20070330grilledveg.jpgEarlier this week, Serious Eats overlord Ed Levine arrived at the office with a new brand of frozen pizza he had just found. "It's a Neapolitan-style pie imported from Italy," he said. "It's supposed to be great."

I had my doubts. I stopped looking for a "great" frozen pizza long ago. When it comes to an iced slice, I like it cheap, fast, and easy, with cheap being the operative word (frozen pies are always fast and easy).

So Ed was toting a boxed Margherita pizza from Pelle. "Frozen pizza from Italy?" I asked. "What's the point? And, how much did it cost?"

20070330margherita.jpgIt's $7 a whack. Pretty pricey, but not too far out of line of some of the rising-crust frozen pies. Still, I was glad Ed had shelled out the bucks for this pie and not me.

But the thing is, the Pelle pizzas are good. In addition to the Margherita (which is just cheese, tomato, and crust), I picked up a Pelle pizza this morning topped with grilled vegetables (pictured). Both had crusts that were not only crisp (which isn't hard to do in frozen pizza) but surprisingly pliant and breadlike (which is quite a trick to pull off). The sauce, cheese, and toppings on both were fresh-tasting, with the cheese being pleasantly stringy. Most important, the ratio of crust-sauce-cheese (and toppings) was just about right. Not too much cheese or sauce, not too little. If you were to put one of these, cooked, in front of a blindfolded me, I would have a hard time telling it had been frozen.

The drawback is that these Italian-style pizzas might not please Americans used to more hefty servings. These are light pies, intended more as snacks. Another minus: For now, they're only available at Dean & Deluca in New York City?in fact, it's the only pizza the hoity toity grocer carries. A representative at Pelle says the company will be rolling out the line at the other non-NYC Dean & Deluca stores in the near future.


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