December 1, 2016 |

Nino Coniglio on His New Pizza: “I Don’t Know What It Is!”

By Bruce Allar


Nino Coniglio: 1st place Traditional Division and Pizza Maker of the Year

Nino Coniglio: 1st place Traditional Division and Pizza Maker of the Year

“If I called it Detroit style the Detroit guys would say, ‘That’s not Detroit style.’ If I called it Sicilian, they’d say, ‘That’s not Sicilian.’” So says our Pizza Maker of the Year winner from the 2016 International Pizza Challenge.

For now the pizza being experimented on by Nino Coniglio shall remain nameless. The creative force behind Williamsburg Pizza in Brooklyn has been placing a small amount of dough — “like I’d use for a Grandma” — in a Detroit-style pan and letting it rise at room temperature for 36 hours, sprinkling Pecorino Romano and Parmesan on it, baking it enough to get some crust strength and then adding sauce and cheese. “I’m trying to get it to where I like it enough to serve it,” he says.

Nino will be giving a pizza-making demonstration on Wed., March 29, at Pizza Expo, prepping and baking the same pies he made to win the Pizza Challenge championship. A self-taught pizzaiolo, he started at

age 12, and while he’s studied some of the famous New York craftsmen, he has a creative streak all his own. He says he finds inspirations for new pizzas by looking at salad recipes at top restaurants; they’re usually paired with cheeses, nuts and other potential pizza ingredients, minus the sauce. Nino also sticks as much as he can with ingredients one might be able to find in Italy, keeping him close to pizza’s origins.

“I get up early and get to the farmers market to see what’s locally available. By early I mean 10 o’clock,” he says, chuckling. “This summer I did a pie with peaches, goat cheese, pistachio and porchetta. People loved it.”

He’s still experimenting with different kinds of flour and varying protein counts for each style of pizza. He’s studied accomplished bread bakers such as Chad Robertson and Peter Reinhart in his crust quests. And he’s looking forward to presenting at Pizza Expo. “I’ll bring some cheese curd,” he says. “I’ll make some pies and talk about that pizza life.”

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