The pizza culture in Italy is enormous and filled with endless regional variations. While the Neapolitan pizza is Italy’s most famous pizza export, there are many other types of pizza that are enjoyed across the country. The pizza styles of Rome are second to none. From focaccia street food pizzas that are sold by the piece to round pizzas with a thin and crispy crust, Roman-style pizzas are a culinary powerhouse in themselves.
Historically, pizza in Rome was available in commercial bread ovens. These pizzas, called pizzette, were small and topped with simple ingredients like olive oil, cheese, and vegetables. Tomatoes, the iconic topping of most modern pizzas, wouldn’t be an ingredient until after the 18th century. These early pizzas were farmer’s dishes designed as a cheap and filling lunch, far from the artisanal treatment of many modern pizzas.
not as strict rules of Neapolitan pizza, Roman style pizzas don’t have the same strict rules. However, there is a distinct difference in batter between the two regional styles. Roman pizza dough has smaller air pockets (known as honeycombs) compared to neapolitanis and is cooked at a lower temperature. After all, there are two main variations of pizza in Rome – Pizza al Taglio and Pizza Romana Tonda.
With a thick, focaccia-like batter, Pizza al Taglio is ubiquitous in Rome. Cut into squares and sold in pieces, this type of pizza is affordable and enjoyed by all socio-economic classes from students to families to tourists. To prepare Pizza al Taglio, flatbread is prepared in large oblong bowls with various toppings. Some popular combinations are the ubiquitous margherita with fresh burrata cheese or mortadella. This style won Notoriety in the 1960s and has become the street food of Rome.
Round roman pizza
Although the Neapolitan is the most notorious round pizza in Italy, there is another round pizza that is incredibly popular in Rome – pizza romana tonda. This style was Originated in Rome in the 1950s and unlike pizza al taglio, pizza romana tonda is enjoyed in seated restaurants. There are some critical differences when compared to the Neapolitan style. For starters, the crust of the Neapolitan pizza is thick on the edge and gradually thins towards the center. Structurally, Neapolitan pizza is flabby with a soft and fluffy mouthfeel.
While Pizza Romana Tonda is round, the texture is completely different. First, the crust is the same thickness across the pizza with no noticeable crust, so the toppings can be filled to the brim. In contrast to the soft Neapolitan texture, Pizza Roman Tonda is crispy, which makes it easier to eat by hand compared to Neapolitan. This texture is achieved by adding olive oil to the batter. This added oil gives the Romana Tonda pizza a hearty flavor and resembles a thin crust American style pizza.
Pinsa – The other Roman pizza
Recently, another type of pizza has gained popularity in Rome – pinsa. Although similar to other types of thin Roman pizzas, pinsa batter is very different. Made from a combination of wheat, soy, and rice flour with lieito madre (a natural yeast used in sourdough bread), pina is lighter, fluffier, and easier to digest compared to standard pizza (according to Pinsa makers). In recent years, Pinsa restaurants have grown in popularity in Italy.
(From Chef Stefano Scotti of Donato Enoteca)
Growing up in the small town of Bergamo, Italy, Chef Donato Scotti had a childhood full of fresh, seasonal farm produce. As the Head Chef at Donato Enoteca in Redwood City, California, Scotti now uses that legacy to create his own style of contemporary Italian cuisine. The restaurant’s menu changes frequently, using artisanal ingredients, seasonal produce from the California farmers market, and authentic Italian hospitality. Scotti’s approach is to keep dishes simple and tasty and to let the ingredients speak for themselves. The menu features dishes from his homeland Lombardia, such as risotto milanese and ossobuco, all of which have been updated with a modern twist.
This Pinsa dough recipe is designed to be pre-baked and frozen for later use. To make a full pizza, simply add tomato sauce and toppings of your choice to the pre-baked pinsa batter and bake. Remember – this is a time-consuming recipe, but well worth the effort.
- 26 cups of pizza flour
- 4 tbsp soy flour
- 8 tbsp rice flour
- 8 tbsp primitive flour
- 8 tablespoons of farro flour
- .75 tsp yeast
- 2 1/3 tbsp salt
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 3 1/3 cups of cold water
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the flour and yeast for 3 minutes.
- Add 3/4 of the water for 3 minutes.
- Add small amounts of salt and olive oil and the rest of the water to the dough. Mix for 3-4 minutes. Wrap the dough and let it rest for 72 hours.
- Every 10-12 hours you need to fold the dough. Fold the dough: Spread it on a table and fold it several times. Return to a bowl to rest until 72 hours are up.
To prebake the crust:
- Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide the dough into 6-8 equal balls. Let rest for at least 3 hours.
- Stretch the dough into the desired pizza shape. One class of Pinsa Romana is shaped into an oval.
- Bake for 2-3 minutes. Let cool on a baking sheet, then freeze.
For pizza preparation:
- Remove the pizza from the freezer if desired. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Thaw the pizza for 3-5 minutes.
- Place the topping on the pizza.
- Bake for 4 minutes at 450 degrees. Serve when you’re done.