Saturday, July 9, 2011

Review: Wegman's Five Buck Tomato Pie (Downingtown PA)

We rolled into Wegman's in Downingtown PA on the fourth of July. Our purpose was to get some corn, some fresh fruit, and some meats to toss on the grill.  We got the corn (it was lousy), passed on the fruits, and we bought some ready-made sliders with cheddar and bacon in them (superb)! The staff at Wegman's was clever enough to stack their own tomato pies near the entrance. Five bucks for a huge rectangle. Same as a slice at DiFara. We impulsively grabbed one and took it home.

This is not a Trenton style tomato pie (which has cheese and is really a pizza), but a Conshohocken style tomato pie -- thick airy crust, sauce that was about a quarter inch deep, and a token dusting of Parmesan or similar cheese.  And tell ya what, I'm not a huge fan of the Conshohocken style. It's good, for sure, but because I never had it in my youth, to me it's a pizza without cheese.

To give it a fair analysis, I wanted to eat some just as they made it. Now, I understand that some folks like it room temperature, but we planned to put it in the oven on the perforated pizza pan. I left about a quarter of it (two slices) unchanged. On the rest, I put on slices of fresh mozzarella wrapped is prosciutto with a layer of basil (we bought that at Wegman's, too). I added onion, garlic, leftover slider slices, and slices of hot Italian sausage. When it came out of the oven, I did the ol' Dom DiMarco on it, adding grated grana padano (also from Wegman's) and fresh basil (from my backyard garden).

The plain tomato pie slices were quite nice. The crust was thick but light and airy. It had no char to speak of, but it took on a nice golden color and decent flavor. I'd say it was similar to the crust on a Sicilian pie or the pizza crust at Marzano's (Exton PA), but it had better flavor. And the sauce was really tasty; it better be, when there is so much of it. It was nice and thick so it did not make the crust soggy at all.

Now when you take this very decent base and add all the things we did, you get a really fine pizza! Better than anything we'd had to date in the West Chester area. Good ingredients do make a difference, as Dom daily demonstrates. This pie was limited by its tasty but ultimately pedestrian crust; you'll never confuse it with Motorino.  I'm going to award 6.5 points to the base tomato pie, and 7.25 to our doctored-up pizza that we made from it. Will definitely do it again!

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