Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pizzeria Mozza and the Mozza Cookbook

Pizzeria Mozza - Newport
A few weeks ago I took a day trip up to Newport Beach with a friend to do a little Christmas shopping at Fashion Island and have lunch at the new Pizzeria Mozza up there.  It's an easy day trip from San Diego, and the food is just as good as the Los Angeles branch.  We started with the caprese salad and toasted bread - a first for me.  They roast the tomatoes lightly on the vine, and serve them over a bed of fresh burrata with pesto and olive oil.  This is simple enough that it is all about the details, and this version was divine.  I tried making it at home using the instructions in the cookbook a few weeks later, but the same magic just wasn't there.  The one thing that was just as fantastic was the bread - grilled in the panini press with garlic olive oil and sea salt.  HIGHLY recommend recreating it at home if you have one of those fabulous devices.
Pizzeria Mozza - Newport
We split the salad and an order of the squash blossoms (a must) and moved onto the mushroom pizza.  I hadn't tried this particular one before - I've been stuck on the goat cheese, scallion and bacon pizza - but it was really good, with the same puffy crispy edges, an assortment of mushrooms, good cheese and lots of garlic.
Pizzeria Mozza - Newport
For dessert we split two of our favorites - one of which is the Caramel Copetta.  It's a sundae of caramel ice cream, marshmallow fluff, caramel sauce and spanish peanuts with a pizzelle cookie on the bottom and a liberal sprinkle of sea salt.  I think that's why I like it so much - all that salt and caramel.
Pizzeria Mozza - Newport
Our other favorite is the Butterscotch Budino - the most popular dish at either of their restaurants. It's a deep butterscotch pudding, topped with the same caramel as the Copetta, with a dollop of whipped cream and creme fraiche on top.  It's worth every bit of the hype.
Pizzeria Mozza - Newport
Just after this adventure, a friend of mine went to Nancy Silverton's book signing at Chino Farms and got me a copy of the new Mozza cookbook (autographed to Alice Q. Foodie - awww!)   Opening it up, I immediately wanted to make everything in it.  I was thrilled to see that it included the recipe for my favorite cookies they sell in their to go shop - Chocolate Hazelnut Maltaglieri, the Torta Della Nonna, pizza dough, pasta dough, their composed mozzarella crostini, salads, etc.  It really is a complete compendium of almost every dish at Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza.

Unfortunately I haven't had the best luck with the recipes. The instructions for the caprese suggest roasting the tomatoes for way too long at too high a temperature.  Mine broke down during the process and I didn't cook them as long as the instructions suggested  (on the plus side, they're great in pasta!)  I also tried the budino right away for James' birthday last week, since it's pretty much his favorite thing ever.  The first time it set up too soft and super grainy. It calls for an outrageous amount of cornstarch (2/3 of a cup!) and three cups of whipping cream, where most pudding recipes call for just a few tablespoons of cornstarch and whole milk.  I tried again with a half recipe (which was plenty for us - it makes ten servings!) but as I cooked the custard it turned grainy and lumpy again.  This time I used a hand blender to smooth it out again - but the recipe doesn't say to do that, it just says to strain it.  It worked pretty well, but it still wasn't perfect.  The flavor wasn't quite right either - it was more "butterscotch" than theirs - not necessarily a bad thing, just not what I was after.  I'm determined to get it right.  If and when I do, I will post a recipe.

The Chocolate Maltaglieri and the Torta Della Nonna were a success, luckily. Will post about those later.  The baking times were still off -  for the cookies it was too short and for the tart it was too long, but I was able to figure that out on my own.  I guess it also depends on your oven somewhat - there is a little natural variation there.  All in all, it's a lovely book and I would definitely recommend it - but my advice would be to take matters into your own hands if it appears necessary!

Amended:  I have made the pizza dough twice and it's fantastic!

Pizzeria Mozza
800 W Coast Hwy (toward Balboa Island)
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 945-1126

parking is impossible, just plan to valet. It's not as hard to get a reservation as it is at the LA branch, but it's still a good idea - they are on Open Table.


  1. We need to plan our lunch up there...when can we go???

  2. Amazing pictures!!! We went there for the Happy Hour and the pizza was really amazing!!!!!

  3. As to the butterscotch budino....I make mine with tapioca starch and 1/2 the amount of butter in the recipe. This gets rid of the grainy factor and I think tapioca starch is a nicer thickener. The end product has a smoother mouth feel.