11 Jul2006

Pizza Dinner, Rome

by Marketman


After a short train ride from Florence to Rome, we arrived and checked into our serviced apartment in one of the quiet suburbs of Rome, just 15 minutes by taxi from the Spanish steps. We were staying out of town near some of my wife’s cousins who were born and raised in Rome. They insisted that we eat dinner with them every night of our stay so our Roman meals were, for the most part, authentic local cooking at its finest…straight out of their kitchen! However, on the first night, they had a previously scheduled dinner and they left us to fend for ourselves…but before they left, they ordered four stunningly good pizzas…First up, the finest fresh vegetable and cheese pizza I have ever tasted…called a primavera, it was like a salad on a warm pizza crust. A thin crust was baked with the tomato sauce then after the crust emerged from the oven it was topped with bits of fine fresh buffalo mozzarella, baby arugula (which was actually almost sweet rather than bitter), sweet cherry tomatoes and black olives. Fresh, bursting with flavor, delicious.

The second pizza ordered featured again more fresh buffalo mozzarella topped with paper thin slices of fine prosciutto. This was my second favorite pizza of the evening.


A third pizza featured thinly shaved button mushrooms that were cooked under a layer of cheese that melted and provided a bit of a salty and tasty crust. Very good as well.


Finally, the fourth pizza had small slivers of salted anchovies that were tasty, flavorful and not overly salty.


Needless to say, I had far too many slices of pizza…and washed it down with some good cold beer! For dessert we had luscious strawberries served with freshly whipped cream…Geez, even pizza takeout in Italy is amazing!



  1. bogchief says:


    Does anyone know what the secret of perfect pizza crust is? Could it be the high heat of the wood-fired stone oven? Superfine flour? Atmospheric conditions in Italy? Sweat dripping from the cook’s brow? I can never get it right.

    Jul 11, 2006 | 12:10 pm

  2. Marketman says:

    bogchief…start with tipo “00” flour, it’s Italian and significantly better for dough, you can get it at Galileo Enoteca sometimes, or other specialty food stores like Santis… then next is a slow rise in a refrigerator instead of a forced rise in hot humid manila kitchen temperatures, then roll or pull the dough to a very thin consistency, then its the brick/wood fired ovens that clinches the crust. In a pinch, use the right flour, do the slow rise, roll it thin and put a pizza stone in your oven (I put it on the floor of the oven) and heat it up to the highest it will go and keep it there for 15-30 minutes before you put the pizza in… Despite all of this…the pizza in Italy was better than anything I can make here…

    Jul 11, 2006 | 12:16 pm

  3. nikka says:

    be still my pregnant belly! *shiver* these pizzas look heavenly!

    Jul 11, 2006 | 12:46 pm

  4. lee says:

    I’m starting to feel the burden of too much weight so I went to a doctor yesterday and had a lab test early this morning. Blood sugar rising, sgpt soaring, cholesterol levels overboard. Yahoo!!! The ordeal of a diet is about to commence…. From now on I will be reading this blog just to feed my brain.

    Jul 11, 2006 | 2:04 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    lee, try writing two posts a day while on a Marketman modified South Forbes Diet! I am trying to lose 10 lbs in 5 weeks…just had 10 cashews for my mid afternoon protein snack… TORTURE!

    Jul 11, 2006 | 3:55 pm

  6. melissa says:

    Your posts never fail to get me out of the doldrums, MM. Eye candy even for those on a diet. Or food porn?

    Wave to LeeSan, is that you? Pobresito man. Take care gid, migo.

    Jul 11, 2006 | 4:08 pm

  7. lee says:

    yes melissa bandeaux this is me on a virtual food trip.

    aaah diet! remove the “t” and see…

    Jul 11, 2006 | 4:52 pm

  8. linda says:

    MM,thanks for the pizza dough making tips – it’ll surely come in handy as we make pizza every fortnight. Here’s a diet tip,too – plain almonds are better than cashews if on a diet (heard this from the Oprah show).

    Have a good day!

    Jul 12, 2006 | 9:21 am

  9. gonzo says:

    hey bogchief, MM is spot-on with his description of making a good crust: ‘OO’ flour, slow rising time etc. with the possible exception of rolling the dough. pizza makers say rolling the dough removes the all-important air pockets that make for a good crust, hence the focus on hand pulling, throwing the pizza disk up in the air etc. (but i’m guessing the throwing the dough in the air is more for the customers’ visual benefit!) a rolling pin is anathema, they say.

    Also, the oven is pretty critical; you need a woodburning oven not only for that smoky char but also because home ovens cannot reach the high temperatures required for good pizza (700-800 deg F). The heat is so high in a traditional woodburning oven that it only takes around 3 minutes to cook a pizza.

    But the secret of perfect pizza crust? As MM says, that secret will remain safely in Italy, unfortunately for the rest of us. The atmosphere, environment, terroir, whatever you want to call it seems to have an effect on food, and this is especially true in Italy.

    But even in italy, pizza making is not a science. Quality varies even there, and i believe it is still very much an art form, so much so that masterful ‘pizzaiolos’ are still highly sought after by dedicated restaurant owners.

    I myself have tried to analyse what makes a good pizza crust. Good crust seems to have that combo of crispiness and chewiness. Crispy but not cracker-crisp, and chewy but certainly not like an American style ‘bread-y’ pizza (eww). Also, i notice the best pizzas in italy have that uneven charring on the bottom, and the aforementioned air pockets (aside from topnotch italian topping ingredients).

    So this is a sad fact but I guess one must lower one’s pizza appreciation standards until fortunate enough, like MM, to spend some time in Italy.

    Jul 12, 2006 | 9:24 am

  10. greasemonkey says:

    as close as you can get (in subic, at least): ‘a tavola’, near royal supermart in sbma, has a woodburning oven flown in from italy and they make very mean versions of the 1st, 2nd and 4th pizzas above. i like the one with anchovies (napolitana?) best. =) used to make it a point to eat there at least once a week. hope the owner’s doing well, he smokes an awful lot…

    Dec 6, 2008 | 7:25 pm


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