Newsletter 45 del 17 ottobre 2017

Dear {{NOME}},

The past few days we were at work with IG America. Like last year, this year too Chicago anticipated New York, while Boston followed like the cherry on the cake. It all happened between the 7th and 13th of October. Chicago is a truly intriguing metropolis, even when it comes to food. And contradictory too. On the one hand, you have the most innovative and surprising chefs of the entire world, but the creativity, however, does not show in the rich multitude of cuisines from around the world, as in New York. You have them here too, but the other side of the medal is in fact given by pizza, Chicago style, which is so rich in ingredients it’s very different from the Italian one.

We Italians must come to accept this: when on the banks of Lake Michigan they say they invented pizza, they’re not totally wrong. Just like we acquired ingredients from all parts of the planet, coffee, tomato and rice, just to name a few, and have enhanced them with our taste, style and palate, the same happened to pizza. They invented it in Naples, and many people across the world have done the same, by interpreting it with their heart and experiences. Each one has its own.

The same happened with pasta. There’s plenty in Italy, so we thought of focusing Identità Chicago 2017 on pasta and pizza. This was really the case, with eight protagonists, four Italians and four Americans, four chefs and four pizzaioli. Milanese Davide Oldani was back, together with Luciano Monosilio, already on the stage in Manhattan. Sarah Grueneberg returned as well. It was a debut, instead, for Sicilian brothers Saverio and Vittorio Borgia, the same establishment in two different towns, Milan and Palermo. Corrado Scaglione, from Campania but now working in Brianza worked on pizza, together with Fernando Darin arriving from Los Angeles and Sarah Minnick from Portland. All this to confirm that pasta and pizza don’t have a unique point of reference, not even in Italy.

And Corrado Scaglione continued the journey with us in New York. There’s no better example than facts, and concreteness.

Paolo Marchi


PizzaUp and

After the extraordinary edition in March dedicated to frying techniques for pizza, the awaited annual PizzaUp event, the technical gathering on Italian pizza organised by Università della Pizza returns. This year there’s a U turn on the theme of dough, so as to open a new debate on its recent evolution.

Kneading techniques are crucial tools for a pizzaiolo’s profession. Dough, more than seasonings, interprets pizza following the cultural rules typical of a territory.

A deeper knowledge of cereals, which are the main component of dough, is very useful in order to organise a complete palette of colours, flavours and aromas, and be aware of how important the rediscovery of forgotten Italian origins is for our environment and economy. 

But why original cereals? We often speak of "ancient wheat varieties". Unfortunately with a confusion amplified by the speedy and uncontrollable news circulating online. Calling ancient species and varieties that were born only one hundred years ago is a mistake. Monococco spelt is, for instance, a truly ancient wheat variety, because its origin dates back to the beginning of human civilization and its bread-making characteristics and nutritional features are truly different compared to modern tender wheat.

So it’s best to speak of "ORIGINAL CEREALS" to stress the origin and provenance of the ingredient, that is to say the elements that are really useful to define its sensorial and nutritional characteristics, as well as following its journey to consumption. We will do so at PizzaUp with representatives of academic research and the Italian agricultural world that looks at the future of our diet.

Piero Gabrieli

Discovering Petza’s pitze

Pecora, pizza with tomato, mozzarella, diced marinated sheep’s meat

Pizzeria, once the poor relative of restaurants – and we’re not even referring to fine dining! – is now an instrument that the latter use so that a larger public can have access to excellent products and the logic of a good restaurant offer. This is one of the possible interpretations of a young case history, that of Sa Scolla. A few days ago on we shared the words of Domenico Sanna, the great restaurant manager at S’Apposentu: «If we draw a circle of 30 km around Siddi, we’ll find no more than 2% of S’Apposentu’s guests. If we do the same with Sa Scolla, in nearby Baradili, instead, we’ll find 50%». Sa Scolla is Roberto Petza’s pizzeria (Via Santamargherita 15, Baradili, Oristano. Tel. +39 0783 95025), part of his Accademia (sa scolla means “la scuola” in Sardinian).

This is a necessary premise to present a restaurant opened on the 1st of July 2016 and immediately blessed with success, «we make at least 100-120 pizzas per day» says Stefano Lonni, pizzaiolo from Trescore Balneario in Bergamo, born in 1980. He arrived in Sardinia for love and he’s now the dominus of the oven, while chef Adriano Zucca is the one in the kitchen and Alessio Matzuzzi works in the dining room.

Lonni says: «In the past, I made classic pizzas. When I arrived here I had to change everything, focus on leavening, learn many things, discuss toppings with Zucca». The result is remarkable, both in terms of dough and seasoning: pizza at Sa Scolla has a dough «halfway between Naples and Rome, neither thick nor thin». Some 72 hours of leavening with mother yeast (brewer’s yeast is only used as a starter), 60% 00 flour, 20% multi-cereal, 10% whole wheat and the last 10% is semolina, a Sardinian touch.

The menu includes classic and seasonal pizzas and pitze, in which the topping is inspired by some of Petza’s most celebrated dishes: Pecora with tomato, mozzarella and diced marinated sheep’s meat, simply delicious; Caponata with tomato, mozzarella, aubergines, courgettes and peppers; Egg and potatoes with tomato, pancetta, egg cooked at low temperature, mousse of potatoes and crispy onions; Del macellaio with ox tongue, onions, chickpeas, ginger and lemon. All the ingredients for the toppings are local, starting from the tomatoes from the Sinis peninsula, «they’re like San Marzano. We don’t use anchovy from the Sea of Cantabria or Pata Negra, but local excellences». There are many.

Sa Scolla is only open in the evening, from Wednesday to Sunday, and in summer on Tuesdays too. It is so popular that there are replicas: there’s already a second pizzeria, and there will soon be a third one. The village has 84 residents, sixty live here: «We’ll basically become the place with the greatest percentage of pizzerias in the world».

Carlo Passera

Antonio Polzella, a summer of dough

Pizza Mirea by Polzella: the new version includes a dough with Petra 1, spirulina sea weed flour and Corvino cornflour

When you’re a master at making dough, you can have fun by “playing” a little. «Last year I played a lot with toppings, unearthing great artisanal products to season my pizza. This year, I focused mostly on dough, to present different types based on seasonality» says Antonio Polzella, born in 1973, from La Ventola in Vada (Li). At the latest Identità Milano congress he presented a special pizza with low fat, a lower content of carbohydrates compared to fibres and proteins and a low glycaemic index,  which Gambero Rosso in 2016 awarded as the Best gluten free pizza in Italy. In the past few months he pulled out different types of dough with lupins, ioquat, strawberries, spirulina sea weed…

He basically adds these elements to his classic dough (which includes Petra 1 and Petra 9 flour – the latter for the whole wheat version – mixed with flour from an ancient Tuscan wheat variety «which guarantees crispiness and a special aroma» as well as wheat from stone milled Tuscan rye, all with mother yeast), in varying percentages, so as to get the best result. «This allowed me to present pizzas in which the dough and topping are a perfect match. For instance, if the seasoning is with fish, the disc will have sea water, plankton and spirulina seaweed flour».

A nice idea. A few months ago we tasted a sweet-savoury pizza: the dough had melon essence, ricotta with melon pulp, fior di latte, burrata, Tuscan prosciutto and sage with melon, and before that the fantastic Mirea, dedicated to his daughter, with whole wheat dough with spirulina seaweed, plankton, organic quinoa and sea water; on top, fior di latte, onion from Certaldo, tuna from Isola d'Elba, yellow Piennolo cherry tomatoes, crispy capers from Salina and carrot sprouts (and then: the delicious version of Livorno’s 5 e 5 and the lovely Portoferraio with home made pesto, steamed octopus, nostraline olives, basil, Tuscan pine nuts and potatoes cooked under the embers).

There’s more: Polzella recently invented a dough with Corvino corn, one of the most ancient varieties, now rediscovered thanks to talented and young Carlo Maria Recchia in Formigara (Cremona). Polzella says: «Making dough with Corvino wasn’t easy; cornflour is grainy, it absorbs lots of water, it “closes up”. So I add flour (Petra 1) and use the dough with pizzas made with the shovel, because they require a higher hydration, so I can have 60% Corvino flour». It works perfectly in the Mirea version presented above, with organic oats instead of quinoa.


Savò, this is how they like it in Genoa

Scrocchiarella by Savò in Genoa

When you say Genoa, you think of oily and salty focaccia, perfect to dip in a hot cappuccino in the morning. But there’s someone in the capital of Liguria who stood out thanks to classic round pizza, cooked in the wood oven. We’re referring to Savò (Via al Ponte Calvi 16R. Tel. +39 010 8568593), gourmet pizzeria a few steps from the Aquarium. Marcello and his sister Arianna, both with professional experience that had nothing to do with restaurants, opened it in July 2015,

It’s a young place with modern and cosy furniture, large windows, colourful lights and an open view working top, where you can keep an eye on the pizzaioli led by Sardinian Giovanni Poddighe.

There’s just one type of dough made with Petra 1, Petra 5 and Petra 9 flour, salt, mother yeast and water, leavening some 24 hours between refrigerator and room temperature. Three types of pizza differ because of the different percentage of the main flour used in the dough: Classica, Gourmet (with more Petra 9 flour and an 85% hydration) and Nuvola (with 60% hydration).

While Gourmet is the most popular among clients, very crispy and fragrant and with a nice aroma, Nuvola stands out because it’s very thick, soft and very light, with a double leavening and cooked in a pan. The most popular? Gourmet pizza Via Emilia with San Marzano PDO tomato, Fior di latte PDO, Crudo di Parma matured 36 months, Apulian burrata, dry cherry tomatoes and rocket.

The menu doesn’t change because the people in Genoa are creatures of habit and come here to find their favourite pizza. However, the owners from time to time try to present something new thanks to the support of pizzaiolo Riccardo Scagnoli and introduce some new elements with scrocchiarella, very crispy, cooked in the oven with oil, salt and rosemary and cut in half and filled with prosciutto with ingredients of the best quality and balanced and interesting pairings.

Open at lunchtime and in the evening, seven days a week.

Tania Mauri

Da Zero the good of Cilento (also in Milan)

It all begins when three friends - Paolo De Simone, Giuseppe Boccia and Carmine Mainenti - decide to change life and make a common passion, pizza, and love for their land, Cilento, a new project that is pizzeria Da Zero. Today this brand has tree locations: in March 2017, the one in Milan (via Berardino Luini 9, tel. +39 02 83529189) was added to the two initial locations in Cilento, Vallo della Lucania and Agropoli. Out of the three promoters only De Simone has been working for years in the world of pizza (multifunctional shop Storie di Pane, also in Cilento was his idea). He’s the one taking care of the dough, a blend of flour to which he adds a wheat grain cultivated in Prevetelupo, in Vallo della Lucania, sea salt, a little yeast and plenty of water (68/70% hydration). After 48 hours the pizza is baked in the oven at 380/400°C, has a moderate edge and is light and crispy.

But their strength is the products they brought from the South, from the magnificent territory of Cilento, the home of the Mediterranean Diet as described by scientist Ancel Keys who studied and lived here for over 40 years. Raw materials are selected one by one by with the involvement of producers who are made an essential part of the project; unique products such as caciocavallo podolico, muzzarella co 'a murtedda (put in the myrtle leaves), anchovies from Menaica, white figs, dried olives, Casalbuono beans, Palinuro's tuna, onions from Montoro and Vatolla, Piennolo cherry tomatoes, pappacella napoletana, PDO oil, goat cheese form Cilento, white artichoke from Pertosa or soppressata from Gioi.

Every pizza is an expression of the territory, from Cilentana with Cilentan sauce "Capacidad Maida", cacioricotta from Cilentana goat and basil, Menaica with buffalo mozzarella, yellow date tomatoes, anchovies from Menaica and basil, as well as fried pizza, small frittatas, arancini, crocchè and "gerardate", parmigiana with aubergines or potatoes assembled on the spot.

Enjoy a unique experience that portrays a territory through its flavours.


Fine dining on a crispy pizza in Treviso

In the nice historic centre of Treviso there’s pizzeria La Finestra (Via Diaz, tel. +39 0422 411292), born in 2013 thanks to the happy intuition of Andrea Tarolo, for 30 years in the restaurant industry, who decided to give an innovative slant to his place. Here the art of pizza blends with the kitchen, which takes care of processing the raw materials that are later assembled in a magical balance on the pizza. Nothing is left to chance, first of all the selection of high quality local product and flavours, prepared with the best techniques in an elaborate and always innovative style (for instance, they smoke the salmon themselves, and the same applies to ceviche).

They do a great job with dough, of two types: the first, indirect, with Petra 1 flour for the poolish and Petra 5 for the second phase (and a little Petra 9); the second, 100% whole wheat and only Petra 9 flour. The double leavening in the 24 cm pan and the steam cooking guarantee high digestibility and a crispy bread; this is well matched with the topping, which changes every two months, following the seasons (in the autumn, for instance, they present porcini cooked with garlic, oil and parsley and Sauris pork jowl and chanterelle mushrooms with speck cooked at low temperature and mountain bitto). Pizzas are topped most often after the baking. The offer is completed by Belgian, English and Italian craft beers. The wine list only includes small and biodynamic producers. Albanian Ricky Ritvan is the pizzaiolo. For the past three years he’s been working with Tarolo in this new, thrilling adventure.

This pizzeria with kitchen also has a nice and elegant location with a patio outdoor for summer nights. A sort of open-sky courtyard as an alternative to the two rooms inside.


When Pepe was only Franco

Franco Pepe in a photo from Californian website The Taste SF which carefully follows the best of what Italy has to offer from San Francisco. The pizzaiolo from Caiazzo, having already worn his apron on the stage of Identità di Pizza 2014 in Milan, is explaining and preparing his most famous pizza, Margherita sbagliata (photo

Franco Pepe, 54 though it doesn’t show, is now the number one pizza chef in the world and it’s easy to envy him and his Pepe in grani in Caiazzo, Caserta. If one were to take his place, however, he’d have to relive his first steps as well, or it would be too easy, and meaningless. Some memories will make you envious, like that time when he auditioned for a part in a film with Dalila Di Lazzaro and as an extra, he ended up taking the part of Jesus on the cross. Other memories are the result of lots of dreams and little money, like the summers spent in Rimini selling lifebuoys to mothers with children or the temp job at the post office. And not just any ordinary office, perhaps in Caiazzo, but in Milan’s Stazione Centrale.

«These contracts lasted three months. I’d work at night, in the station’s tunnels, unloading sacks of letters from the wagons. So as to avoid wounds, you had to avoid magazines, as they were tied with sharp laces. I slept during the day, and basically lived without seeing daylight. It was hard. There were bad people there. When wagons containing valuables arrived, there were security guards, so it was fine. Otherwise, it was best not to be alone. But there were special nights too. Sometimes they would film and light up some corner, as if it were daytime. One night, Celentano arrived. So energetic. When two years ago at Identità he presented the encyclopaedia of the 100 most important chefs, we were in the same station and I thought about where I was then, and where I am now. All my life passed in front of my eyes»...

Paolo Marchi

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A completely renewed Massimo Bosco

«About time» said the people from Massimo Bosco’s town when he reopened his pizzeria panetteria Bosco (Via Vittorio Veneto 4 in Tempio Pausania. Tel. +39 079 632494) in August. Renewed and embellished, it seats 40 people in the winter and 60 in the summer, with the porch outside. About time, I agree: because it wasn’t possible to make such a good pizza and don’t have a suitable place where you can calmly taste it. Be it at lunchtime, from the tin, or at dinner, when there’s also the round, by the shovel version, today those coming from afar – and there are many – can be served and eat at the table, together with an excellent beer.

The place has warm colours, in a calm and nice setting, with music in the background – and no television – and lots of kindness, «we still have wi-fi but only because clients want it… - says Bosco – The town, however, felt the need for a place like this and I had to renew myself, find new stimuli so as to improve again and again. The pizza offer is the same: baked in the tin at lunchtime, and in the tin, or round, in the evening. Plus bread all day, from the morning (with the pizza). The menu is classic. I only use seasonal and local products (where available) but I also use ingredients people bring from the places where I teach, for instance from Switzerland, Denmark or Norway, which I then present on my specials».

In fact, his pizzas are not that classic, as you can easily note from his pizza with fior di latte, rolled pancetta from Berchidda, pecorino sardo, flowers and cherry tomatoes, or the one with fior di latte, pistachio sauce, mortadella, porcini and crushed pistachios.

«We make the desserts, and they follow either Italian tradition, like tiramisù or crème caramel, or Sardinian tradition, like the fried raviolo typical of Gallura filled with ricotta and orange zest and served with honey or orange sauce. I also included a list of amari and home-made digestifs, like cedrino, licorice, artichoke and white myrtle made with white berries» ends the “partigiano del gusto”.

Between a course and a collaboration, a pizza and a new shape of bread, a sleepless night spent experimenting new products and a discussion with local authorities on the theme of parking places, it looks like Bosco has found a little serenity in his constantly anarchic personality. This of course can only further increase the quality of his small baked masterpieces.


This is how Gabriele Bonci landed in Chicago

It could have looked like a risky step, bringing pizza in the city of the other pizza, let’s call it this way, Chicago... Gabriele Bonci however did not hesitate and on the 15th of August he arrived in America with his famous Roman-style pizza al taglio. It was an important step, made together with partners Rick Tasman and Chakib Touhami, who have a long experience in the catering industry, and decided to give total freedom to the Michelangelo of pizza even on American soil, where they presented a format similar to the one in his historic pizzeria Pizzarium in Via della Meloria in Rome. The restaurant, 130 square metres seating only a few people, is in the West Loop with the white and brown Bonci logo dominating on top and a long counter where you’re really spoilt for choice.

In order to learn to make a crispy and light pizza on the outside, yet soft and bubbly inside, perfect to be filled, and supplì as commanded by tradition, the American “cousins” underwent a long training at Pizzarium Roma and then tested the product in Chicago, with Bonci and his closest collaborators, before opening in August. So in Illinois too there’s an accurate choice of raw materials, Italian (flour, mozzarella, many cured meats and extra virgin olive oil) and American (especially vegetable fresh from local farms, 'nduja from Nduja Artisans or porchetta from the guys at West Loop Salumi). The points of reference are the same: small organic or biodynamic producers, respect for seasons and successful pairings already tested for years in Italy, as with the pizza with roast potatoes or the classic Margherita.

If this was meant to be a start up to arrive in America, given the long queues forming each day outside, we dare say this is only the beginning of a new fantastic adventure.

Bonci Usa
161 N Sangamon Street, Chicago, IL, USA
Tel. +1 312-243-4016


Contaminations for a just cause

A souvenir photo for those who cooked at Contaminazioni di pizza on the 31st July 2017 at Apogeo in Pietrasanta, in Versilia. Left to right, master pizzaioli Franco Pepe, Renato Bosco, Giovanni Santarpia, Graziano Monogrammi, host Massimo Giovannini and finally Paolo Pannacci. Below, in the middle, Tania Mauri and Paolo Vizzari

That Monday night, two months ago in Pietrasanta, Versilia, was a special night. And not just because six pizzaioli cooked together, with an oven inside and a second one in the garden. What was special was the reason that on the 31st of July led them to Massimo Giovannini’s Apogeo: raising funds for charity Tutte giù per terra promoted by Francesca Martinengo who wrote on the back of the menu: «#tuttegiuperterra is not just a hashtag. For me it’s a good luck word, for us it’s a watchword. My name is Francesca and I suffer from genetic spastic paraparesis. I don’t know why, perhaps it was karma, perhaps I was tarnished with the most horrible nasty action in a previous life. So basically, for some unknown reason, a gene in my DNA changed so that I suffer from this rare disease that gradually stiffens the muscles in my legs».

Contaminazioni di pizza was held in Via Pisanica 136 which is not easy to find in fact because despite being close to the motorway toll, and you can see it clearly, the restaurant, the park and the parking place, you have to take a side road and then…

Paolo Marchi​

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