Appetizers

Heirloom tomatoes meet arugula, basil and bacon — as pizza toppings

At Roma Pizzeria II, the featured pizza is topped with heirloom tomatoes, bacon and mozzarella, and then....
At Roma Pizzeria II, the featured pizza is topped with heirloom tomatoes, bacon and mozzarella, and then.... apierleoni@sacbee.com

The e-newsletter from Roma Pizzeria II owner Maria Guerrera showed up the other day, with some news about her ongoing Pizza of the Month program. It offers a changing, seasonal menu of unique thinner-crust pizzas “using ingredients that might be more unusual than what you’d find on a typical pizza menu.”

The news: Instead of ending the run of the Pizza of the Month for July — the Heirloom Tomato and Pancetta Pizza — Guerrera has decided to keep it through August. That’s because of the stunning quality of the heirloom tomatoes she’s finding at farmers markets. “They are looking so beautiful that we will continue serving the pizza,” she wrote.

The e-newsletter goes on: “We start with a thinner-crust dough for a medium pizza. Then we add mozzarella and top it with a selection of heirloom tomatoes (these could include Brandywines, Cherokee Purples, Green Zebras or even the yellow Dagma’s Perfections). We then add pancetta, in the form of applewood-smoked bacon. When the pizza comes from the oven, we sprinkle on fresh arugula and basil.”

A lunch pal and I made a beeline to the restaurant and ordered the pizza ($22.50). While we waited, a couple at an adjoining table was midway through theirs. “This is absolutely delicious,” they volunteered after noticing our glances.

Our pizza arrived and we jumped in. It was a marvel of flavors and textures — chewy crust, crisp bacon, gooey cheese, sweet tomato, and bright herbal notes from the peppery arugula and fragrant basil. It has joined our Top 10 list.

On the way out, we stopped at the open kitchen, where pots full of sauces quietly bubbled on oven burners, and countermen wielded paddles to pull pizzas out of the oven. There, Guerrera stirred a steaming pot of pasta and took a minute to chat.

We remarked that Roma II recently turned 34. “Yes, we have customers who have been coming for many years,” Guerrera said. “They brought their children, and now their children are married and bring their own children.”

Easy to see why.

Roma Pizzeria II, 8491 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 383-9264.

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe

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