"Biga" is a starter, like sourdough, and DelSignore's been feeding his original biga since he started his first restaurant. He says he ferments each batch of pizza dough for seventy-two hours, which partially "cooks" the dough, so a quick blast in his wood-fired inferno is all that's needed to finish it off. "If you put regular pizza dough in our oven, I guarantee it will burn before it cooks," he cautions. The thin-crust, delicately scorched "Neapolitan" pizza is not meant to serve a crowd, and it's best eaten immediately. The classic is the simple margherita (tomato sauce, basil, buffalo mozzarella). Most of his other toppings take considerable prep: "It's not just cut-up vegetables. I don't just throw on sliced mushrooms, for instance. I make a mushroom ragu and add wood-fired vegetables."
DelSignore, whose parents immigrated from Abruzzo, speaks fluent Italian. He grew up in Livonia, where his father eventually owned a banquet hall. DelSignore opened Bacco in the early 2000s and says he has no formal restaurant training. By January, DelSignore says, Bigalora will be open for Sunday brunch.
Bigalora, 3050 Washtenaw (Arbor Hills Crossing) 971-2442. Daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m. bigalora.com
[Originally published in January, 2014.]