Newsletter 42 del 04 aprile 2017

Dear {{NOME}},

The latest edition of Identità di Pizza in Milan three weeks ago, but also lots of travelling around the world, confirmed my opinion that Naples is a prisoner of that masterpiece the entire world admires and envies: her majesty Margherita. On the one hand it is perfectly right to be proud of oneself and of what you make, on the other, though, this should not limit one’s creativity. I sometimes feel everything must necessarily go through Margherita, as if we’d reduce everything to Risotto allo zafferano in Milan and to Carbonara in Rome.

I believe that the fact one has created legendary dishes should be felt as a stimuli to create more, without ending up just venerating them. Veneration is good as a flag to show, as a page in history. Neapolitan Gennaro Nasti for instance, is successful in Paris with his Bijou because he goes beyond what’s known. He puts himself to the test, in front of the French, and challenges them by going beyond the borders of our tradition. On planet pizza there must be space also for those who have different horizons and want to take a different path. The palate is to judge, without letting the veneration of Margherita influence you. Unless you’re participating in a world contest dedicated to the latter.

Paolo Marchi


The journey of a bread roll from taste to the web

Why was Bread Religion a success right from its first edition in 2013? Because for the first time a team of “starred” chefs, bread makers, musicians, food writers and dough experts met in a square, sharing their common idea of a simple, good and healthy diet that becomes a popular gastronomic experience made of food, local based culture and popularisation from a stage where music and cooking were combined. A proof that the message is current and that the means (a bread roll) is very popular was given this year by the Bread Religion event created within Petra’s area at Identità Golose Milano. During 3 days 26 chefs, pizza chefs, bread and pastry makers served over 4000 sweet and savoury rolls (made live by Roberta Pezzella in the Forno di Mapamapetra created behind the area with the main sponsors). They accepted to take part with their filling so as to tell their relationship with travelling, the theme desired by Paolo Marchi for the 2017 congress (at this link you can find the photos of all 26, and those of their bread rolls).

The appreciation of visitors to this event and its content is proven by the echo on social networks (especially Twitter) where according to Social Reporters the Petra Molino Quaglia brand led in terms of activity and number of retweets. An important success for the visibility of the 27 professionals who, through a bread roll, explained to the audience their daily commitment to make a better and natural cuisine.

Piero Gabrieli

Praise to democratic pizza

What’s the current status of pizza? Piero Gabrieli of Molino Quaglia explained this to us when opening the eleventh edition of Identità di Pizza at Identità Milano 2017: «Today pizza represents first of all what it has always been, a popular and simple food, accessible to all. Its great plus is that it’s easy to consume: you don’t have to explain what it is. This event within the congress aims to explain the developments in the world of pizza, something we already do with the monthly newsletter».

A democratic pizza, that is, but which evolves and transforms itself, it becomes the result of journeys and contaminations from north to south, from east to west, in Italy as well as abroad: there’s no longer just one way of making pizza. Today we have different styles and experiences that meet and renovate one another, sharing the same goal of making good and healthy food.

Fermentations, high digestibility and a strong attention to nutrients: these are the topics covered by the more and more competent pizzaioli and by “scientists” sometimes supported by nutrition experts or fine dining chefs. But also careful to make sure that pizza is, in the words of Gabrieli, essentially a good, simple and tasty food without ever allowing dietary needs to penalise flavour.

Finally, pizza is a convivial dish uniting people, not just guests but also those who make it every day, as revealed by the friendships that are being born between pizzaioli, due to affinities or because they were "separated at birth". We had many proofs of this at Identità di Pizza.
(All content on Identità di Pizza at Identità Milano 2017 by Tania Mauri, translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso. Photos by Brambilla-Serrani)

The contaminations of Prete and Crippa

Piedmont was the meeting point between Enrico Crippa, from Brianza, chef at Piazza Duomo, and Apulian Massimiliano Prete, pizzaiolo at Gusto Divino in Saluzzo and at Gusto Madre in Alba, where they have both been successfully working for some time now. Their meeting became a friendship and a “collaboration” based on respect and praise, which led them to play with fermentation and leavening, ease of digestion, flavour and different textures. This is how the Contaminazioni di gusto pizza, a journey across Italy, was born: on a soft Ligurian style focaccia with a dough made with turnip tops, they place a base of 'nduja, then a bed of burrata, a spring onion open and cooked in a vacuum pack holding a marinated egg in the middle, finished with primulas, sorrel, powdered turnip tops. All this is served on baking paper with an onion broth on the side, so you can rinse your mouth. This was paired with Franciacorta Brut Contadi Castaldi.

Corrado Scaglione’s Sensazione

Corrado Scaglione of Enosteria Lipen defines himself as a sculptor of flour, as his ability is that he can transform it into something concrete like a sculpture, pizza, in this case, a disc of dough that grows and evolves. Specialised in Neapolitan pizza «the source of every evolution of pizza, a pizza with a strange life because Naples is the result of the contamination of many a people», he presents a craveable Sensazione, a mix of simplicity and territory given by few elements, in which to the Neapolitan-style dough (flour, water, salt and mother yeast) he adds Piennolo tomatoes, lardo from Arnad, buffalo milk mozzarella and, to complete, fried and crispy onion from Tropea and fresh dill for a bitter finish. This was paired with Alta Langa 2010 Brut Brandini. He finishes with a surprising shortcake made with Petra 3 enriched with a mousse of caramelised buffalo milk mozzarella and candied lemon.

Classic or gourmet? Gennaro Nasti’s double

Gennaro Nasti learns from the cooking of the great chefs in Chicago, then continues in Paris, the homeland of haute cuisine. Here, in the span of a few years, he opened two restaurants, first Popine and then Bijou. He uses Petra 9 flour for his dough and presented two recipes at Identità di Pizza which recall the style of his restaurants. In the first, the classic Neapolitan pizza stands out, in the second, the standards are raised with the support of chef Marco Di Martino, ex Ducasse, so as to present a real gourmet pizza. On the stage, therefore, he presented as many examples of his pizzas: Margherita, with overcooked tomato, as in the traditional Neapolitan ragout, and pizza Da Napoli a Parigi, in which French and Neapolitan traditions meet: the topping is made of a mousse of spicy foie gras, burrata, a paté of olives from Caiazzo and a refreshing olive oil aromatised with lemon. This was paired with Trento Doc Maximum Rosé Cantine Ferrari.

Antoniolo and (healthy) pizza finger food

Eating and feeling good, nourishing and enjoying yourself. These are the strong points of Riccardo Antoniolo of pizzeria Ottocento Simply Food in Bassano del Grappa, where he presents dough with Petra type 2 flour and germinates, rich in fibres. Tasty and beautiful pizzas that can work as finger food pizza, both vegetal and balanced: the dough is put inside a metal ring for 4 hours at controlled temperature, then turned upside down and baked in the oven, then chilled and cut out. On this base, using a pastry bag, he adds a cream of beetroot and Jerusalem artichoke, very rich in iron, then chickpea hummus, fermented beetroot, pasteurised lemon zest and pecans. On the second pizza he presents a dough with 100% spelt flour, rich in carotene, on which he places a purée of broccoli from Bassano, blanched flowers of white broccoli, a filet of trout marinated in salt and coconut sugar for 36 hours, broken flax seeds, oil and pepper.

Read also: Buono e sano: la lezione di Antoniolo, by Carlo Passera

Caruso: Neapolitan, but in Lombardy’s style

Giorgio Caruso, young patron at pizzeria Lievità in Milan took us on a journey across space and time. He presented two traditional Neapolitan pizzas with a gourmet take that tell his story in just a few, simple ingredients: the first clearly hints at the origins of the pizzaiolo from Campania, with a “light” dough made with Petra 1 flour, a thick edge and a “special effect” topping of cream of mussels, San Marzano tomatoes, fiordilatte from Agerola and lemon zest; the second is the result of a careful and curious research of what he discovered in Lombardy, where he adds some excellent gorgonzola, crispy radicchio and a plum reduction to a whole wheat dough made with Petra 9 flour. This was paired with Alta Langa Rosé Contessa Rosa

Ciro Salvo, enchanting tradition

Ciro Salvo, born in the business, patron at pizzeria 50 Kalò in Naples takes us on a journey across simplicity and the origins of pizza, presenting two “banal” Margherita and Marinara, «two pizzas that represent Italian excellence in the world and enhance the dough. Seemingly simple, in fact it’s very hard to make them delicious». Dough, skills and cooking are the gifts of a pizzaiolo according to Salvo, who enchants the audience with the aromas and colours of his soft and never crispy pizzas, as per Neapolitan tradition, as well as with his words portraying art and knowledge, the spreading of the verb and the opening of new roads that will lead to a pizza that will be easier to digest, but without upturning its identity.

Evolving Naples with Vesi Sr. and Jr.

Giuseppe and Simone Vesi, father and son, fourth generation of pizzaioli, patrons of the two Pizzagourmet pizzerias in Naples, presented their pizza, rooted in Neapolitan tradition yet at the same time evolving through the necessary change that makes the dough healthier and easier to digest. A new dough with type 1 flour, very hydrated, with 48 hours of leavening, 18 hours of poolish and the use of semolina for the “powdering” and, later, the baking. Supporters of Slow Food and local products, they top the white disc with yellow tomatoes from Vesuvius, buffalo milk mozzarella from Campania PDO and basil, paired with bubbles from Ferrari Maximum Rosé. Just a few ingredients but lots of taste and flavour in this pizza soon to arrive in Milan too.

Sarah Minnick’s unusual technique

It’s a short step from gelato to pizza. Lovely Fifty Fifty (once gelato-shop, now pizzeria) has pizzaiola Sarah Minnick from Oregon at work. She chose to work only with a few, possibly very local, organic producers. Farmers give her the best tips on seasonal products so as to enhance the flavour and colour of her pizzas (see Paolo Marchi’s piece: The origins of Minnick’s pizza). Her technique is unusual: she mixes all the ingredients together, including the cheese (Grana Padana and Italian and American cheese) so as to have a more homogenous cooking. She presented a "fake pesto” pizza with a dough made with organic American flour (the portion of dough is 400 grams because the pizza is meant for two) seasoned with spinach, asparagus, peas, butter, salt and herbs that recall the green colour and the flavour of the famous sauce from Liguria. It looks very nice but perhaps it’s something very different from what we’re used to eat with pizza. For this occasion she was assisted by an exceptional professional, maestro Franco Pepe, recently back from Portland. The pizza was paired with Franciacorta 61 Rosé Berlucchi.

Renato Bosco: fruit topping!

The day at Identità di Pizza ended with pizza-researcher Renato Bosco, the famous pizzaiolo from Verona who defines pizza as a journey of the senses as well as an instrument for growth and creativity. In order to reinforce this vision, break the rules and give value to every shape of food, he presented three different pizzas: Fish&Chips, double crunch where he uses fried bananas instead of the potatoes; Take Hawaii, double crunch with marinated pineapple carpaccio, mustard, lemon zest, smoked cooked ham and burrata; and Marghe-Tira, a round Margherita with peeled kiwi sauce instead of the tomatoes. A simple provocation or a new direction? There’s only one way to get rid of the doubt: try these and the other pizzas in the two new places Bosco is about to open in Verona: Saporè Stand Up, crunch, double crunch and take away panini, and Saporè Downtown, pizza tasting place seating 70 people.

Antonio Polzella and the dough that does you good

It’s everybody’s dream, or at least the dream of many people: pizza that is not only tasty and healthy but which you can also eat with no regrets because it’s not too high in calories and glycaemic index (which creates problems especially for those on a diet or who suffer from diabetes). This dream can now come true, thanks to the work of a pizzaiolo from Tuscany. Antonio Polzella spoke at Identità Milano 2017 within Identità Naturali. You can taste his pizza – including the gluten free type – at La Ventola in Vada (Livorno), a place his parents opened 41 years ago. In fact, he wanted a different career, but breaking up with his school sweetheart and a pizzaiolo course he attended to get distracted brought him home. Since then he’s been working with pizza with great passion and care, receiving important awards such as the Campionato Mondiale di Pizza in Salsomaggiore Terme in 2004. This, however didn’t stop him from studying.

He’s always been careful to make healthy, easy to digest pizzas, mostly topped with local produce and Slow Food Presidia – without neglecting excellences such as San Marzano tomatoes or fiordilatte from Cilento. Now, thanks to the collaboration with food educator Federico Calzolari, he’s determined to make a pizza that can be suitable also to those who have to lose weight or have glycaemia issues.

Luciana Squadrilli

Matteo Aloe’s Cosmopolitan Pizza

Another pizzaiolo, on top of Polzella, participated in Identità Naturali. Berberé’s pizza is made with the heart. It’s dough is equally good from Castel Maggiore to London but it’s also ready to be contaminated by different ideas and flavours. Through a video, Matteo Aloe presented the 5 restaurants he opened with his brother Salvatore and young collaborators form all around the world, from Naples to Bangladesh, from Milan to Albania. On the stage, together with pizzaiolo Massimo Giuliana, he presented two pizzas that sum up their “journey of pizza”: Bangladesh made with some collaborators (with spicy potatoes, chicken, onion and fresh spinach) and the one hinting at the origins of the Aloe brothers, from Calabria, with tomato, ‘nduja and pecorino from Crotone. A spicy, tasty and healthy journey: 90% of the ingredients used in the pizzeria are organic.

Luciana Squadrilli

Superstar women at Università della Pizza

On Thursday 16th March, a trip to Vighizzolo d’Este (Padua) close to the Colli Euganei, the headquarters of Molino Quaglia. Less than one thousand inhabitants, hamlets included. The village is dominated by the tower bell of the main church and the mill itself, the new one, as the old one, on the other side of Via Roma, is small-medium sized. Here the Quaglia family created Università della Pizza, a place for courses, conferences and tastings.

A couple of weeks ago the winter session ended with a final tasting of pizzas created, made and baked by the students. The jury included, on top of myself, also Corrado AssenzaMassimiliano PreteCarmine Nasti and Piero Gabrieli. The topic: Spring, which Assenza and Prete even interpreted masterfully at the beginning of the evening. Then there were a dozen students, a couple making their very first pizza, divided into groups of 2 or 3 as with the three pizzaioleLorenza RussoMarianna Poggese and Stefania Pulliero.

In the end, the most appreciated pizza was in fact theirs, designed by all and called Campo fiorito thanks to some flowers in the middle of the serving dish, but not on the single slices. It was made by two of them alone, as Russo had to return to Pescara to prepare the station for the following day. Her colleagues, before putting the dough in the oven, brushed it with a cream of basil (I would have preferred it if it was stronger) and covered in slices of caciotta from Monti Lessini. Once out of the oven, they added asparagus from Badoere, both green and white, prosciutto from Montagnana and sunflower honey.

One important note: both were making the first serious pizza in their career as pizzaiole, a journey they’re basically starting now. We were all surprised. Last year Poggese graduated in Restaurant sciences and technologies in Milan («Following the success of Masterchef, 300 people had enrolled at first, but before graduating 200 dropped out»). With her fiancé she decided to open a pizzeria in Verona. Pulliero instead, comes from Mirano (Venice) where she recently took over an old trattoria with her husband Mauro, a couple of years ago, transforming it into a pizzeria. Two beautiful stories.