At Due Forni in Las Vegas. Chef Carlos Buscaglia is creating mouthwatering pizzas, an array of hot and cold appetizers, plus other daily specials from a kitchen tiny, open kitchen. His two Italian pizza ovens dominate the space, providing the singular heating element for all the food being served. If this isn’t a temple to celebrating Italian pizza, I don’t know what is.
Mike Tadich, Italian Wine Geek Extraordinaire, took me and Dave Scott(our partner in wine), to Due Forni in Las Vegas last night. The concept is intriguing, and simple. Two ovens, simple ingredients and lots of wine. These twin Italian pizza ovens are operated at two separate temperatures to create two different types of pizza. The “Romana” is baked at a lower temperature (still about 500 degrees), for a few minutes, while the “Napolitana” is baked at a much higher temperature for a very quick blast of heat. The results couldn’t be more different- both delicious in their own ways.
After a careful taste comparison of the two crusts (we ordered the “Due Forni” Pizza with bacon, house-made sausage, basil and piquillo peppers both ways), I decided I am partial to the Romana’s cracker-thin, super crispy crust. It was the perfect vehicle to deliver that symphony of toppings to my mouth- sweet, milky mozzarella (flown in 6 days a week from Campania), salty spiced sausage and those tangy pequillo peppers, all held together by studs of smoky bacon.
The wine list also impresses, full of autochthonous Italian gems, like one of my personal favorites, Giordanino Teresio’s “Saluces”. Made from the indigenous Piemontese grape Nebbiolo di Dronero, or “Chatus”, this is wine is truly special. If you can find Saluces, drink as much as you can. It’s delicious. Seriously.
I was also ecstatic to find a sophisticated and comprehensive list of Italian amari listed alongside the deserts. There are not many pizza places where you can grab such an authentically-crafted pizza, alongside a bottle of traditional Italian wine, and then finish your meal with a touch of Montenegroor Nonino Amaro. It’s enough to bring tears to my eyes.
Speaking of “i dolci”, Chef Carlos’ partner, Alex Taylor had us taste a desert he is particularly fond of- Bufala Ricotta cheese, whipped until it becomes as smooth and light as a cloud, then topped with honey and pistachios (toasted in the pizza ovens, of course). Simple, authentic, and truly delightful. Alex cites Chef Michael White as a major inspiration and philosophical guide for their Due Forni concept, explaining that they want no more than three ingredients to really shine at any one time. This minimalist approach to quality ingredients is the base for their pared-down, one page food and wine menu. He quoted, “The best ingredient in Italian cooking is the one you don’t put in.” I would agree, especially when this result in such wonderfully executed food, and a wine and spirits menu of which any Italian would be proud.