When we show people how to put an egg on a pizza,” says Mark Bello, owner of Pizza a Casa Pizza School, “their minds are blown.” Pizza has always been a lunch or dinner meal, he admits, paired best with a craft brew or a nice glass of wine. Yet at his Manhattan pizza school, one of Bello’s recipes ditches red sauce for two eggs, resulting in a top-notch pancetta (or Italian bacon), egg and cheese breakfast sandwich — in pizza form.
Along with his wife, Jenny, and master pizza maker Neil, Bello teaches small classes (16 people max) at Pizza a Casa. The subject: how to make simple, yet incredible-tasting pizzas — in their own home oven. The school has earned a five-star rating on Yelp and TripAdvisor, along with being named one the best pizzas in NYC by The Village Voice. Basically, they know how to make damn delicious pizza. When asked about the key to making a good pie, Bello responds: “If there’s a mantra in cooking pizza, it’s less is more.”
At his school, Bello teaches students how to make pizzas in home ovens, on baking steel, in under ten minutes. They don’t need the best ingredients (even if that’s what they use at Pizza a Casa Pizza School), a high-tech oven or even a lot of sauce or cheese — they just need a little guidance. Most of their pizzas, according to Bello, have less than half the calories of a pie you’d get at a soulless chain pizzeria, but are twice as good. For the breakfast pizza, however, makers shouldn’t be worried about calories. “It’s delicious, but not cardiologist approved. But whatever,” says Bello. “It’s a breakfast pizza.”
About Pizza a Casa Pizza School
Located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, you won’t find any pre-made slices or casual dining tables in Pizza a Casa Pizza School. That’s because it’s not a pizzeria; it’s a school. The name Pizza a Casa translates to “pizza at home”, which is exactly what they teach people how to do. Co-owners and instructors Mark and Jenny Bello, along with master pizza maker Neil Lesneski, educate people on how to make great-tasting pizzas in their home oven. It’s simple and delicious, and for those who can’t make it out to the LES for a lesson, Bello offers an immersive (and humorous) app ($20) that educates people how to make the dough, a 60-second secret tomato sauce, what cookware to use, a number of recipes and a good deal more — all in your home oven.
The Breakfast Pizza
Makes one 12- or 13-inch pizza
Bacon, Egg and Cheese Pizza:
8 ounces pizza dough stretched to 10-12 inches diameter
2 ounce shredded whole milk, low-moisture mozzarella
2 ounce thick sliced (1/8-inch) pancetta (or sub thick-cut bacon) cut into 1/2-inch triangular bits
Freshly ground black pepper
A dozen leaves fresh sage fried crispy in extra virgin olive oil
1. Stretch dough to desired diameter (10 inches thicker, 12 inches thinner) and lay on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, pizza pan or screen (or extra points if you have a pizza stone and peel). 2. Tear mozzarella into little nuggets and scatter about your stretched dough. 3. Evenly distribute bits of pancetta. 4. Bake crust to half doneness (just as it starts to brown). 5. Remove pie from oven and carefully add the two freshly cracked eggs, keeping the yolks intact. 6. Gently ease the pizza back into the oven. 7. Bake until eggs are loose sunny side up, remove from oven and without hesitation, slash through the yolks “Zorro-style”, spreading the yolky goodness all over the pie. 8. Add a good whack of freshly ground pepper and crumbled fried sage. Cut, serve, and be ready for some applause.