While summer days are meant for the sea, sun and sand the nights are meant for…meant for laid-back leisurely dinners in the company of friends and family. In Italy, that usually means going out for a pizza at least once a week. Since I had not had a pizza night in a real long time, I decided to check out a pizzeria outside of my usual rounds. Something different. An alternative. I decided to head out to the small town of Tuoro not very far from the Caserta Royal Palace.
It was there where I met up with Francesco Vitiello, aka Ciccio, the 24-year-old pizza maker, patron, and energetic pulse behind CasaVitiello.
This pizzeria has developed a strong devoted following in just a couple of short years and I was about to find out why. It only took a few minutes for me to get swept up in his enthusiasm as he showed me around the tiny pizzeria whose young cast and crew were setting up for another packed summer evening.
He led me over to the counter where I got an opportunity to check out the pasta dough. Vitiello has been studying and experimenting for years with out of the ordinary combinations – combinations that you just do not see every day. Grano arso/burnt wheat, hemp, turmeric, multigrain, fennel, and even cocoa.
Customers can choose the type of pizza dough and Vitiello and his staff guide the pizza lover to the right type of toppings to pair with it. How cool is that?
What if you prefer to stick with the classic pizza dough? No problem!
Time to try it out…but where? During most of the year, there are only have nine tables inside. Those tables were not there now. During the summer, Casa Vitiello sets up their dining room across the street in the small town square – 20 tables under the starry summer serata. Tables that were quickly filling up, quite impressive for a Tuesday evening.
Let’s start off with a beer and a focaccia using the classic pizza dough. Just a little salt, oregano and a summer sunset. Add a few potato croquettes and then show time.
I had the chance to try three pizzas that evening starting with a classic margherita pizza topped with San Marzano tomatoes…
Then a pizza with hemp in the dough and topped with fior di latte from Agerola, black pork sausage, and a creamy papacelle Neapolitan pepper sauce.
Room for one more – grano arso pizza dough topped with ricotta cheese, zucchini flowers, and anchovies from Cetara.
In between pizzas, I couldn’t help but notice the family feeling through the small piazza…from the staff to the diners. Diners who were regulars. Part of the family. Those who had been swept up in Vitiello’s enthusiasm…and pizza. Those who chose to spend a night out for a laid-back leisurely dinner in the company of friends and family, for a pizza under a starry summer serata.