Every now and then I have a craving for pizza.
Not the thick, oily crust type of pizza, covered in glue-like cheese.
When I crave, I want real Italian pizza with minimal toppings but strong flavours.
And my absolute favourite pizza treat in the neighbourhood is Lanzafame.
Lanzafame was where I invited my friends to celebrate my birthday last year, and where I often go with my friend, Ruby, for pre-show or early dinners, because it costs just $15 for a pizza and a glass of wine during lunch and between 6-7pm. That must be the most inexpensive meal in Sydney.
Lanzafame is hidden away down the hill on Crown Street on the northern side of William Street.
It's rather obscure location with its lack of foot traffic, means that I never have a problem procuring a table as the restaurant is often quite empty.
I don't mind that at all, because it means Ruby and I can relax, drink our wine and enjoy the peace and quiet.
There's a large area inside, as well as an "outdoor area" which we booked for a fairly large group for Ruby's birthday last weekend. We ate early so everyone paid just $15, plus any other drinks they had. Bargain! Lanzafame also does gluten-free pizza bases, so people with coeliac disease can enjoy the normally forbidden food.
Ruby had wanted to host the party at her house but because her apartment is fairly small, there was no way we would all fit inside comfortably.
Lanzafame was perfect because we had the entire area outside, with one long table and a few lounges on the end, where a couple of the smokers in the party could go and have a fag. It was so relaxed, Ruby didn't have to wash up, and the waiter really looked after us.
The restaurant is owned by John Lanzafame, who was the chap that made Hugo's Lounge, on Bayswater Road in Kings Cross, famous for its pizza.
John Lanzafame also won an international pizza cook-off in the United States, so can lay claim to the title of "World's Best Pizza Champion".
John Lanzafame comes from an Italian background, so apart from pizza, there are a range of pastas, risottos and lovely Italian entrees and desserts. The tiramisu is a delight, but I've never tried anything else on the menu, because I can't even finish an entire pizza, and would never be able to squeeze any more food in.
My absolute favourite pizza is the mushroom one (above). It has nothing but mushrooms, cheese and a dash of chili. I'm also partial to Lanzafame's ham and pineapple pizza (pineapple being a great Australian addition) and I adore the rocket and parmesan salad:
John Lanzafame has also two published cookbooks: one is devoted entirely to pizza, Pizza Modo Mio, while the other is a collection of Italian recipes, Family Italian, which includes these yummy looking asparagus fritters:
On Saturday night, our friend Lucas was keen to try the Italian doughnuts on the menu, but after devouring his pizza had no more appetite, so I very naughtily copied down the recipe from Family Italian.
I don't think John Lanzafame will mind too much if I share it with you here:
John Lanzafame's doughuts (sfingi)
7gm dried active yeast
3 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar, plus extra for dusting
500gm self-raising flour, sifted
canola oil, for deep frying
Combine the yeast, a pinch of the sugar and 250m warm water in a small bowl and stand for 10 minutes or until foaming.
Meanwhile, place the flour, sultanas, remaining sugar and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and combine well. Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture, 150ml water and stir until a wet dough forms. Allow the dough to stand for 40 minutes of until nearly doubled in size.
Heat the oil in a large deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 160 degrees Celsius, or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 30 seconds. Carefully drop 2 tablespoons of the mixture into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 4-6 minutes or until golden all over and cooked in the centre. They should have the texture of a thick sponge. Remove using tongs and drain on absorbent paper. While still hot, dust with sugar and serve immediately.
And now I am craving hot Italian doughnuts.
88 Crown Street
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
02 9331 8881