L’Incredibile varietà di pizze nel Sud d’Italia
It’s a philosophical question that has divided chefs and diners for decades. For some, only pies in the Neapolitan and Roman styles are acceptable—Sicilian, at a stretch. Others extend the goal posts as far as Chicago deep dish.
But pizzas have been eaten in southern Italy for hundreds of years, and the rainbow of variations that can be found there—if you know where to look—rivals the rest of the world’s best efforts. Its proximity to North Africa means that flatbreads have been popular for centuries. Forget calzones—I’m talking about pizzas and pittas created specifically for breakfast, or marvels the size of entire tables, or baked spirals of crust begging to be torn into satisfying, savory chunks.
Mpigliati con le sarde
An mpigliati con le sarde pie at the Petite Etoile hotel consists of dough coated with a mash of sardella, a rich fish sauce with red peppers, and tiny fish cured with salt and paprika.
A salty, beautiful pie that looks like a bundle of bread roses. It consists of strips of dough coated with a mash of sardella, a rich fish sauce with red peppers, and pilchards (small, herring-like fish) cured with salt and paprika. The strips are rolled and stuck together before baking; to eat, you just tear off one of the rolls, which are great with an aperitivo. This pizza is a good example of the cucina povera of southern Italy, where humble local ingredients are used to create deeply flavored dishes.
Cullura uses dough made with pig fat, layered with cime di rapa (broccoli raab), rolled a bit like a strudel, and then formed into a circle. Cullura is generally consumed cold and works as an everyday snack for farmers to take up into the mountains.
Pitta is a Calabrian flatbread that’s crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside; it includes toppings such as tomato, peppers, and herbs.
This half-moon-shaped treat, like a small calzone, is usually eaten cold.
A pitta rustica with prosciutto, caciocavallo cheese, and salumi between pitta-style bread.
Pasta da forno
Pasta da forno, a popular breakfast food. Forget the “pasta” name; this is a pizza, and it’s popular for breakfast. There’s no tomato sauce atop the dough, no mozzarella, no onion. It’s just crushed tomato with salt, oregano, and olive oil. Traditionally, pasta da forno comes in a round, black tray and is served cold. The absence of sauce helps keep the base crispy, making this a perfect snack to carry to school or to work.
The thick focaccia altamurana is studded with tomato and green olives.
This pizza’s dough, made only with semolina, is thick, like a deep-dish pie, with tomato, green olives, and extra virgin olive oil.
Panzerotto di carne and panzerotto fritto
These two pie pockets look like calzones but smaller. The first is filled with minced pork and spices, then baked and seasoned with thyme, rosemary, and oregano while the melted fat is still hot. It’s popular as a street food and also comes in a fried version, panzerotto fritto. The other contains rich strands of mozzarella, sweet tomato, and basil.
Strazzata, a fresh summer-style pizza with peppers, tomato, and extra virgin olive oil.
Adapted from an article by
Photographer: Carol Sachs for Bloomberg Businessweek