro — he used to work for Pino Luongo; I think he might have gone all the way back to La Madre — made a pizza bianca with white-truffle oil, and then sometimes they shaved white truffles on this as well. When I tried it, truffles were pretty new to me. It was just an expertly cooked piece of oven-baked dough, and they just spread robiola all over it, a little bit of white-truffle oil, and you can have shaved truffles if you chose, and I did it.
I thought I would sort of take that and run with it. [We do] a grilled pizza dough, which is a little whole-wheat flour, a little high-gluten flour, some all-purpose flour — that's as much as I can say, because a lot of people want the recipe. We use four types of cheese — sparingly: Pecorino grand cru, which is a sheep's milk; bel paese, which is cow's milk; Pecorino tartufo, which is a truffle-infused sheep's milk cheese; and the final one is the white dollops of robiola, which can be a mixture of cow's and sheep's milk. Since you can't get white truffles all year round and it would be prohibitive in expense, I've sourced something called black-truffle pâté, which is black-truffle peelings and shavings that are then mixed with olive oil in a purée. This is our second-best-selling pizza behind the ever-popular tomato basil and mozzarella, which I don't dare call a margherita, because I don't use D.O.C. ingredients."