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Challenging Elements: Zamparelli’s


If you’ve ever had the opportunity to watch Nancy and Jimmy Zamparelli together in the narrow galley kitchen of their restaurant, you’ve seen why they’re successful. They work so well together that sometimes they don’t even need words; Nancy will start a sentence, and before she’s even finished, Jimmy is nodding or making a face and she has her answer.

We knew these two had the culinary chops to handle anything we threw at them, so we chose something we thought would be truly challenging for a pizza place: peanut butter. We hoped they would do something a little more exotic than simply using it in a dessert…and the dynamic duo handled the challenge with bravado. The Zamparellis produced a truly tasty Thai chicken pizza drizzled with a luxurious spicy peanut sauce.

Starting with either their traditional New York-style crust or their new cracker-style gluten-free crust, the pizza is built on a bed of ever-so-slightly sweet caramelized onions—it needs no additional sauce. Then they add tender roasted chicken, roasted red peppers and sautéed spinach. Once this base has been cooked in the huge pizza oven, the whole thing is topped with a cool, fresh slaw of Easter egg radishes, spring shallots, cilantro, mint and jalapeno peppers.

Where’s the peanut butter, you ask? Drizzled artistically over the top of the whole thing as a part of a spicy Thai peanut sauce made with coconut milk, chili paste, garlic, lime and Thai fish sauce.

“We know this isn’t the first Thai pizza ever,” Nancy said with a smile, but it was certainly one of the best we’d ever had. The herb slaw was fresh, crisp and zesty without being overwhelming, and the onions created a rich, balanced base for the entire pie.

Even better, the dish (as with most of the items on Zamparelli’s menu) is made almost entirely from local ingredients. The produce and inspiration came from Red Wagon Organic Farms, while the peanut butter came from Boulder-based Justin’s Nut Butters.

When I asked who was the mastermind behind their challenging elements dish, they looked at one another and gestured to each other. “We did it together. We almost always work on things together,” Nancy said.

The Thai chicken pizza will be available through June at Zamparelli’s Italian Bistro, located at 2770 Arapahoe, #101 in Lafayette, near 95th Street and Arapahoe. Visit zamparellis.com for directions, menu and more information.


Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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