In addition to being uncharacteristically homesick, the thing that I miss most about Utah is the restaurants. Specifically Malawi’s, Guru’s, Carrabba’s, Slab Pizza, Nicolitalia’s, El Gallo Giro, Emanuel’s, and Cafe Rio. (Although there is a Carrabba’s 50 minutes from here . . . )
In classic TOFI* (thin outside, fat inside) style, I’ve begun having homesick cravings for my favorite foods from these restaurants. It reminds me of when I was in France and hadn’t had a burrito in three months and so the mediocre burrito at Beans & Rice in the sketchy part of Paris just totally hit the spot. Or how I went to McDonald’s once a week out of both desperation (I was always running late to a particular class and it was right there) and a desire for something—anything—familiar. I like my new experiences to be balanced out with a little familiarity. So sue me.
There’s no shortage of good restaurants here, but everything tends to be kind of pricey (welcome to the East Coast) so we’ve been eating out less often (not that we eat out that often to begin with—we don’t call ourselves the head chef and sous chef of the Neil family for nothing). However, I am sort of shocked at the lack of “gourmet” pizza places. I mean, there are plenty of pizza places touting their organic tomato sauce and gluten-free crusts, but where is my potato, bacon, and rosemary pizza? Or my pulled pork and coleslaw pizza?? Or my Malawi Capri??? [UPDATE: One of the kind women out here told me about places I can get potatoes and pulled pork on pizza. HALLELUJAH!!!]
Well, folks, here is my Malawi Capri. I’ll give you the recipe just in case you’re also trapped in a wasteland without strange pizza toppings (although this one is actually pretty normal compared to the deliciously weird stuff at Slab). It came quite close to the real thing, but if you’re in Provo or Lehi, Utah, I would still strongly recommend that you just go to Malawi’s. For me.
Malawi Capri Pizza (from Malawi’s Pizza)
- Stuff for pizza dough (I made this one, but any recipe will do. We used whole wheat flour because I’m a fan of messing up recipes, but you’ll actually get closer to the real pizza if you use white flour.)
- Olive oil
- Minced garlic (approx. 2 cloves for 1 pizza)
- Dried oregano
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Bag of shredded cheese, Italian mix (optional—we used this to supplement the fresh mozzarella because we made two pizzas)
- Stuff for the balsamic vinegar reduction (I used this recipe and about 75% of the sugar)
- Thinly sliced tomato (approx. 1 tomato for 1 pizza—you’d have to use a mix of red and yellow heirloom tomatoes if you want to achieve the same look as Malawi’s)
- Fresh basil (cut into thin strips or chopped, doesn’t matter)
- Make a pizza dough while preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
- While the pizza dough rises, make the balsamic vinegar reduction.
- Spread the dough and then bake in the oven for 3–5 minutes. The exact baking time will probably vary based on your location and how thin your crust is. But this just helps the crust to cook better and, in theory, to become nice and crispy (ours never quite got to the crispy stage because we don’t have a rolling pin out here and therefore couldn’t make it as thin as we wanted).
- Take the crust out and spread olive oil and minced garlic on it. If we do this again, we’re actually going to try butter instead of olive oil, because there was a certain moistness missing underneath the cheese.
- Sprinkle the crust with salt, pepper, and oregano. As much or as little as you want.
- Put the cheese and tomatoes on the pizza.
- Drizzle the whole thing with the balsamic vinegar reduction.
- Bake the pizza for about 8–12 minutes. Take it out when the edges of the pizza have some nice, golden brown cheese.
- Generously sprinkle the pizza with the fresh basil.
- Stuff your face.
And there you have it, a taste of Provo, Utah.
* Learned that sweet new acronym from the documentary Fed Up, which you can find on Netflix and I highly, highly recommend watching. Unless you want to keep contentedly consuming extraordinary amounts of sugar.