Pinsa Romana is just beginning to be discovered outside of Italy. It is an ancient Roman pizza that has been reinterpreted over time with new ingredients and modern techniques. It is a lighter, healthier version of the beloved Italian pizza. Pinsa comes from the Latin word “pinsere,” which means to stretch or to spread.
The original recipe comes from an ancient product made among the rural populations living outside the walls of Rome. They made a kind of focaccia or flatbread grinding grains like millet, barley and spelt and then adding salt and herbs. The traditional recipe has been revisited over the centuries.
Corrado Di Marco, a pizzaiolo in Rome, is widely considered the founder of today’s Pinsa Romana. During the 1970s he began his research with more than 2,000 fermentation experiments and strict application of the scientific method. In 1981, he introduced the Pizzasnella, a mix of wheat and soy-based flours that produced a pizza with a long leavening time, without added fats or sugars. Then in his own laboratory he produced the first Pinsa Romana in 2001, in which rice flour and mother dough were added to the wheat and soy flours to produce the oblong-shaped flatbread.
Pinsa Romana is distinguished not only by its oval shape, but also by its texture (crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside), fragrance (due to the yeast and the long maturation process of up to 72 hours), distinct recipe (3 types of flour and dried mother yeast), and digestibility (the presence of rice and soy flours means less gluten). Compared to traditional pizza, pinsa has 48% less sugar, 85% less fat, 100% less cholesterol, and 33% fewer calories, and 75% hydration compared to 50-60% for traditional pizza.
Topping inspirations? Like with traditional pizza, let your imagination be your guide. Here are some ideas:
- Diavola (devil): tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy salame, black olives, red onions, fresh basil, pepper
- Napoli: tomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano
- Prosciutto and Funghi: tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto cotto, mushrooms and parsley
- Dolce e Salato (sweet and salty): mozzarella, pears, gorgonzola, honey and walnuts
- Tropea (seaside resort in the Calabria region): mozzarella, anchovies, zucchini, red onion, cherry tomatoes, capers, olive oil
- Montanara (named for the mountains around Naples): mozzarella and pecorino, guanciale, mushrooms, truffle oil, black pepper, parsley
- Prosciutto and Melanzane: mozzarella, grana Padano, prosciutto cotto, eggplant, red onion
- Triple P: mozzarella, potato, pesto, pancetta, cherry tomatoes
- Parma: stracciatella (a cheese from the Puglia region), prosciutto di Parma, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes
- Mortazza (Roman term for mortadella): stracciatella, mortadella, ricotta, pistacchi
- Salmon: cream cheese, Stracciatella, arugula, smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar
- Miele: ricotta cream, nuts, honey, figs