On the Job: Perfecting the pizza

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Today, I'm on a mission: uncovering the secrets behind making a delicious pizza. I figured my best bet would be to ask someone who's Italian, so I stopped by Nick and Al's.

Owner Gus Lisi grew up in a farming family in Strangolagalli, Italy.

"It means 'strangle the rooster.' That's what it means," Lisi laughs.

But America was the dream.

"I remember saying everyone was coming to America," he explains. "I remember looking up and I'm spinning in my yard, and I'm looking up. I see an airplane flying. I say, 'God, when do I get to go to America?'"

Lisi came to America as a young boy, and it was the Navy that later brought him to Mississippi. After first opening a Subway, he wanted to get back to his roots and opened Nick and Al's (then Luigi's) restaurant in June of 1999.

"We're not an Italian restaurant, but we do put out Italian food," Lisi says.

The days start early. Myles showed me the ropes in the kitchen. We started with homemade alfredo, then moved on to the dough.

It takes a lot of work, but the finished product is a tray full of perfectly rounded balls of dough, ready to be made into a perfect pizza.

Gus showed me the techniques to work the pizza, and I tried my best to copy (tried being the key word, here). He says beginners don't normally toss the pizza, but he makes it look so easy, I had to try.

We added the toppings, carefully, slid the pizza into the oven and finally saw the culmination of all our hard work: a perfect pepperoni pizza.

Worth it.