Culinary journey to Rome
Pizza with a difference: Recipe for a Pinsa Romana with tomatoes and mozzarella
Have you ever eaten a pinsa? If not, it’s time. Sourdough not only makes the oval alternative to pizza more digestible, it also ensures a unique dough consistency: fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, pinsa rivals pizza.
A fine flatbread, smeared with an aromatic sauce, topped as you like and baked crispy – no, we’re not talking about the world-famous pizza here. At first glance, the pinsa looks confusingly similar to a pizza, but if you take a closer look, you will see that from the point of view of preparation, the pinsa is fundamentally different from the classic pizza. The result: A deliciously aromatic dough, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and still easy to digest. If you like pizza, you will like Pinsa.
Is it from ancient Rome? The myths about the origin of the pinsa
Good marketing is just as important as good taste – this is what Corrado Di Marco, inventor of the Pinsa, also thought. The Italian has been selling the Italian specialty in his company near the Italian capital Rome since the early 1980s.
“A dish with tradition,” is how Di Marco praises his pinsa. The production of the dough is said to go back to ancient Rome, the name “pinsa” comes from the Latin term “pinsere” and refers to the traditional way of preparation. “Pinsere” means “to crush” – at that time the Romans are said to have crushed grains such as barley, millet and spelt and mixed them with herbs and salt into a dough. The history of the Pinsa certainly sounds authentic, but Di Marco has now admitted that he made up the origin story of his Pinsa in order to sell the product better. The rumor that this is an ancient Roman dish persists to this day. It doesn’t matter, we think – after all, the Italian dish tastes a little better with a little mental cinema. Who doesn’t love to eat like the ancient Romans did?
Pinsa vs. Pizza – What’s the difference?
While the pizza makes do with flour, water and yeast, a real flour repertoire is used for the pinsa: A mixture of rice, wheat and soy flour as well as sourdough ensures the unmistakable dough consistency. While rice flour makes the dough light, soy gives strength. The sourdough ultimately makes the pinsa easily digestible and ensures a fluffy structure. Yes – the choice of ingredients already shows that the good Pinsa definitely cannot come from ancient Rome.
A good amount of water is added to the flour, and then the dough happily ferments. Unlike pizza dough, the pinsa dough rises for up to 72 hours – it expands and opens like a balloon. This preparation step is essential and must not be missed under any circumstances, after all only the long fermentation time makes the pinsa easy to digest. If the dough has survived the resting time, it is carefully pulled apart with your hands into an oval flatbread to keep the air inside. The Pinsa is also usually baked in small metal pans – but don’t worry, a sheet pan will do.
A multi-layered pleasure
When it comes to toppings, you’re spoiled for choice with the Pinsa – just like the pizza, the Pinsa achieves versatility, but has much more to offer in this regard. There are three classic variants: the red pinsa, prepared with a tomato sauce and ingredients of your choice, is the most common. Thanks to the aromatic dough, you don’t need many toppings: Ripe tomatoes, some mozzarella and fresh basil are all you need and make the pinsa a real treat.
Since the dough of the pinsa is best “bianco” – that is, white, without any tomato sauce – it makes sense to use light creams based on pesto, ricotta or pistachio instead of tomato sauce. It keeps the flatbread nice and moist and, in combination with contrasting ingredients such as pear, walnuts and honey, ensures a taste experience. Last but not least, the pinsa is also used as a dessert. Spread thick with nut nougat cream, topped with chocolate chips, fresh fruit like sliced bananas, strawberries and pineapple, the Pinsa is a dream come true for anyone with a sweet tooth. So – immerse yourself in the world of pinsa and let yourself be inspired by the wide variety of preparation options.
Recipe for two pinsa romana with tomatoes and mozzarella
- 175 grams of wheat flour, type 405
- 25 grams of wholemeal spelled flour
- 25 grams of rice flour
- 25 grams of soy flour
- 2 grams of dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ onion
- 200 grams peeled tomatoes (canned)
- 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
- salt and pepper
- 1 handful of fresh basil
- 1 ball of mozzarella
- Olive oil for drizzling
- freshly ground black pepper
- Mix the wheat, spelt, rice and soy flour with the dry yeast. Add 300 milliliters of cold water, salt and olive oil and knead for at least five minutes until you have a smooth dough.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, kneading briefly every ten minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 48 hours.
- Remove from the fridge two hours before serving and bring to room temperature.
- For the tomato sauce, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Pour into a tall container.
- Add the peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper and puree with the stick blender.
- Slice the mozzarella, wash the basil and shake dry.
- Sprinkle the work surface with some rice flour.
- Divide the dough into two pieces, form two balls and roll out into oval flatbreads.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees circulating air.
- Place the flat cakes on baking sheets lined with baking paper, top with tomato sauce and mozzarella and bake for about twelve minutes one after the other.
- Drizzle the finished pinsa with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh pepper and serve garnished with basil.