This Pizza Perfectly Recreates the Classic Italian Deli Sandwich
PDA's newest pie is a delicious ode to one of the city's best sandwiches
From the Nicky Special at Defonte’s Sandwich Shop in Red Hook to the Godfather II at Hana Food in Williamsburg and the Italian Combo at Court Street Grocers in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn has an abundance of interesting and delicious takes on the standard Italian sandwich.
But it’s actually a Brooklyn pizzeria that is serving up one of the freshest, tastiest takes on the classic Italian deli sandwich…and they’re doing it in Manhattan with a pizza.
Created by Public Display of Affection Pizza in Park Slope and featuring spicy tomato sauce, pesto, arugula, hot soppressata and fresh mozzarella, the Italian-sandwich-style pie is a collaboration with Manhattan Italian specialty sandwich shop Alidoro for the A Slice of The Hugh program at The Hugh. Meant to show off the variety of food vendors that peddle their wares in the Midtown East food hall, the program has previously featured PDA collabs like a Clam Pie with seafood joint Greenpoint Fish & Lobster and a Senegalese Yassa Chicken Pizza with West African eatery Teranga.
“The Alidoro pie just makes sense because they make Italian sandwiches and all those ingredients classically go on a pizza really well. Since we’re using their ingredients, it’s going to be an Italian sandwich pizza,” PDA owner and chef Robert Guimond tells InsideHook. “The greens, the pesto and the Italian deli meats all classically go on a more gourmet pizza and make the crossover work. It’s a good combo and it’s fun to mess around with new ingredients. I wanted to mess around with porchetta, but the soppressata just works better on a pizza. It’s just meat, cheese and sauce with some arugula and some pesto. You can’t go wrong.”
Spicy, meaty and very, very green due to the arugula and pesto, the pie is reminiscent of an overloaded hot sandwich, per Guimond.
“We really try to load up that Soppressata and keep the integrity of the deli meat. A lot of times when you use deli meat on a pizza it gets hidden by the cheese and the sauce,” he says. “Instead of laying it on flat, we clump it up so that you get more of the texture and we don’t kill it with the sauce or the cheese. It’s a little bit lighter so that all of the flavors come through and it’s not just dough, sauce and cheese. It’s like a toasted sandwich with meat that you pull out of the oven, throw some lettuce and some pesto on and call it a day.”
For fans of Alidoro‘s sandwiches and PDA’s pies, the pizza is the best of both worlds — and it was fun to make.
“Anytime someone is doing a collaboration, it’s like two minds are coming together and everybody’s working to bring their A-game,” Guimond says. “You can just get used to doing the same thing every day. It’s super fun to mix it up and bring in some other ingredients and bring in some other ideas. It’s super easy to get caught up in the machine of the restaurant business, especially after the pandemic with everybody hanging on for dear life. I got into the business to meet new people and try new things and have a good time.”
Now you can have one too with a modified version of Guimond’s recipe.
PDA’s Italian Sandwich Pizza
- 8oz tomato sauce spread evenly on the pizza dough leaving half an inch of space for the crust
- 2oz Alidoro hot spread (optional)
- A pinch of chili flakes
- A pinch of oregano
- 18 marble-sized pieces of fresh mozzarella
- 22 pieces of thinly sliced hot soppressata
- 2 tablespoons of parmesan
- Enough arugula and your favorite pesto to cover the pie
- Enough store-bought or homemade pizza dough for an 18-inch pizza
- Once you’ve rolled out your dough, spread the sauce evenly leaving half an inch of space for the crust. You don’t want to use too much sauce. Lean towards less sauce to keep the dough from getting soggy. For some spice, include the Alidoro hot spread with the sauce. The biggest problem cooks have at home is over-topping their pizzas. Especially with a pizza where we want to showcase the pesto, arugula and the freshness of the pie, over-topping is a bad idea.
- Sprinkle the chili flakes, oregano and parmesan evenly throughout the pie.
- Disperse the pieces of mozzarella across the pie followed by the hot soppressata. We fold the soppressata twice before placing it on the pizza so that it sticks up out of the sauce. It gets crispier that way during cooking.
- Cook the pizza at around 500 degrees for 12 minutes. We cook our pies at 650 degrees for about six minutes.
- After the cooking is complete, cut the pizza then top it with a healthy mound of arugula to evenly cover the top of the pie. Then take a spoon and dollop the pesto on top. Enjoy!
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