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How to Make Rubirosa’s Famous Tie-dye Pizza

Our correspondent heads to the Manhattan hot spot to learn how to make a heart-shaped pie for Valentine’s Day, and comes away with a pizza recipe you can try at home.

tie dye pizza

Rubirosa’s famed tie-dye pizza.

There’s nothing like the smell of fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza on a dreary winter day. 

And on a Sunday around 11 a.m. in late January, Rubirosa, the well-known thin-crust pizza joint adored by celebrities, New Yorkers, and tourists alike, was already buzzing. Just after its doors opened for the morning, as rain padded down on a skylight above, Rubirosa’s kitchen was preparing orders and orders of pizza to be served in house and to fill delivery orders. 

Rubirosa is special no matter what time of year one might visit. But in the dead of Manhattan winter, the restaurant runs a special for February’s most-celebrated dates, Valentine’s Day, serving heart-shaped pizzas, adding a little something extra for food-lovers to consider as they make holiday dining plans.

Ahead of its 2024 menu debut, I went to Nolita to learn how to make Rubirosa’s heart-shaped pizza from its seasoned staff. And it turns out, it’s a pretty simple adjustment to re-shape the pizza crust into a heart. 

Under supervision, I started with pre-made dough. Once it was rolled flat, I folded the dough circle in half, cutting it into a half heart before unfolding. It was fairly straightforward.

The shaping of the pie wasn’t too difficult but I struggled with sauce distribution. I was working on a tie-dye pizza topping combination — one that the restaurant is famous for — and I went a little heavy on the vodka sauce. Lucky for me, I had help and we were able to salvage the pizza.

heart shaped pizza
The heart-shaped pizza from Rubirosa.

While I visited the restaurant for a special lesson, everyone is welcome to and has the ability to recreate Rubirosa’s famed tie-dye pie at home — made even easier through Rubirosa’s at-home product line, which this year includes heart-shaped pizza kits available for pickup at their restaurant at 235 Mulberry St. in Manhattan.

Rubirosa shared instructions on how to make its tie-dye pizza at home with Appetito, though if you can’t make it to NYC to pick up a kit, you’ll need to start with your own homemade or store-bought pizza dough and other ingredients, including a squeeze bottle to apply the pesto that gives the pizza its tie-dyed appearance.

Editor’s note: The heart-shaped pies are not available on gluten-free crust in-restaurant. 

How to make Rubirosa’s tie-dye pie at home

STEP 1

Preheat your oven to its absolute highest setting (NOT the broil setting).

STEP 2

Make sure the dough is at room temperature. Place dough onto a well-floured surface to ensure it doesn’t stick. Using your fingertips, press out the dough firmly, starting at the center and working outwards to the edge. Leave an inch around the rim of the pizza untouched. Turn the dough over, add flour, and repeat the process. Flip back again and, using the palm of your hand, push firmly in the center of the dough to ensure the thickness of the base is consistent (still not touching the edges).Take the dough on the back of your hands, and stretch the dough out near to the edge, trying not to stretch the center too much. Turn 90 degrees and repeat this stretching a few times. Feel free to use a rolling pin to help with the stretching process! You should now have a disc of dough around 12" in diameter, consistently thin but with a slightly thicker rim.

STEP 3

Remove the pan from the oven and lay your stretched-out pizza base flat in the pan. Using a ladle or large spoon spread the tomato or vodka sauce in a thin layer across the base, leaving ½ inch around the edge for the crust. Add your Mozzarella and spread evenly around. Add any additional topping you have.

STEP 4

Place your pizza in the oven on its highest temperature for 8-12 minutes. When the crust turns a light brown the pizza is ready to come out. Use the pesto to create any design you wish. The pesto should be added once the pie is finished and out of the oven.

STEP 5

Enjoy your masterpiece!

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