Did you know that there is a neighborhood pizzeria in Macchie, Italy called Il Pellicano that is continuously cited as an inspiration throughout Nancy Silverton's The Mozza Cookbook (Knopf, September 2011)? Did you know that Il Pellicano recently put a new pizza called Spider Pork on their already Jerry's Deli-sized menu? Did you know that we have eaten the Spider Pork and are ready to proclaim that it is not just a good pizza, but a great one?
If the answers are “No,” “No” and “No” don't feel bad. Matt Groening, creator The Simpsons, wasn't aware of the Umbrian hangout's Spider Pork pizza, the name a clear shout-out to the Hans Zimmer-composed ditty “Spider-Pig” which is sung by Homer in The Simpsons: The Movie. Groening, no stranger to extreme dining, was intrigued when he heard about it. “What's in it?” he wanted to know. “I eat in places where something called that would have spiders and pork in it.”
As it happens, the Spider Pork is arachnid-free. What the pie does feature is a splash of chili-flake fortified tomato sauce, melty rounds of fresh mozzarella fior di latte and is liberally bedazzled with hot salami, fennel-y sausage and nduja, a soft, peppery, spreadable, brownish-red salami from Calabria.
There is a rumor that Mozza's Chad Colby is currently working on a house-made nduja and so instead of having to travel 6,500 miles or so to bite into a pleasantly spicy slice of Spider Pork, we would be able drive instead to the corner of Highland and Melrose. Until that dream comes true, here is a iPhone snapshot of Spider Pork shot by a drunk teenager.
Disclosure: The author is longtime friends with both Silverton and Groening. Which means they have to take the author's call.