Top This: Il Greco (à la Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana)

Top This

Learn how to work a new topping onto your pies.

[Photographs: Erin Mosbaugh]

Astoria's Tufino Pizzeria isn't just winning over the hearts of Queens' residents; those outside the borough have been flocking to Ditmars Blvd. for a taste of the restaurant's beautifully crafted Neapolitan pies. Chef and owner Stephen Menna started getting serious about pizza when his wife, Maria, surprised him with a beehive oven in their backyard. Soon, the couple was hosting weekly pizza parties, wowing guests with Stephen's superb topping combinations.

Maria's present sparked Stephen's pizza-making obsession, leading him to open Tufino last December. As an ode to his encouraging wife, he had the words "Di Maria" put on the pizzeria's custom-built Stefano Ferrara oven.

Mamma Mia!

Maria and Stephen getting at a slice of the Il Greco

Stephen, whose family hails from Italy, created a pizza inspired by Maria's Greek roots. Topped with creamy, buttery Fontina, milky fior di latte, salty kalamata olives, and dried oregano, the "Il Greco" is a perfect flavor synthesis of two richly delicious cultures. Stephan finishes the pizza with a modest squeeze of lemon juice to brighten up the pie and tie the ingredients together.

Want to learn how to make the Il Greco at home? Click through the slideshow to find out how.

What You'll Need (for one pizza)

  • 1 dough portion (Watch this video to learn how to make Neapolitan-style dough)
  • Fior di latte, diced
  • Sharp Italian Fontina, grated
  • Kalamata olives, pitted
  • Dried oregano (If you can find it, buy Greek oregano, which has a lovely floral fragrance)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Extra virgin olive oil
Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana

36-08 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria NY 11105 (map) 718-278-4800,