I don’t remember when and where I’ve eaten my first pizza, but the memory of the best one is still fresh. This pizzeria, which name I’ve sadly lost, was in Milan, somewhere around The Central Station, and it looked very much like Antica Trattoria Della Pessa. Looking at the pictures, I would mean this was the one, but they seem to not serve pizza or the desserts I recall. The tables were placed so tight together, that the waiter seemed to twirl and turn on his toes while caring plates and taking orders. His slim, black-and-white silhouette reminded me in a strange, striking way of my music teacher in primary school. Merging seamlessly with the dark wood of the furniture, with the perfect white, starched table linen, he would skillfully push the wheeled, dark-shellacked-wood dessert cart around, then when his busy tasks allowed. The “prosciutto crudo e ruccola” was my all-time favorite: a crisp, thin perfection, its edges spotted with dark blisters, like-freshly-cooked-milk-tasting, slightly-melted mozzarella, sheer slices of prosciutto, tasting deep, dark, intensive, and the freshest and wholly-flavored ruccolla piled on top of it.
What makes a pizza a pizza? Countless articles opinionate about tips and tricks on the best of crusts, for which you can use various receipts. Flat-breads, like tortillas and naan, traditional simple pizzas, or deep-dish, Chicago-style pizzas. You cannot go wrong if you’ll find durum flour for the dough and sprinkle it with the olive oil. Listen to Sophia Loren and don’t ignore to work it hard: “Knead it, hit it as if it was an enemy, punch it on the pastry board–so it would get really soft.” Half an hour long. Maybe you have the luck of possessing a well-heated wooden-fire stone oven, but if not, you can trick your stove with two brick stones, or you can buy a pizza stone for your home oven.
If food altogether evolves and changes with our way of life and degree of progress, pizza is one companion we cannot even imagine missing, no matter how it’s manufactured. It may kill us–in a long-term, as same as overconsumption of burgers and fries, or it stays a healthy, uncomplicated meal, also a chance to be creative, share and enjoy with friends.
In Italy, friends would often share a simple pizza Marinara as an appetizer, while waiting for their orders to come.
You will find more about the togetherness power of pizza in this story I’ve recently read in Molly O’Neill’s One Big Table. A couple living in an old revitalized farm in Vermont prepares once a week a “naked pizza” for friends and friends-to-be. They would prepare the dough, lots and lots of it, also plates and bowls with roasted peppers and ham and cheese and tomatoes, and people would come, bring more toppings, and prepare their own pizza. Dancing and partying.
Nonetheless, pizza could also be a fast, effective comfort-food, even if you’re not a skilled cook. Like this one:
Would you like to try this? Please print it here.