In America pizza only seems to expand with age. Deep-dish pizza gave us a crust as thick and greasy as a doughnut. Stuffed crust added a hidden layer of cheese, as if the mountain on top wasn’t enough. Taco and hamburger pizzas turned a meal into a topping.In the city widely regarded as the birthplace of pizza, Naples, Italy, there are laws about what you can call a pizza. Neapolitan pizza must have a thin crust with sparse toppings made from only the freshest ingredients. It’s cooked in a wood-fired oven and served uncut. It is not served in a box.
This is the “pizze” you’ll find at one of Moscow’s newest restaurants, Maialina (pronounced my-a-leena), which has imported the traditional culinary style of Naples to northern Idaho.
The 5-month-old establishment sits on the corner of Main and Sixth streets in Moscow. An outdoor patio is surrounded by tall planters growing fresh herbs. Umbrellas provide shade and strings of lights sway in the breeze. Indoors, the refurbished dining area of exposed brick and reclaimed wood creates a warm atmosphere fit for casual or fine dining for lunch or dinner.
The menu is heavy with Italian cheeses, meats and words. I recognized vino. My waitress was happy to explain the rest.
Among the antipasti is Mussels Al Forno made with guanciale, an Italian-style bacon; white wine; garlic; lemon; parsley; and chili flake ($10). It’s served with fett’unta, a garlic bread.
A crisp arugula salad with roasted grapes, goat cheese and candied hazelnuts is dressed in stone mustard champagne vinaigrette and olive oil ($5/$9).
Rosso (red sauce) pizzas include a basic Margherita with grana padano, one of the world’s oldest cheeses ($12). The Salsiccia comes with tomato, fresh mozzarella made in-house, rapini, local pork house fennel sausage, fennel pollen and smoked chili oil ($15).
Among the bianco (white sauce) pizzas is the Funghi with cream, garlic, saba marinated shitake mushrooms, taleggio cheese and thyme ($14); and the Mela with cream, house ricotta, apple, caramelized local onion, gorgonzola dolce and sage leaves ($13). Gluten-free crusts are available.
Dolci (dessert) includes Olive Oil Cake and Chocolate Hazelnut Affogato (gelato and espresso). I ordered Butterscotch Budino, a cold pudding that came with the hint of a crunch from the maldon salted caramel ($8). Tasting it I could use the word “divina.”
602 S. Main St., Moscow, (208) 882-2694