"The oven is basically the central focal point of everything we do here," said Nitti.
But before he bakes, he assembles. That means 00 flour, kneaded into a dough that sits for at least a day.
"Our dough is never refrigerated. So if you know how to control the fermentation, you don't have to refrigerate your dough and I think it gives the crust a little bit better crunch and not as soggy and wet in the middle," said Nitti.
For his margherita, it's just fresh tomatoes spread thin, a bit of pecorino romano and torn fresh basil, then a full ball of fior di latte mozzarella, ripped and placed everywhere. A drizzle of olive oil completes it, and the pizza goes into the oven for about 90 seconds. At the end, he "domes" it, lifting it to the extra-hot ceiling for just a few seconds before removing it - blistered edges and all - to a serving plate.
Another good, tomato-less option is the Barese, with broccoli rabe, bits of sausage and creamy burrata cheese. There are plenty of other stars on the menu too, but his nonna's eggplant, caper and onion-jammed caponata, served with grilled, home-baked bread, is about as old school as it gets.
"I'll even ask her to write down certain ingredients and it's just a handful of this and a pinch of that so it comes with experience," he said.
Now when you come to Forno Rosso, obviously, you've got to try the pizza, but you definitely have to try this caponata as well, because an 86-year old nonna cannot be wrong.
3719 N. Harlem Ave.