il bosco pizza
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Il Bosco Pizza
December, 2012, Page 145
Photos by Richard Maack
A pull-along pizza peddler trades its wheels for a permanent spot in Scottsdale – and continues turning out wood-fired masterpieces.
Gourmet food trucks have proven so successful in the Valley that some have evolved into brick-and-mortar operations. But when a simple pizza oven on a pull-along trailer morphs into a delectable new café in north Scottsdale, well, that’s a whole new slice of pie.
Owners Bill and Gina Forrest did exactly that with Il Bosco Pizza, located next door to Handlebar J country bar at Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard. It’s not much bigger than a trailer, spanning 900 square feet with 24 seats inside and 16 on the patio, and a menu of two antipasti, two insalate, nine pizzas and one dessert. Lavish flavors and a delightful cosmopolitan vibe make this small-scale eatery one of the Valley’s best-kept secrets.
The Forrests began Il Bosco as a mobile catering company in early 2010, mounting their oak-fueled, dome-top Valoriani oven on a shiny black trailer and tooling around town to make handcrafted, 14-inch pizzas. The new oven is stationary, tucked in a wall trimmed with colorful tiles, but the pizza remains the same – christened by 900-degree flames so the naturally-risen dough emerges puffy and char-edged and the toppings nearly molten.
I love that the base is hand-pulled mozzarella fior di latte and real San Marzano tomatoes, and that add-ons feature imported meats alongside produce from Peoria’s McClendon’s Select and Queen Creek olive oil. When I remark on the quality ingredients, particularly at such low prices of $8 to $11 per pie, I appreciate my server’s surprised response: “What else would we use?”
Unlike many more delicate artisanal pizzas in the Valley, Il Bosco piles on the good stuff, and the heft works well with the slightly chewy crust. Elegant Italian tradition be damned – the heaping cheese, tomato sauce, hot sausage and pepperoni nearly collapses the crust on the “Joanna” ($11). Likewise, the “Biagga” ($11) is a riveting, robust recipe of salty prosciutto, fleshy sweet figs, tangy goat cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
Someone clearly put thought into upscale detail in this cozy cocoon of burnt red brick walls, wood tables and pendant bulb lighting, from the colorful throw pillows along a reclaimed church pew banquette to house-made sparkling water ($4) and a complimentary saucer of olives.
A platter of seasonal vegetables ($7.50) is oven roasted to blistery al dente glistening in olive oil; the selection changes by the market, but you can count on a creamy knob of handmade burrata to go with the veggies and fresh herbs from the patio planter. Even better are the wood-oven meatballs ($6.50); I sopped every bit of savory jus with fresh-baked bread. Service is polished, too – when an “Elana” pizza ($10) arrived with the sopressata and olives too burned on the edges, my server replaced it with sincere apologies.
If you add a caprese salad ($7) – and you should, since even as tomatoes wane out of season, hothouse varieties keep the plate sublime – you may not feel up for dessert. Make room anyway. Crème brûlée ($6.50) is everything it’s supposed to be, graced by a crunchy caramelized top and sweetened with fresh fruit.
Il Bosco means “the Forest” in Italian. And like its owners, the Forrests, this charming eatery has proven entirely worthy of branching out.
inside Il Bosco
: 7120 E. Becker Lane, Scottsdale
: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
: “Joanna” and “Biaggia” pizzas ($11); seasonal vegetable platter ($7.50); meatballs ($6.50); caprese salad ($7); crème brûlée ($6.50)
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