Newsletter 60 del 02 agosto 2019

Dear {{NOME}},

Pizza is acquiring more a more the role of a dish that offers us the possibility to share ideas, something that is hard to do with other dishes. This because its straight jacket, the disc of bread used as the canvas, is also its forte, a common denominator between north and south, between us and the rest of the world. Then everyone is free to create the best types of dough, to find more effective cooking procedures and seasonings.

As in the case of Ascoli Piceno, in Via Napoli 137, tel. +39.0736.45626. This is the location of La Scaletta owned by the three Petracci brothers, guided by talented, determined and ambitious Mirko Petracci. His journey is still far from complete. The summer menu, available until the 20th of September, includes fried delicacies - including Olive Ascolane, above all – special pizzas with the Gran’Aria dough and traditional pizzas, with a less extreme dough.

Mirko’s dream? Travelling around the world, outside of Italy where doing business is hard.

Paolo Marchi



Stone or cylinders? Better both, in the Augmented Stone Milling

Milling wheat into flour is the most ancient daily activity done by human beings. Over the millennia, the systems of milling have evolved, in search of the most efficient technologies to separate the starch component of the grain (endosperm) from the outside covering (rye). This until the use of stone mills and, since 1880, of metal cylinders currently very common.

The technology of milling with cylinders was the most efficient evolution from the Austrian-Hungarian system of production of flour called “mouture en infini”, with which there were numerous milling phases in a series of multiple stone mills, extracting over 80 intermediate products, with dozens of men manually pouring out the content. The final goal was to extract a flour that would be as white as possible. The passage from stone to cylinders was a turning point in the quality of the flour, because we moved from an average of 10% high-quality flour with stone mills, to over 70% high-quality flour with cylinders.

However, this improvement in the bread making features of the flour was also matched by a nutritional impoverishment of the cylinder-milled flour, compared to stone-milled flour. Today, the available milling technique is very advanced, however, recuperating the nutrients in everyday flours is once again important, and, ironically, the simple stone-milling is the less advisable road. If anything, because when you mill flours that follow the Italian law only with stone mills, you risk ruining them, because of the high temperatures that this kind of milling generates. These temperatures are much higher than 50°C, beyond which wheat proteins change, with a negative impact on their capacity of creating high quality gluten.

Hence the idea, and later the development, of the Augmented Stone Milling, a process that joins the pros of stone milling with those of milling with cast iron cylinders, producing flour that is rich in flavour and nutrients, like in the old days, but with the technological features of a modern flour. The advantages resulting from this new combination of stone milling and cylinder milling will be one of the topics to be covered during the classes at the Università della Farina which will start in the autumn.

Piero Gabrieli

Francesco Apreda’s Spezial Pizza at Divinity

Pizza with Potatoes, guanciale and fennel seeds by Francesco Apreda at Divinity in Rome (photo Alberto Blasetti)

After Carlo Cracco and Massimiliano Alajmo – just to mention some of the most famous and debated recent examples – Francesco Apreda joins the list of great chefs who offer a personal (not always canonical) interpretation of pizza in their more casual establishments.

However, the chef of Neapolitan origins has chosen to be rather faithful to tradition for Divinity, the restaurant and rooftop bar on the spectacular panoramic terrace of The Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel, on whose ground floor one can also find the new gourmet restaurant Idylio. Indeed, the menu aims for conviviality and simplicity, in a Mediterranean style, but not without some exotic influences that are so dear to the chef. Hence there’s space for “variations” on mozzarella, fish carpaccios and crustaceans, pasta dishes to be shared, fish and meat skewers cooked in the tandoori oven and then pizza, handed to Lorenzo De Bellis from Abruzzo. Or rather, the Spezial Pizza.

There are seven options divided into two types: round and “quadra”, square, inspired by the traditional Roman pizza, both cooked in an oven with rotating gas. Two different types of dough (semolafor the round pizza, whole wheat for the square one) but both fragrant and light, with rather classic toppings and not too elaborated, but made special by the “spicy” touch that is so dear to Apreda, who has returned from his experiences in India and Asia with an uncommon sensitivity for captivating and well-balanced spices.

So, we range from Margherita Speziale – round, with the delicious Spicy Bombay Mix created by the chef to finish the mozzarella and tomato topping – to “quadra” with Cherry tomatoes, ricotta, rocket and masala, in a lovely mix of Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean. You can order one each, or put the pizzas in the middle of the table, even in the lounge area, pairing them with a glass of bubbles or one of the signature cocktails by bartender Mirko Zaccaria. You’ll enjoy The Great Beauty of Rome from one of the best rooftops in the capital.

Luciana Squadrilli

Stingone’s interpretations of pizza Margherita at I Gastronauti, Lucera

One of Sabino Stingone interpretations of pizza Margherita 

In order to eat good pizza in Apulia, you don’t necessarily need to reach the very point of the heel. Among the good reasons for a stop – perhaps when you’re driving to the Caribbean-style beaches of Salento – Lucera, the ancient capital of the Daunia region, and a customhouse for transhumance, offers some excellent pizzas from Sabino Stingone.

Born in 1989, self-trained, he became a pizzaiolo at a young age, to save some money, and was gradually charmed by dough and fermentation. Today he offers his pizzas – and some nice platters of charcuterie and cheese from Daunia – in the narrow yet cosy rooms of I Gastronauti, his pizzeria in Via Garibaldi 103, tel. +39 389 1750994.

The dough is of the “evolved Neapolitan” kind, extremely light – though the dough weighs 300 grams, you can eat his pizzas very easily – with a large and airy edge, but without exaggerating, made from poolish and 00 flour, with a hydration that ranges between 75 and 85% depending on the climate.

There’s very little salt, and almost only local products – starting from tomatoes, dairy products and extra virgin olive oil only added after the baking – for the toppings, well thought over without seeking sensationalism. And while there’s place even for Mortazza – with fior di latte, mortadella di Bologna, basil, chopped pistachios, grated Parmigiano and extra virgin olive oil – the forte of the menu is the section dedicated to “La Margherita e le sue sorelle”, literally, Margherita and her sisters11 variations on the theme with an intelligent and intriguing use of tomatoes from Daunia – produced by organic farm Paglione, which also makes the extra virgin olive oil and many of the wines in the list – and local dairy products.

From the Classica to the delicious Prunill – with the intense tomato purée from the same local variety of tomatoes in contrast with the sweetness of the yellow tomatoes, basil, grated pecorino canestrato pugliese, and extra virgin olive oil – to the Margherita Pugliese with stracciatella, grated parmigiano, basil, extra virgin olive oil and semi-dry tomato (left to slowly whither in the sun, until it becomes meaty and concentrated): they’re all worth trying.


Pepero, that is to say when Pepe meets Pipero

Franco Pepe and Alessandro Pipero

One is focused, reserved, but now almost always ready to speak about his work and his territory. The other is an extrovert, histrionic, always ready to tell a joke – fun but wise, even when it’s in-your-face. They both know how to make their guests enjoy themselves as few others, and share a strong inclination for enjoying good food and making others enjoy it too. The event in Rome called Peperowas born out of friendship and out of fun. It had Franco Pepe and his pizzas (only the fried ones, for the occasion) hosted by Alessandro Pipero. Before and after, some dishes from chef Ciro Scamardella, all paired by rosé bubbles from Ruinart.

An evening with a high degree of carbohydrates, from Sensazione di Costiera to Viandante, with an appreciated preview of EstItalia – the new version of the now famous “fried cone” from Pepe filled with fondue of Grana Padano PDO 16 months, buffalo milk mozzarella from Campania, prosciutto, lyophilised basil and confit tomatoes – and finally a tasting of Pipero’s unrivalled carbonara.

...while Franco has become a Cavaliere della Repubblica

Franco Pepe with prefect Raffaele Ruberto and the mayor of Caiazzo Stefano Giaquinto. Photo from Enza Martinisi

Franco Pepe, a few days before the dinner-event mentioned above, was nominated Cavaliere al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, an honour given by the President of the Republic of Italy for the “merits offered to the Nation” in different fields. The prestigious award was given to the pizzaiolo from Caiazzo with a ceremony at Palazzo Quirinale officiated by President Sergio Mattarella, who “invested” the first pizzaiolo during his mandate. In the past, this happened to Raffaele Apicella, a restaurateur originally from Tramonti, whom Cossiga nominated Cavaliere, and Neapolitan Alfredo Forgione, nominated by Napolitano.

This is how Pepe commented on the title he received: «It’s a demonstration of respect, also to myself as a person. The Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana is the most prestigious honour and I’m immensely grateful to President Sergio Mattarella and to the members of the Council for having placed their trust in me. Trust, indeed, because it means not only acknowledging my previous activity, but also believing in my future work».

Contemporary pizza at Ossteria in Romagna

A pizza from Ciro Carbone at Ossteria: it’s topped with fried aubergines, smoked provola, roasted cherry tomatoes from Pachino and basil pesto 

Ciro Jonathan Carbone, born in Romagna in 1988, started to work right after finishing high school, working as an accountant for a theatre company. This is where he met Sergio Diotti, actor and husband of Emanuela Turroni, a restaurant woman who was running, together with her daughter and son in law, Osteria dei Frati in Roncofreddo. The three became friends, and started organising convivial evenings during which Ciro tried his hand with home-made pizza, which everyone appreciated. Hence when in 2016 they had the opportunity of taking over an osteria with a good electric oven for baking pizza in Savignano sul Rubicone – they named it Ossteria, a hint to the typical exclamation made by people in Romagna – Sergio and Emanuela convinced Ciro to create a menu with his pizza. At first, once a week.

Thanks to Ciro’s passion and commitment – supported and encouraged also by the friendship with Giovanni Santarpia – success arrived soon and today at Ossteria (Via Cesare Battisti 23/d, Savignano sul Rubicone, Forlì-Cesena. Tel. +39 0541 944939) you can find pizza every night, from Wednesday to Sunday, together with tagliatelle with ragù and meatballs, as well as more complex dishes such as Ricotta gnocchi with cream of ricotta, cherry tomatoes and basil pesto.

Carbone’s pizzas are based on a dough with “Giorilli” poolish (made with Petra 1 flour and brewer’s yeast) and a mix of Petra 3, Petra 9 and Petra 5020 flour (the latter is PiùRicca, made with type 0 flour with oats, rye and semolina), which has a long maturation and leavening in the fridge and at room temperature. The balls or dough are then rolled and presented in two ways: as “classic” pizzas, seasoned and cooked at the end of the oven, finishing them with some raw ingredients added at the end, if necessary.

And then there’s the pizze Speciali – or Contemporanee – which are rolled out less, and cooked more slowly, close to the entrance of the oven, so as to have a thicker but very light dough. They’re served already sliced, seasoned with more complex toppings to finish a white or red base.

Ciro makes great use of local and seasonal products. So, for instance, during the summer you can find pizza made with fior di latte and stir-fried peppers, pancetta from Mora Romagnola and Sicilian caciocavallo, or one with provola plus aubergines a funghetto, confit cherry tomatoes, cream of parmigiano and a light pesto of almonds and basil. But there are also pizzas you can find all year round, by explicit demand of the clients: for instance, pizza Contemporanea with fior di latte, cream of squacquerone di Romagna PDO form Mambelli, prosciutto crudo made with Mora Romagnola pigs and rocket: «It’s the typical filling used for piadina, but turned into a pizza», says Ciro who has joined the Alleanza dei cuochi e pizzaioli di Slow Food with Ossteria.


Pizza & truffle, a pairing worth discovering

Pizza and truffle from Pier Daniele Seu: Come una pennetta al salmone (con tartufo), that is to say truffle bechamel, smoked salmon, mimosa potatoes and truffle

Truffle all year round – in all its seasonal versions, from the precious White truffle to the summer Nero Scorzone – and most of all “in every dish”, not necessarily as a an emblem of elegant cuisine, but also of pizza, an emblem of conviviality and of democratic gastronomy.

This is, essentially, the message of Pizza On Tour created by Savini Tartufi, a Tuscan firm that has been working with truffles for 4 generations now, producing seven different species, all with specific features. They called 6 pizzaioli from north to south Italy to interpret them in as many legs of this unusual Road Show led by Cristiano SaviniEnzo Coccia in Naples, Massimiliano Prete in Torino, Giorgio Caruso in Milan, Renato Bosco in San Martino Buon Albergo, Pier Daniele Seu in Rome (in the photo) and Massimo Giovannini – in collaboration with Giovanni Santarpia and Tommaso Vatti – in Tuscany.