Newsletter 59 del 14 giugno 2019

Dear {{NOME}},

Crosta is an establishment with two souls: we owe the bread to Giovanni Mineo, and the pizza to Simone Lombardi. All this in Via Bellotti 13 in Milan, tel. +39.02.38248570. It opened early in December 2018, and I like the way they work side by side, the way they think and plan, and their original approach. The offer is limited, five traditional pizzas and seven contemporary ones, plus six seasonings and two platters. What with traditional paths and those that shine thanks to gourmet pizza, Crosta is an alternative to both, a different way that should be shared as much as possible.

Paolo Marchi




From the top left, clockwise: Luigi Acciaio, Gennaro Battiloro, Corrado Scaglione, Giovanni Santarpia. Photo from Thorsten Stobbe forPetra Molino Quaglia

Neapolitan pizza is a classic of Italian culinary tradition. However, like other versions of Italian pizza, it has experienced a stronger and stronger “contemporary breeze” fed by the need to change in a once dying sector that has become more and more promising in the past few years. So during our classes at Università della Pizza we’ve gradually seen an increasing number of participants who follow the Neapolitan model but also want to adapt it to a more current approach to consumption.

So much so that in 2017 we launched a specific training called Università della Pizza Napoletana. Four days, a full immersion designed for those who already know Neapolitan pizza, and led in the classroom by 4 innovators. Every day, through their work, they spread their roots with pride, while presenting pizzas that convey their values with higher and more modern standards.

I’ll let them introduce themselves in alphabetical order, and in their own words. 

Luigi Acciaio: «When you use your hands, you can feel what we’re doing and you’ll necessarily make something special».

Gennaro Battiloro: «Many years ago, when I started this beautiful journey, I started from hand-made dough. At that time technology, when it came to pizza, was not very advanced. Hence, I had to develop a greater sensitivity when it came to dough. I had to understand, just by using my hands, the degree of leavening. Once you acquire this sensitivity, you won’t loose it. To this day, I feel the dough speaks to me. It tells me how and how long it wants to be kneaded».

Giovanni Santarpia: «My passion is the joy of your taste buds».

Corrado Scaglione: «I love tradition. And Neapolitan pizza is the main source of all pizzas. Everyone has drawn from this product. Even I, in the first place, learnt to make a product like this. It has allowed me to work in Naples and to share ideas with Neapolitan colleagues and enrich my skills, until I managed to make, in my restaurant, a 100% Neapolitan product».

The course took place from the 27th to the 30th of May at the school inside the ancient Molino Quaglia and had limited places so as to guarantee everyone’s active participation. 

Piero Gabrieli

3Voglie, research and novelties, and a heart in Battipaglia

Valentino Tafuri

On one hand, there’s the desire to continue to experiment and to find new roads, even by adding different influences and processes; on the other, there’s the connection with one’s roots and territory, enhancing the history, the products and places. These are the – different, but not antithetical – paths that 30-year-old pizzaiolo Valentino Tafuri is following in his family restaurant called 3Voglie in Battipaglia (Via Serroni 10/14. Tel. +39 0828 370533, – he’s also the coordinator of the pizza department of the new In Cibum school in Pontecagnano. After following the Neapolitan pizza tradition for a long time – which in the province of Salerno doesn’t come automatic – Valentino recently took the road that is leading him to work on different types of dough and leavening, thus in a way getting closer to the pizza of Cilento (which is more like bread, and is slightly less smooth) but in an original way, and with positive contaminations.

Having studied the art of boulangerie in France, he now also bakes perfect croissants and delicious loaves – for which he uses Petra Evolutiva flour, which is the perfect fit for his philosophy and research on taste – available on Wednesday and Saturday after 6 pm. And now his pizzas are also inspired by bread making.

The new “base-dough” – which Valentino uses for most of his classic pizzas as well as for the calzoni, tronchetti (shaped like a baguette) and racchetti (half pizza, half filling) – is made with mother yeast (the solid one, which he called Anna, after his mother) and a blend half “0” and half “type 1” flour with a small percentage of barley flour. It is baked in a wood oven at 350°C, so the texture is crispier and very light. As an alternative, you can order the whole-wheat dough pizza, (with type “1” flour and 30% whole wheat flour), while the menu also includes the Pizza Cilentana 2.0: a new take on the classic pizza nel ruoto, made with mother yeast (in this case, the liquid one, called Lucio, after his  dad), “type 1” flour plus 10% whole wheat flour, and a double baking, first in the electric oven, and then in the wood oven, depending on the seasoning. Finally, there’s the Tripla lievitazione dough, with “type 1” flour and 10% barley, which starts from the poolish of mother yeast and has a triple leavening and a double baking, as in the case of Cilentana 2.0.

Starters include the new organic Bio Focaccia, halfway between a pizza and a salad; dedicated to the 90th anniversary since Battipaglia was founded, blending the best food tradition of the Piana del Sele and of Campania, including lettuce in the shape of an extract added to the dough, which gives it an unusual and nice natural green colour. It’s topped with buffalo milk mozzarella, sauce of yellow date tomatoes, mixed salad and prosciutto crudomatured 27 months from Benevento.

Luciana Squadrilli

From the Città della Pizza: what dessert in pizzerias?

The dessert inspired by pizza, presented by Walter Musco of Bompiani, Rome

Some places offer delicious fried food, others bruschetta or platters, the more gourmet-oriented places add some cooked dishes while others prefer not to ruin the appetite and don’t offer any starters or nibbles so that guests focus on the pizza. But virtually every decent pizzeria offers a selection of desserts, even if only a small one. In this case however, there’s a harder choice to make for the pizzeria patrons: is it better to continue with a leavened product, or perhaps postpone the fried offer to the end of the meal? Are light desserts like sorbets or ice cream better, or should one opt for rich puddings? Traditional or original? But most of all: should one ask a famous pastry-shop, or have a pastry-chef in the brigade, or continue to work with the oven, offering sweet pizzas?

This matter was discussed at Città della Pizza 2019 – in Rome, on April 12-14th – with a creative pastry chef (Walter Musco from Bompiani, Rome), a “pastry-pizzaiolo” (Fabio Ciriaci, who after various experiences in the kitchen opened Gusto Madre in Alba, with his wife Francesca who is also a pastry-chef) and a “pizzaiolo-pastry chef” (Luigi Cippitelli, at the helm of the family pizzeria in San Giuseppe Vesuviano, who also has experiences in the kitchen and as a pastry chef). Their thoughts were very different and all reasonable.

Going against his interest, Musco said he doesn’t agree with the idea of asking a pastry-shop (and Bompiani doesn’t do B2B, they only focus on consumers): «You’d risk having an offer that is unoriginal, unless you find a pastry-chef willing to create a line specifically for your pizzeria. But in my opinion including a professional in the brigade is a good investment, or else you can work on sweet pizzas, in coherence with the rest of the menu; the pizzaiolo, like the chef or the pastry chef, must always question himself in order to improve», he explained while he offered to the audience, among other things, a delicious dessert that plays with the ingredients of pizza – tomato, basil and buffalo milk mozzarella – what with sweetness and sapidity.

Fabio Ciriaci follows the firstapproach. He’s included a station dedicated to pastry-making (with the implied costs): «For me it’s a long-term investment that’s coherent with the work we’re doing with the pizza. We offer freshly made desserts, never too rich, paying attention to acidity and texture so as not to add heaviness, and to cleaning the palate, or leavened products like panettone or colomba», he said while Francesca announced the arrival in the room of an elegant dessert made with a mousse with Madagascar vanilla, truffle and pistachio crumble, with fruits of the forest, milk chocolate cremoso, caramelised pistachios and edible flowers.

Cippitelli, instead, focuses on tradition and territory but using the dough for pizza or bread in an unusual way; hence Panpastiera – with a shortcrust pastry made with bread crumbs, a cream made with bread and lemon zest, and a reduction of Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio wine for the garnish – and the PanCaprese, a sort of chocolate pan dolcewith black cherries from Ottaviano. «I believe it’s important that we make good use of everything we make; hence the extra dough for the pizza often becomes bread, and I try to use it in an original way, and not just for the usual bruschetta!».


Pier Daniele Seu’s vegetarian pizzas

Pier Daniele Seu’sVeggie Reef pizza

Lucky for us, whether we’re vegetarian or not, gone are the days when the meat-free options in a pizzeria, or those that had no animal proteins at all, offered very few alternatives on top of the still delicious Marinara – perfect in its balance of tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil – or Ortolana, often seasoned with sad grilled vegetables, out of season and lacking in flavour. In order to find other vegetables on a pizza, you had to choose some much richer and demanding options, like parmigiana di melanzaneor the yummy Salsiccia e friarielli from the Neapolitan tradition; in any case, these were pizzas in which vegetables always were little more than a side, an extra.

Today this is no longer the case thanks to the more and more common meeting of pizza and cooking and to the great attention that pizzaioli are paying to the way they season their dough, making creativity and balance meet, and working on unusual flavours and lightness. This is, for instance, what Pier Daniele Seu of Seu Pizza Illuminati (Via Bargoni 10-18, Roma. Tel. +39 06 5883384, is doing. In his menu – which changes every season – there are always various pizzas clearly defined as vegetarian or even vegan, but which are worth tasting even for omnivores.

«This is a response to the many requests I’ve received from clients, but it’s also been very stimulating and fine for me – Seu says – After all, almost everything has already been said, when it comes to cured meat and cheese, while the vegetal world is still largely unexplored». His “green” pizzas are indeed not banal and truly delicious. In the spring menu, for instance, there’s the Veggie Reef in which he adds homely recipe to the dough, with coral beans cooked in tomato sauce and a mirepoix and fresh basil, finished with a pesto of dried tomatoes and some nicely balanced grated Provolone del Monaco.

On his Basilicata Coast to Coast pizza,instead, he adds a cream of fresh fava beans, fried chicory, peperoni cruschi and the intense Gran Käse della Valcamonica as a well-thought component of proteins from other areas. What about Pesto? It’s a great provocation which – just like Seu’s other pizzas – adds a traditional recipe to the dough, recreating the flavours in an exemplary way, with the right proportions of each ingredient; in this case, the typical Ligurian pesto, with a cream of French beans on the base, plus grilled French beans, cream of potatoes with extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, parmigiano reggiano both grated and in crispy chips, basil leaves and a sweet garlic cream.

Assoluto di tuberi is completely vegan: on the base, there’s a cream of beetroot, plus sweet potatoes, yellow, orange and purple carrots from Polignano cut very thin, toasted peanuts – to add sapidity – a cream of parsnip and, on top, a mix of “South Africa” spices. It’s vegan, but most of all it’s good. Like a great dish.


Guglielmo Vuolo’s news in Naples and Florence

Pizza Lazzarella from Guglielmo Vuolo in Florence, with cow’s milk ricotta, provola di Agerola, courgette flowers, salt and pepper 

Acknowledged among the great masters of Neapolitan pizza, but also as a great innovator and experimenter always ready to take a new challenge and offer something original while paying attention to contemporary needs – including the tomato menu, the pizza with sea water, limiting the use of salt in the dough, and the “pizze della salute” which he finetuned in 2016 in collaboration with an expert of Nutritional Biotherapy –, Guglielmo Vuolo has recently at work with many new projects. After bringing his pizza to Verona, as part of Marco Dolci’s format Assaporito – a showcase of delicacies from Campania, in Veneto – the pizzaiolo has recently returned to Naples, on the most famous promenade of Italy, with a new project called 4A Pizzeria, in Via Mergellina, where once was restaurant Don Salvatore.

AOpened in partnership with Stefano Ferrara, a master craftsman who builds Neapolitan craft ovens all around the world, the restaurant sums up the work of the past few years adding some new elements: from the wine list, which includes sulphite-free wines, as well as the sections dedicated to metropolitan vineyards and traditional wines from Naples, to the pairings created specifically for champagne Laurent Perrier. But most of all the new pizzas, like the 4A (with roasted cherry tomatoes, semi-dry Pachino tomatoes, baked black olives, organic orange zest and extra virgin olive oil) or the Zi’ Enrico fried pizza, with ricotta, smoked pancetta, organic lemon zest, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

On the 16th of April 2019, Vuolo – together with his son Enrico, fifth generation of the family of pizzaioli – also arrived in Florence, in the renovated Caffè Italianoa historicestablishment near Santa Croce which Umberto Montano bought in the Eighties. The retro charm of the rooms now welcomes a modern and casual setting which – except for the room dedicated to Arà è SUDCarmelo Pannocchietti’s Sicilian restaurant – includes a café, a restaurant, a bar and a pizzeria, all under the same roof, creating a journey of flavours that can be mixed freely thanks to the skill of the people hired to interpret the various facets of the place: Gionata D’Alessi for the meat (which has a main role, what with the fantastically matured steaks, and the incredible raw meat from Martini’s butcher in Boves), Sandro Soltani for the wines and Vuolo for pizza.

Enrico and Guglielmo thus take a piece of Neapolitan culture and flavours to Florence. «Caffè italiano is for me a chance to present our pizza to the multifaceted and expert clientele of Florence, a beautiful town I love dearly» Guglielmosays. Indeed, in Florence his father Enrico Vuolo, a decan of true Neapolitan pizza worked for a while. In the pizza menu at Caffè Italiano – the pizzas being slightly crunchier than usual, made with a blend of Petra flour, so as to offer a true Neapolitan pizza while meeting the taste of the Florentines – there are classic pizzas and some of Vuolo fortes: Assoluto di Marinara, Quattro Pomodori, the delicious Lazzarella with cow’s milk ricotta, provola di Agerola, courgette flowers, salt and pepper.


Edoardo Papa, In Fucina’s tenth anniversary

Edoardo Papa and his pizza. In Fucina, in Rome, turns ten

He was the first, ten years ago, to bring “gourmet pizza” to Rome – this was the most popular definition at the time, before it became abused and ill-used – offering very complex seasonings added to a light and fragrant dough, which was willingly intended as a “neutral base” for the topping, and the “tasting format”, serving one pizza at the time so that every guest could fully appreciate it.

After all, the claim of In Fucina – the restaurant of Edoardo Papa and his wife Emanuela, initially simply called Fucina – is “the restaurant that loves pizza”. And Papa defines himself as a chef, rather than a pizzaiolo, even though he’s earned this qualification in the field, and in an atypical way, since he arrived in the kitchen through pizza – or vice versa, as a gourmet lover and frequent client of fine restaurants with a tendency to put his finger in the pie – after a long career in the communication industry.

To celebrate the anniversary, on the 8th of March they organised a four-handed event with another pioneer of pizza in Rome, Giancarlo Casa of La Gatta Mangiona, with a nice meeting of pizzas and dishes from the two “neighbours” – they’re both in the Monteverde neighbourhood, broadly speaking – and the Tuscan wines from Fattoria di Gratena.


Frumento’s fine pizza, in Acireale

If it’s true you can judge a good pizzaiolo – at least the first time – by his pizza Margherita, at Frumento you can do so through an entire list of Margheritas which alone would be enough to keep the promise of offering a space to celebrate 100% pizza, made from 100% flour.

Now a mandatory stop on the map of Sicilian “slow living”, Emanuele Serpa’spizzeria in Acireale (Catania) shows in its manifesto the simple desire to work while respecting natural rhythms, a testimony of how there’s nothing more contemporary than a resolute return to the origins. That is to say, when on top of saying it, you’re also doing it.

And in order to do so, in the kitchen of frumento they work every day, interpreting the raw materials in the most fascinating way, what with the architecture created by the flour, and the bubbles designed by the yeast. So the different types of dough are truly – and deeply – different and guests experiment a rare opportunity to learn something - which, given how ancient this something is, it’s almost a paradox – on the essence of food and on the transformation played by the precision of nature and the expertise of men, all this by simply eating pizza.

Neapolitan monotheists will find the impeccable, soft result of a long leavening of the dough made only with Petra flour, as the patron points out, while lovers of local food can opt for a thin, rustic base made with durum wheat Russello stone-milled flour.

Concetta Bonini

Archestrato di Gela, lots of quality in Palermo

Archestratus wasa poet and a Siceliota (an adjective that refers to the inhabitants of the Greek poleis of Sicily) who lived in the second half of the IV century BC. He knew very well what the perfect baker was like, and he described him in his poem Gastronomia, a precursor of the gourmet guides in which, as a great expert of the art of pleasure - he was considered a precursor of Epicurus- he described his quest for the best food and best wines.

Thousands of years later, Archestrato di Gela was not born from his ashes but is the  name given to one of the most renowned restaurants in Palermo, seating on average 250 people every night, offering many options in terms of high quality contemporary pizza. Edoardo Chifari, the creator of the project and the patron, together with his wife Adriana and their children Pierangelo and Giordana, tells us how it all began: «I’ve always been a lover of Greek culture and in the past I taught at the Academy of Fine Arts; one day, many years ago, I told my family that if I were to buy a restaurant, I would do it in honour of Archestratus, a Greek poet who in 300 B.C. moved to one of the most influential poleis of the Greek world and talked about wines, fish, and flour in his writing»…

Davide Visiello

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Amor, the Alajmo family debuts in Milan

Masscalzone with prosciutto and mushrooms at Amor in Milan (photo Lido Vannucchi)

There’s a recurring number ten in the first Milanese adventure of the Alajmo family, the owners of 10 restaurants in Padua, Venice and Paris. The eleventh establishment is the first in Milan and opened to the public on April 10th, at number 10 in Corso Como, one of the most iconic locations in town.

«We’re very happy», Raffaele Alajmo, Ceo of the group told Identità Golose, «of launching this new concept, our first fast casual restaurant. Amor has an extra R compared to Amo, the establishment opened in 2016 at Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice». It is entirely focused on pizza, especially the steamed Pjzze with a J, as in Alajmo, which they presented during the 2013 Identità Milano congress. «We’ve patented every step of this preparation, from the pre-cooking to the first steam cooking in the oven, to the service of the dish». «It’s fast, but it’s not fast food», Massimiliano pointed out, «at Amor fast must be a perception in terms of taste, a consequence of all the work we’ve developed so that this kind of food can be elegant whereas it is usually heavy. We started from Neapolitan pizza, we conceptualised it and alajmisedit, paying attention to one feature above all: lightness, in every step».

Gabriele Zanatta