Trader Joe’s Wood Fired Naples Style Uncured Pepperoni Pizza Review – This is one of those better late than never reviews. For the longest time, Trader Joe’s didn’t have a pepperoni pizza in their lineup, and lo and behold they released one a couple of years ago. I eagerly bought them by the gross with two growing boys to feed.
When I first started shopping at Trader Joe’s before my kids were born, I always wondered why Trader Joe’s never produced a pepperoni pizza. I didn’t know if they just wanted to be quirky with Pesto Pizzas and veggie pizzas and funky French Alsatian Tarte Flambe with a pseudo European vibe. Maybe a plain ole pepperoni pizza was a little too pedestrian for Trader Joe’s. I’ll never know why it took them so long. But of course, they released one a few years back and it’s been a mainstay of their pizza lineup since. Why not, almost everyone in the USA loves pepperoni pizza. Probably the most 2nd most popular food item behind a cheeseburger.
Let’s start off with what we have here. Trader Joe’s says the is a Naples style pizza (aka Neapolitan) that is wood fired. Like all many of Trader Joe’s pizzas, especially the ones from Italy, these are “wood fired”. Personally, I don’t know how they cook millions of pizzas on a wood fired oven, but I’ll take their word that they have some type of oven that parbakes the pizza crusts then tops them with sauce, cheese, and pepperoni.
As a side note, I want to take issue with Trader Joe’s claiming these are Naples style pizzas when that would almost be blasphemy if this were in Italy. This style of pizza is prepared with simple and fresh ingredients: a basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. No fancy toppings are allowed! That includes pepperoni. OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Back to the pizza at hand. It’s super easy to prepare. Warm the oven to 425F degrees and throw the pizza in for about 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Leave in longer for a crisper crust, do not put on a pizza stone since the crust is baked already. Pull out when it’s done and put it on a cutting board and use a pizza wheel to cut it into slices.
These pizzas are made in the USA as opposed to many of their Italian made pizzas. This one is thicker and has more sauce than the Italian ones. The crust is crunchy on the edges and bottom but has a fair amount of chewiness to the center. There is ample sauce and it has a nice tomato flavor with a nice rich complex base. There is a fair amount of pepperoni on it. IMHO, there is never too much pepperoni on a pizza, but if I were a real pepperoni lover, I would add more if I were you.
I have to say this is one of the better frozen pepperoni pizzas out there on the market and for $4.99 a pizza, you can hardly go wrong. I usually buy two at a time because one of my sprouting teenagers can eat a whole one by himself. I personally don’t know where he puts it but there isn’t much I can do to stop him.
Normally, I use the fresh Trader Joe’s dough, or make my own pizza dough but even I am rushed for time many times a month and just buy these and stock on the freezer for my kids when I can’t bake a fresh pizza.
Crust (wheat flour, water, sunflower seed oil, extra virgin olive oil, salt, yeast), tomato puree (tomatoes, salt, citric acid), provolone cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, microbial rennet, smoke (liquid)), uncured pepperoni, no nitrite, pork, salt, contains 2% or less of cane sugar, natural flavorings [including celery powder], spices, oleoresin of paprika, lactic acid starter culture, water, Fontina cheese (pasteurized cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, microbial rennet), Monterey jack cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, microbial rennet), tomato paste, spices, salt.