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Project Phoenix: Pulling Mozzarella with Robbie Tutlewski of Pane Bianco

Happy New Year, Phoenix! What, you've already broken all your resolutions? Yeah, us too. But we're bouncing back with some inspiration. Whether you've been considering a new hair style or a new kitchen project, we're here to help with Project PHX, our annual "how to" guide. Step into Pane Bianco's kitchen to learn how to pull mozzarella. Or brew beer, crochet dread locks, learn how to build an electric guitar and make a screen print. Five local experts are here to guide you. Today: Pulling mozzarella with Robbie Tutlewski.

See also: Project Phoenix: Brewing Beer with Dennis Mitchell of the Arizona Society of Homebrewers

It's pretty much a rite of passage in Phoenix to get a mozzarella, tomato, and basil sandwich from Pane Bianco. Chris Bianco's little sandwich shop on Central Avenue between Indian School and Camelback roads offers only three sandwiches every day, after all, and that's one of them. While the aromatic basil and juicy local tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper certainly play a role in its popularity, the fresh slab of mozzarella is definitely the star of the show in this sandwich.

You already might have known that the crew at Pane Bianco makes its own mozzarella, but you might not know that the restaurant's sizable back of house operates as both a commissary and a test kitchen for Bianco's other restaurants in town. At the helm, chef Robbie Tutlewski is free to experiment. Lately, that means making and curing his own salami, pancetta, breasola, and mortadella in house, but since the beginning of Pizzeria Bianco, which celebrated its 20th year in operation in November 2014, Bianco has been making mozzarella in-house.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch