Food Find: Fried Calzones at Warren’s Federal Hill Pizza

Friday, June 04, 2010


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Brave was the first soul who decided, at great peril, to dip his food into near-400° oil for the sake of experimentation. Chef William Manzo of Federal Hill Pizza may not have been the first, but practice makes perfect. Presenting: the deep-fried calzone.

There aren’t many (if any) other places in Rhody doing calzones this good. Think fried dough on the midway, only much heartier. This deceptively gut-busting delight is crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and won’t leave your mouth dry. The shell is filled with ricotta, mozzarella and prosciutto, all melted together after a hot oil bath. Manzo doesn’t skimp on fresh ingredients either, garnishing the dish with fresh California tomato sauce and chopped basil generously perched on top.

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It’s a simple recipe, but the execution is perfect. The dough is versatile, and Manzo uses it in everything from pizza and calzones to fried dough balls topped with sugar and thick balsamic vinaigrette, right. Deep fried, the dough is light; you have to push your fork hard to get through the almost fluffy exterior. If you’re going to indulge your inner fat kid and want to avoid sweets, few foods measure up to this.

As Manzo describes it, most of the menu at Federal Hill Pizza is made up of “hardcore peasant food.” Made with only a few ingredients (and a notable absence of sugar), this is the sort of thing you’d find in your southern Italian grandmother’s kitchen. If calzones aren’t for you, the pizza is the best in the area; the crust has that perfect al dente finish, and there’s nobody who can argue that fresh

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mozzarella isn’t as close to heaven as an Italian foodie can get. Fresh ingredients, simple recipes and 17 years of practice from Chef Manzo are more than enough reasons to hit up this East Bay eatery when the craving strikes. 

Federal Hill Brick Oven Pizza, � 495 Main St, Warren, 245-0045, Mon-Wed 11:30am-9pm, Thurs-Sat 'til 10pm, Sun 11-7,
Lou lives and drinks in Providence. Not being a native Rhode Islander, he doesn’t mind ranging far afield (read: crossing a bridge) to indulge epicurean pursuits.


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