For the love of pizza
BY ALFIE LAU, BURNABY NOW OCTOBER 11, 2011 10:39 AM
The sign is hard to miss. Head north on Willingdon Avenue and just before you hit Dawson Street, the sign for Claudio Magagnin's Pasta Amore now has the word Pizzeria attached to it.
And adding the one word doesn't mean just adding to the menu, as Magagnin has brought in authentic Italian thincrust pizza cooked with an authentic Italian flair.
Magagnin had brought in an authentic Italian pizza chef to do the cooking, but after he had to leave because of a family emergency, Magagnin conscripted an old friend, Amedeo Paniccia, to work the pizza oven.
"I've known Amedeo for many years," said Magagnin. "He's from Rome and we used to work together at Portofino (restaurant). When I asked him for help, he was right there."
Paniccia has known Magagnin for more than 20 years, and there was never a doubt what he would say.
"We're friends so when he asked me to help, I said sure. I love making pizza, pizza like it's made back in Italy," said Paniccia.
"I've been in (the Lower Mainland) for a long time, and I haven't had a chance to make pizza the Italian way. . That means a light crust, less ingredients, but an emphasis on the best ingredients, the best sauce and the best dough."
Magagnin recently invested in a new pizza oven and special dishes from Tuscany, which have diners already raving.
Magagnin, who I talked to in the spring about his pasta dishes, is so excited by his foray into pizza that he held several tasting nights recently to introduce his pizza to Burnaby.
With more than 25 different pizzas on the menu, there is a little something for everybody, including a mouthwatering dessert pizza.
As I sat down with my dining companions, my older sister Hayley and her husband Stuart, along with Burnaby NOW salesperson Cam Northcott, we were warmly greeted by Claudio's wife Maria.
When last we talked, Maria marvelled at her husband's risk-taking: "He's always trying something different," said Maria.
And our first pizza was certainly that, as the artichoke pizza was a unique twist on vegetarian pizza.
My sister isn't a vegetarian but she loved this pizza, which was light and flavourful.
The surprises continued with our next pizza, the Napoletana, which features anchovies and oregano.
The 30-cm pizzas - which range in price from $10 to $16 each depending on the toppings - are a perfect dinner size.
But the best was still yet to come.
"I've only got a couple of slices of the Nutella and coconut pizza," Maria tells us. "But, I'll be back with more."
Within minutes, there she is, and we can all try the unique dessert pizza.
I'll be the first to admit I'm not a Nutella fan, but I absolutely adore coconut. I bite hesitantly into the pizza, and suddenly I like Nutella lot more. The dessert pizza is something you won't find at most places, and once I got over my fear, it ranked as one of my favourites of the night.
Pasta Amore Ristorante Pizzeria is at 4502 Dawson St. Call 604-298-3135 or go to www.pastaamore.ca.
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