Newsletter 41 del 04 marzo 2017

Dear {{NOME}},

only last week, in the greeting in the general newsletter of Identità Golose, issue 496, I recalled how the president of Iceland, Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, inveighed against pineapple pizza, so much so that if he could, he would forbid it by law. In my conclusion, I wished that I would meet some time a pizzaiolo good enough so as to make a good version. After all, if so many people around the world, especially in the US, adore it, there must be a reason. You just have to look for it and, hopefully, find it.

In a few months’ time, this pizza will return in the list of a pizzeria in Parma. Massimo Gatti of Due Gatti, tel +39.0521.238901 indeed wrote to me and said: «It’s called Waikiki, to recall Hawaii. Four ingredients: fiordilatte, roasted fiocchetto, pineapple carpaccio and blu mediterraneo. We wanted to create a fresh yet tasty pizza, perfect for the summer heat. So why not one with the most exotic fruit of all?

«The pairing is balanced and winning. The tasty roasted Fiocchetto is perfectly matched with the pineapple carpaccio added after baking, all topped with a precious cheese: blu mediterraneo, a blue cheese made by artisans in Sardinia, a perfect match with pineapple. We keep the pineapple in a vacuum pack without cooking it, so as to give it a more compact texture». We’ll just have to wait and see.

Paolo Marchi


Bread Religion, at Identità a journey across taste... starting from wheat

Bread Religion is back. The itinerating event was launched by Petra Molino Quaglia  4 years ago so as to bring signature cuisine to the streets in the shape of a sandwich. The new stop will be in the sponsor square at Identità Milano. Some of the participants in the unforgettable first event organised in the summer of 2013 together with Aromi Creativi and magazine Rolling Stone will once again take part.

In coherence with the theme of Identità, the five stations which will host every day the panini and their authors, will be 5 ideal stops in our idea of journey, starting from the earth to the table, through the wheat which turns into flour and then is transformed into food by human hands. Each station will also be a stop in a journey through the tasting of the different sandwiches and the stories of their authors, guided by Francesca Romana Barberini.

And at the end of the journey, each night we’ll celebrate the sandwich voted as their favourite by everyone.

Bread loaves, ciabatte, soft and crusted rolls, with living mother yeast and stone milled or organic flour will obviously be pulled out of the Forno di Mamapetra, directed during the three days of the congress by Roberta Pezzella and Giulia Miatto. What’s best than biting into a tasty sandwich while breathing in the aroma of an oven? You’re all invited.

Piero Gabrieli

An idea: fried food (but properly made) in pizzerias

Final Hurray at the end of the eleventh edition of PizzaUp in Vighizzolo d'Este, Padua: close up of Piero Gabrieli and Chiara Quaglia 

A symposium dedicated to pizza but without speaking of dough, leavening and topping. Just fried food. This is what the eleventh edition of PizzaUp looked like.

Why a symposium on pizza without discussing pizza?
1) PizzaUp has walked side by side with the growth of the industry in the recent past. Pizza is flourishing once again. Pizzaioli are now sharing ideas with great chefs. Yet if high quality pizzerias want to act like a great restaurant, their culinary offer should also be wider: not just pizza but a complete menu. PizzaUp 2017 suggests a fried starter, but it’s just an idea. 

2) If a high quality pizzeria wants to act like a restaurant, it must also do it in terms of turnover. A restaurant doesn’t make money with main courses but with what’s on the side: starters, desserts and beverages. A high quality pizzaiolo must do the same: that is to say use pizza to cover costs and then add other elements that can offer a higher margin.

Why fried food, though?
1) Fried food is an idea, it’s not compulsory. But it’s a brilliant idea because in the words of chef Marco Valletta, one of the speakers at PizzaUp, it perfectly fits a pizzeria and pizza: «Most pizzaioli have small kitchens: setting up a 3-litre fryer, however, creates no issues. It only requires a square metre.

2) Fried food can be oily, difficult to digest. If we fry food properly, with portions not too big, it’s something delicious and enjoyable. It must be made properly: this is what Valletta and even master Corrado Assenza said.

Isn’t fried food bad for you though?
The answer came from Davide Cassi, founder and director of the Culinary Physics Lab at Università di Parma. He explained: «We don’t just feed our body, but our mind as well: our emotional side is equally important. Good food is (also) food that makes us feel good. Diets in hospitals are balanced but patients often feel depressed and this doesn’t help them in their recovery. Eating tasteless food is bad for you». Of course you need moderation: «Fried food is not poison: if you eat a portion it won’t create any problem. Even eating a portion too big is not a problem per se, as long as in the following days you’ll compensate with other food».

This interview also appeared on our website.

Carlo Passera

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A preview: Guida and Lovatel, Salvo and Bianco

Lovatel’s Stelle di seta pizza, to the left, and the pizza with tomatoes from the Salvo brothers, to the right

Identità Golose asked the greatest Italian chefs, hence the best pizzaioli too, their "dish for 2017". So many chefs have replied and still do, that even after publishing one piece per day we’ll have pieces coming for quite some time. Here’s just a couple of previews. We wanted to give a special space to two of them because they’re particularly special: they were born from a dialogue between pizzaioli, Denis Lovatel and Da Ezio from Alano di Piave and the Salvo brothers from pizzeria Francesco & Salvatore Salvo in San Giorgio a Cremano, and two great chefs, respectively Antonio Guida from Seta in Milan and Salvatore Bianco of Il Comandante in Naples.

Lovatel says: «After meeting chef Antonio Guida during an event, one day in January I dined at his restaurant and was fascinated by his cuisine which was both immaculate and refined. That same day, after a chat, we decided to create a pizza together that would mirror his natural approach to dishes. This is how “Stelle di Seta" was born. It’s seasoned with Campari tuille, sea bass, a cream of chards with sorrel and pine nuts.

This is what the Salvo brothers say: «We’d like to present our "pizza al pomodoro", a new pizza that has already become a must have, born from the collaboration with chef Salvatore Bianco. We wondered for a long time how we could use together all the tomatoes we select each year for our pizzas. The starred chef offered us his cooking techniques while we were shaping our ideas. We started from an idea of ancient pizza, with tomatoes, but making it extremely innovative. It’s made with six different tomatoes, processed separately and in different textures».


More new pizzas from Padoan, Coccia, Ricci, Ravagnan, Pappalardo, Masi

Six new pizzas for 2017: left to right, clockwise, the pizzas from Padoan, Coccia, Ricci, Ravagnan, Pappalardo and Masi

We mentioned our survey on new pizzas: we’ll gradually celebrate them on the Identità Golose website. Here are a few more previews: Ruggero Ravagnan of Grigoris presents a pizza that shows «the longing for the sea, the real one, not the one freezing your nose in the winter», but this sea is wrapped in a hot slice of pizza seasoned with fiordilatte, red chards scapece, masculina with raisins, capers from Pantelleria and their leaves. Meet Scapece e masculina.

Antonio Pappalardo of La Cascina dei Sapori created a pizza with bonito tartare, onion, cashew nuts and habanero mayonnaise: «I got the idea because we wanted to present a tuna and onion pizza but using bonito instead of the tuna and adding a crispy element such as toasted cashew nuts, and finally a dash of chilli given by the habanero chillies with our mayonnaise».

Via Etnea is instead the pizza presented by Patrick Ricci, of Pomodoro & Basilico: «A memory, a dedication to my city, Catania, and its main road. A mix of aromas and scents, such as the cinnamon from pastry shops, the wind bringing the scent of fish from the market. And then the flavours, the intense aroma of the fresh orange juice made in cafés».

Leonardo Giannico and Vincenzo Masi from Taverna Gourmet created pizza Riso, cozze e patate, «born as a new take on a typical dish from our region, "tiedda" with rice, mussels and potatoes».

At Simone Padoan’s I Tigli Pizza con il piccione [Pizza with pigeon] with fiolari broccoli from Creazzo, pigeon breast and leg and a reduction of Vermouth Carpano, «a pairing that brings me back to my childhood, when in the winter we’d eat game at home with fiolari broccoli: the sweet herbaceous note given by the vegetable is mixed with the strong, bloody taste of the pigeon».

Moving south. Enzo Coccia at 'O Sfizio d'a Notizia focuses on fried pizza, such as Pasticcio di pesce. His description: «Salted cod, endive, black olives from Gaeta, pine nuts and raisins. These are the ingredients for my fried pizza with salted cod inspired by the Pasticcio de pesce described in a treatise titled Cucina teorico-pratica written in 1837 by Ippolito Cavalcanti».

Pepe in Los Angeles like a rock star

A souvenir picture with Franco Pepe and Nancy Silverton inside Chi spacca, one of the four faces in Silverton’s universe. Photo gallery by Luciano Furia

How much would you be willing to spend for pizza from what many people consider the number one pizzaiolo in the world? Not all of Franco Pepe’s and Pepe in grani’s clients live close by and can return home after dining there, so if you have the chance to visit Caiazzo in Alto Casertano, on top of travel and overnight stay you’d spend just a handful of euros: 4.50 for Marinara and 5 for Margherita, between 8 and 10 for the more original and rich pizzas, from Alifana – named after onions from Alife – to tuna, or Scarpetta and Sole nel piatto. Then some ask for Quattro gusti, each one of the four slices offering a different pizza chosen by the guest, and in that case it’s 12 euros... (to read on, click on the link below)

Paolo Marchi

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There’s something about yeast in Rome

One of Gabriele Bonci’s pizzas

While we wait for the Salvo brothers to arrive in Rome at Cristina Bowerman’s and Fabio Spada’s new multifunctional restaurant Romeo e Giulietta, the Eternal City continues to offer interesting new places for pizza lovers. Gabriele Bonci says pizza, being a popular dish, can find a place everywhere: so the new challenge was to place Pizzarium in a supermarket, at Carrefour Market Via Cesare Fracassini in Flaminio. The pizza (which you can take away or eat in) is only made with high quality and socially sustainable raw materials, and sold for a price that is never over 17.5 euros per kg. Hence no foie gras but typical Roman seasonings: rossa, pizza with mortazza, potatoes and mozzarella or ricotta and broccoletti. Meanwhile the Michelangelo of pizza prepares a new collaboration for the restaurant in Prati, the old Romeo, where he’ll offer pizza and bread made with natural yeast from Panificio Bonci. But most of all, he’s working on the opening of his first restaurant in the US, in Chicago, said to be in June 2017.

Pier Daniele Seu has instead left Gazometro 38 and since the 1st February he’s the new pizza chef at "bottega della pizza" inside Mercato centrale di Roma [it was Bonci who brought him here and sponsored him] where he’ll finally be able to work in complete freedom. Round pizzas baked in the wood oven (something new for him) and fried calzoni, all following Roman tradition with a few gourmet touches, such as nutmeg in the calzone with ricotta, fiordilatte and mortadella or powdered eggs on the tomato-less capricciosa. As for the dough, he’ll use very little yeast, a blend of flour and high hydration, with at least 36 hours of leavening. His pizza is famous for its big and airy edge and the “boccaforno” cooking so as to make it crispy. Five pizzas will be available all year round: margherita, marinara, Napoli, mushrooms and sausage, capricciosa 2.Seu (tomato-less), on top of the seasonal pizzas.

Tania Mauri

Chef & pizza: Alba Esteve Ruiz

Alba Esteve Ruiz’s pizza with secreto of Iberian pig, cabbage, carrots and grapefruit

Our journey in the world of chefs at work with pizza continues. After Ugo AlciatiMoreno CedroniNino Di CostanzoAndrea MatteiPeter BrunelNobuya Niimori and Alessandro Gilmozzi, it’s now the turn of Alba Esteve Ruiz, of Marzapane in Rome. She recently prepared, together with Denis Lovatel of Da Ezio a pizza with Iberian pig secreto, cabbage, carrots and grapefruit. Here’s her story.

I love pizza. I often eat it. After all, who doesn’t love it? For me it’s always been a quick meal, an afternoon break. I liked the idea of changing point of view and giving a new positive take. The understanding between chef and pizzaiolo is not hard to find: or at least I didn’t find it hard, collaborating as I was with Denis Lovatel. He was very open and available, he just asked me to interpret a dish of mine by adapting it to the characteristics of his crunch dough. Hence my job was like thinking of a dish, something I do every day, something that comes natural.

Denis had lunch at Marzapane and tasted my menu to get a better feeling of my approach with cooking. We then chatted about my dishes and chose a recipe that would represent my Hispanic origins and my work here in Rome. Hence we chose a dish with a Spanish product, presented in a Roman restaurant, interpreted on his pizza.

I loved working with pizza. I love experimenting and learning where my dishes can arrive. Should the chance happen again, I’d be happy to repeat the experience. But not in my restaurant because the logistics and the management of a dish like pizza requires spaces and equipment I couldn’t have at Marzapane.

Alba Esteve Ruiz

This dough is Rock

The name would probably recall a pub with live music, and not the restaurant-cum-pizzeria that is in fact Rock 1978, a nice and welcoming place in Bione (BS). A place you won’t expect but where it’s worth stopping by, both for their restaurant offer and for their pizza, which they also serve at lunchtime. But back to the name: Rock was the nickname given to grandpa Giovanni Zanoni, a homage his son Giuseppe made when he bought this place in 1978, transforming it into a restaurant-cum-pizzeria.

Since a few years ago, it’s the third generation in this resourceful family that’s managing the restaurant: Patrick, 32-year-old pizzaiolo, and Gianluca, in the dining room, 28 (Laura and Lilli, the other daughters, run three ice cream shops which supply their brothers’ place). They are young, simple, kind, humble guys, eager to work. They chose to focus on an original and high quality offer, without changing their menu too much because they still have to meet the needs of local “popular” clients. But they know what they want and are determined. Hence they’re gradually educating their clientele to new and unusual flavours. 

Patrick offers different types of dough with high hydration, creating blends with different kinds of Petra flour mixing and “playing” with Petra 1, Petra 9 and germinati. Three different types of pizza: classic, Neapolitan and gourmet, all baked in the two wood ovens. The most popular type is the Neapolitan one, but Patrick feels closer to the gourmet one, which gives him quite a lot of satisfaction. The toppings are original, as with Focaccina with Riga salmon, mixed salad and cream of artichokes or Neapolitan Rock Extra with San Marzano tomatoes, fiordilatte, sautéed asparagus, bagoss cheese and speck from Alto Adige. Among the gourmet pizza, there’s the Veal steak tagliata, fiordilatte, baby spinach, capers, hazelnuts and coffee or Braised veal jowl, potato purée and fried sliced leek.


Primacotta, first cooked, then devoured

«Years ago I met Paolo Marchi. He said: “I must visit you in Cremona!” I replied I would go to Milan…». Roberto Ghisolfi, man of his word: on the 3rd December he arrived in Milan, in Via Vittor Pisani, making a significant leap. Not only because pizza in Milan is a tough cookie. But because here Ghisolfi changed perspective: from his family pizzeria, Lo Spicchio, to a new format. The family is always beside him, «my wife Fiorella with her advice», but also his son Alessio, a graduate in chemistry and researcher in Strasburg, «he studies molecules». His comments were very useful so as to create a different pizza, a brilliant intuition, whose essence is enclosed in the name of the restaurant: Primacotta (first cooked).

«I got the idea in 2004: I would go to the supermarket and saw all these frozen pizzas, their cooking finished at home». Practical yet horrible: «Then I wondered, why not make one, but of the highest quality?». I worked on it for quite some time, until I found the right formula: the best dough made using Petra flour, then seven versions: 5 cereals, spelt, Moroccan curry, wild fennel, buckwheat, plus three focaccias with curry, wild fennel and whole wheat. Living mother yeast, very long leavening and fermentations, and then the slice is cooked a first time with mozzarella.

Until this point, this is “just” an excellent pizza. The news comes later: it is then treated like a fresh product. «Our shelves are cold», flavours are preserved, starting from those of the topping, of the highest quality, added after baking. The slices are designed so you can take them away and finish cooking them in the oven at home, resulting in hot, fragrant, freshly baked pizzas. Pizzas in slices are often thick, with a dry, spongy, difficult to digest dough. The one at Primacotta is almost ethereal: the base tastes like wheat (but the curry one is also fantastic!), it is crispy on the outside, soft and light on the inside. It melts in your mouth. «Usually it is the industry that steals intuitions from us artisans. In this case, we did the opposite».


Martucci dedicates a pizza to Bottura

Francesco Martucci with his pizza inspired by and dedicated to Bottura 

“Pizze a canotto” are characterised by a large, airy edge that make them look like inflatable boats. Francesco Martucci of pizzeria I Masanielli in Viale Lincoln in Caserta (the family restaurants are two, both in the same town, but the other one is run by his brother Sasà) is the pizzaiolo that made this trendy pizza famous. And in his case it’s very good and with reasonable prices.

The dough is soft and light, made with a blend of “weak” types of flour, mixed by Francesco himself. He uses brewer’s yeast and at least 24 hours of leavening. His secret? Experience and personal skills in feeling the dough, which is something in which he resembles the “great old” pizzaioli from the Neapolitan tradition.

There are very many options available in the menu and as daily specials, and one stands out above all: 4 Parmigiani, dedicated to Massimo Bottura – absolutely delicious and well balanced. Just like the number one chef, Martucci uses just one ingredient, Parmigiano Reggiano PDO from Caseificio Malandrone 1477, in four different maturations and textures: a fondue made with Parmigiano matured 20 months covers the base of the pizza, baked in a wood oven. Then after baking he adds grated Parmigiano matured 26 months, scales of 30 months Parmigiano and a mousse of Parmigiano stravecchio matured 120 months. Marvellous.

The ingredients for the other pizzas, from Margherita to Pizza Slow (onions from Montoro, fiordilatte, pancetta from nero casertano pigs, conciato romano Le Campestre and extra virgin olive oil Zahir from San Comaio) are also the result of a careful research of the territory of Caserta and beyond.


Our 2016 pizza Oscars

All the "2016 Oscars" to pizzas

2016 was, for sure, the year we tasted the largest number of pizzas, since we were often visiting pizzerias, presenting our book La Buona Pizza (read here) or tasting new pizzas (and the like) in Italy and abroad, so we could present them in our blog or in Identità Golose. Here’s an unordered list of those that struck us or surprised us the most, out of the very many we tasted, almost always of the highest quality. We would be more than happy to eat them all again! ... (click on "read on" below to discover the Oscars of pizza in 2016).

Tania Mauri and Luciana Squadrilli

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