If you've ever stopped in for one at Matteo Schiavone's authentic Neapolitan pizzas at Pomo, you likely remember how your meal ended. Every customer (of legal drinking age, of course) is treated to a complimentary shot of Schiavone's handmade limoncello crema along with a side of fried chiacchiere or fried dough covered in powdered sugar. If that's not the picture of generosity in and of itself, Schiavone also gave us the recipe for his tasty, one-of-a-kind limoncello.
"It's the perfect ending to meals," Schiavone says, explaining that limoncello is a digestif had at the end of every meal back home in Italy.
Using gigantic organic Sorrento lemons, Schiavone makes sure even the lemons are authentically Italian. He hand peels ten pounds, carefully ensuring that he only uses the zest because the pith is too bitter. After they're peeled, Schiavone puts the peels in 32 ounces (or four cups) of Everclear, which he prefers over vodka because he says vodka makes bitter limoncello, though he does recommend experimenting with grappa. He then lets the liquor and peels sit for an entire month covered in a refrigerator.
After that month, the liquor should have a deep yellow color and smell citrusy. It's then ready for the crema part of the drink. Combining 64 ounces of milk (or eight cups) with four pounds of sugar and one vanilla bean, Schiavone boils the two ingredients for about 20 minutes.
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Once it cools, he combines the milk syrup with the lemon peel tincture and then lets everything mix together in the fridge for another month. After that month, you can bottle and freeze it, and it will keep forever, according to Schiavone, or you can serve it in a chilled or frozen glass.
"Everyone loves it because normally you can feel the alcohol, but this is more light," Schiavone says, noting its smoothness and balance. "Everyone wants to buy it."
Although Schiavone usually has several bottles on hand, he says he never sells it, preferring instead to give it to guests as a way of saying thank you for stopping in and trying the pizza at Pomo. The light, sweet, and creamy flavor is unique to Schiavone's limoncello, but it still packs a little bit of that boozey lemony punch that limoncello lovers crave.