Maybe you order extra cheese on your cheese pizza. Or maybe you prefer your cheese-stuffed-crust pizza with three cheeses and a side of cheese sauce for dipping. However severe your love affair with cheese, chances are you haven’t prepared yourself for a pizza made entirely of mozzarella.
Chef Vito Iacopelli is making something he calls the Mo Pizza, at Prova, the pizzeria he opened in West Hollywood in 2015. It’s an around 10-inch pie made of cheese. Yes, the entire thing, including the crust, is all cheese. Iacopelli, who made a name for himself with the pizzas at Michael’s in Long Beach, says he wanted to make something special and different for people watching their carbohydrates, and those observing a gluten-free diet.
“I came up with this idea because on my YouTube channel, every week I create a special pizza that doesn’t exist in the world,” said Iacopelli. “I was making fresh mozzarella for my pizza and decided: Why not try to make a whole pizza with mozarella? And actually it came out fantastic.”
How it’s made
Iacopelli rolls a shiny metal cart to your table to create the pizza table-side. On that cart is a bowl of hot water with cheese curds that he just made and sliced in the kitchen. Next to that bowl are smaller bowls of shredded fresh mozzarella, basil, dried oregano, sliced cherry tomatoes and various other toppings.
Iacopelli uses the end of a wooden spoon to make the mozzarella cheese by combining and stretching the curds until they’resmooth, then forming them into a ball. He then places the cheese on a plate and stretches and flattens it until it resembles a large round of dough, much like he does when forming his regular pizza crust. Once he achieves the desired thickness — about half an inch, with a slightly thicker perimeter to resemble crust — he dunks the cheese into cold water to stop the cooking and stretching. You can check out his technique in the video below.
Iacopelli tops his cheese crust with more cheese and the rest of the toppings: a handful of cherry tomatoes, a fistful of basil, a sprinkle of oregano and slices of ham. He drizzles some olive oil over the top before slicing and serving.
The all-cheese pizza takes 8 to 10 minutes to make.
How to attack this thing
The pizza is difficult to eat with your hands, but not impossible. If you want to go this route, try folding the slice to prevent the toppings from sliding off the pizza. For an easier approach, use a fork and knife.
Since the pizza doesn’t actually spend any time in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven, its temperature is a little cooler than room temp, but not exactly cold.
The milky mozzarella crust is mild, but it gives you the sensation of having ordered extra, extra cheese. And the giant flattened round of cheese makes for an excellent pizza base, allowing the flavors of the other toppings to shine.
How to get one
The pizza is not listed on the menu and is available only on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s priced at $40 and meant to serve two.
8729 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, (310) 855-7285, pizzaprova.com.