Pizzeria Mozza + Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes
It's hard to find Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes. The California canned organic tomatoes, a collaboration between famed pizzaiolo Chris Bianco in Phoenix and tomato processor Robert DiNapoli in Los Gatos, Calif., aren't widely available. There just aren't enough of them to go around, says DiNapoli, who began canning them in 2010 exclusively for Bianco. Last year the two started selling them to the food industry (but not retail), and this year they hope to double production.
Meanwhile, Nancy Silverton has been putting them on a handful of her pizzas at Pizzeria Mozza. "They’re super-delicious and so sweet that we don’t cook the tomatoes, we just hand-crush those," Silverton says. "They're different from other tomatoes. We’re really excited about it." She says she uses the tomatoes in dishes that really highlight them, such as the pizza Margherita pictured below with mozzarella di bufala and Genovese basil. A small section of the menu is devoted to pizzas made with the Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes.
The tomatoes are a variety of plum tomatoes from seed adapted from the San Marzano variety for the soil and weather conditions of California. They're grown organically by farmer Cliff Fong of Yolo County and canned by DiNapoli, whose grandfather started the family tomato-canning business in 1939. Bianco's father and brother designed the label.
DiNapoli says the tomatoes are organically farmed, hand-picked, washed and sorted. "Any tomato in the can was inspected before being placed in the can," he says. There are no chemicals, firming agents such as calcium chloride, or citric acid (usually used as a preservative). It's just tomatoes, sea salt and basil -- three basil leaves per can -- yes, exactly three.
Pizzeria Mozza, 641 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 297-0101, www.mozza-la.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Top photo: Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes. Credit: biancodinapoli.com. Bottom photo: Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza with Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes. Credit: Betty Hallock.