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Sure, we try to cut back on our wheat and dairy consumption--for our health and our figure. But truthfully, whenever someone proposes a business lunch or friendly get-together, Pizzeria Mozza is our first suggestion. There the rustic Italian fare from partners Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Nancy Silverton--including a distinctive chewy yet crunchy pizza crust--is well worth a hiccup in our diets.

So we?re thrilled that we can now indulge our friends and ourselves at home, since we discovered that Mozza?s Scuola di Pizza chef, the award-winning Chad Colby, teaches cooking classes. For $150, a dozen or so students get a hands-on tutorial in making artisan pies such as the squash-blossom-tomato-and-burrata version or the one featuring rapini, cherry tomatoes, anchovies, olives and chiles. Most exciting, students learn the secrets of the fabled crust. (It's rumored to involve honey, rye flour and--a surprise ingredient--wheat germ.)

The Scuola di Pizza, located just next to the pizzeria, is also the scene of themed weekly family dinners ($75), spread out along a linen-covered community table, and, beginning May 31, a Thursday salumi bar devoted to appreciating the new house-cured meats, grilled entrées and bottles from Joe Bastianich?s winery.

Scuola di Pizza, 6610 Melrose Ave.; 323-297-1130 or

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