Fabrizio Cercatore is a real Italian pizzaiolo. Hailing from Verbania in Italy’s Piemonte region, he’s also the co-founder of Hot Italian pizzeria in Sacramento and Emeryville, where he serves up pies like the Fiori, a combo of prosciutto di Parma, mozzarella, mushrooms, tomato sauce, arugula, and Bariani truffle oil.

“At Hot Italian, I love the connection with the customers, watching them enjoy authentic Italian food that keeps them coming back,” he says.

Photos courtesy Passione Pizza

Photos courtesy Passione Pizza

But Cercatore has a new passion: helping people make great pizza at home. Passione Pizza is his organic pizza dough: Whole wheat, gluten free, or sprouted grain, it comes as a dry mix or a frozen, pre-mixed dough. He also sells frozen par-baked pizzas with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella.

What would he suggest for topping that summer pizza? How about heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sautéed zucchini, and fresh basil. Or, try a combination of green beans, mozzarella, basil pesto, and boiled potatoes.

You can catch Cercatore around town with the Passione Pizza food truck at Off the Grid in Berkeley and at various events with Berkeley winery Urbano Cellars. Late this summer, Passione will also open a tasting room with a production window where you can watch the pizzaiolos in action.

Katie Gatlin