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Eat This Now: The Salami e Funghi from Cavalli Pizza in Irving

A few years ago, when I first came to Dallas, I was quickly told I had to try Cavalli Pizza.  Indeed, Cavalli may have been the first restaurant I ever ate at in Texas.  It was both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing, for I dreamed and envisioned the entire Dallas pizza scene to be equal to Cavalli in quality and flavor. A curse, for I quickly realized that, for the most part, Cavalli was an anomaly in the pizza world.  My standards were set high, and there was no way I was lowering the bar for the strings of tasteless pizza garbage many other pizza joints presented. Most people know that they were the first in Dallas to throw around the term “VPN certified”, an accolade which at first meant little more to me than a Citysearch recommendation, but which I have now come to associate with quality and a strict attention to detail.

Jump for more.Luckily, over the years, Dallas has blossomed into quite the safe haven for good pizza.  A detailed history of the success of the Dallas pizza scene is surely not necessary at this point, but suffice it to say, Dallas diners need not look (or drive) far to get their hands on a quality pie.  Yet to this day, Cavalli remains a special place to me, and not simply for nostalgic reasons.  I have yet, to this day, had a disappointing meal from the dough slingers at Cavalli, and I have perhaps eaten more pizza here than any other joint in the city.

After plowing my way through a very large percentage of the menu at Cavalli, I feel the need to share with you a pie that truly stands out in my mind, the exquisite “Salami e Funghi.”  It would be easy to dismiss this pie as little more than its rather simple yet descriptive name, but this beauty is far more than just salami and fungus.  Read on, my friends.

The basic anatomy of this exquisite pie is something you have likely come to expect from a certified Neapolitan pie. You know, simply crafted dough from imported Italian flour, yeast, water and salt.  San Marzano tomatoes, simply seasoned with salt and pepper. Quick bake time in an 800+ degree woodfired oven, leaving a good deal of flame kissed blisters on the supple crust. They continue with a spicy salami, mushrooms with sprigs of fresh basil.  But what sets this pie apart is the blissful combination of smoked mozzarella and crushed garlic.  It’s a wonderful blend that tickles the taste buds and arouses the senses.  Whoever decided to first smoke the mozzarella was really brilliant.  I mean, I’ve tried smoking a lot of things in my days, and mozzarella never even crossed my mind.  Let’s just leave that one alone.

While Cavalli is generally a bit of a drive for most Dallasites, it is no less than a culinary savior to the chain infested suburbs around north Dallas and Irving.  And while the entire menu at Cavalli is chock full of delightful dishes, the Salami e Funghi is surely one of the best on the board.

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