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Daily Slice: Girella at Don Antonio, NYC

Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Since opening a month ago, we've had a great first look and 'Top This' recipe post from mid-town Manhattan's newest Neapolitan pizzeria, Don Antonio. The Antonio Starita and Roberto Caporuscio pizzaoli partnership here guarantees that the pizzas are gonna be the real deal, but when I saw the Girella ($21), I had to get my mitts on it.

Why the Girella? Because this roulade of mozzarella looks freakin' awesome:

I'm calling it ... mozzaroulade

Mozzaroulade [Photograph and terminology: Adam Kuban]

Roberto has had a couple of food careers to date. One of them was as a mozzarella maker. Using the mozzarella made in-house at Don Antonio, they make a cheese roulade (Adam coined it the mozzaroulade) filled with arugula and proscuitto cotto. That bad boy then gets sliced and tops the expertly cooked crusts that are the cornerstone of this Neapolitan pizza operation.

As the cheese melts, the flavors of the ham and arugula get infused into the mozzarella. Peppery, porky, and milky, this mozz is an all-in-one topping. Add to that the tart acidity of halved grape tomatoes and creamy, buttery ricotta and all the bases are covered. I'm not that into white pizzas, so the grape tomatoes are key here. They make up for the lack of sauce and give the pie the punch needed to balance out the cheeses.

Beneath all the toppings is what really makes this pie great, the crust. In the Neapolitan tradition, the cornicione is puffy but with an elasticity and chew that makes it bread artistry. There is no picking up these slices, what with the weight of the cheese on the thinner and wetter center of the pie. The slightly smoky, charred crusts are full of flavor that demonstrate that as delicious as the mozzaroulade is, it's the bread that makes this stellar pizza so unforgettable.

Don Antonio

309 West 50th Street, New York NY 10019 (near Eighth Ave.; map)
646-719-1043; donantoniopizza.com

About the author: Meredith Smith is the Slice editor. You can follow her on Twitter: @mertsmith.

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