Prior to the modern-day pizza, today we explore this ancient Italian dish, the Pinsa romana. Pinsa romana flour, a blend of wheat flour type 0 and dried yeast, are the main ingredients in creating this delicious creation.
This ancient pizza is distinguished by its oval (or often rectangular) form, higher hydration of the dough (which makes it more digestible), and lower fat and carbohydrate content than standard pizza. For those who are unfamiliar with this exceptional and nutrient food, we can draw the word's etymological roots: the word "pinsa" comes from the Latin word "pinsere," which means "to expand, to spread."
It refers to the traditional movement used to roll out the dough: the dough must be rolled out from an oval shape, stretching it to achieve the final shape. It is, however, not uncommon for the Pinsa Romana to have an irregular rectangular outline.
This dish was first prepared by Romans in history, using an original but basic recipe made with ground cereals and readily available ingredients including aromatic herbs and salt to flavour the Pinsa.
How to Prepare a Pinsa Romana
Even though the Pinsa dough is much lighter than other bakery items, it has a high nutritional value since it contains less fat and complex carbohydrates. For the authenticity of a good Pinsa, which is suitable for everyone, the presence of healthy and natural ingredients such as wheat is essential.
Making the dough rise for 36 to 48 hours through all of the leavening steps is a crucial process that is dependent on the flour's consistency and quality. A good Pinsa dough will achieve it's best flavor and texture in around 5 hours, while heavy flours that can consume a larger amount of water than traditional flours would take several days to reach its desired texture.
As a result, the composition of a long leavening dough for Pinsa must be considered, which consists of Pinsa Romana flour, a few grammes of yeast, salt, and oil (for a litre of water used for the dough), thus paying attention to the temperature of the dough, which should reach about 23°C at the end of the process.
Since the dough, not the toppings, distinguishes pinsa romana from pizza, it can be topped with a wide variety of ingredients, including tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, salami, and mushrooms. Also, speck and mozzarella di bufala, ham and figs, pumpkin cream, provola cheese and bacon are some of the most common new seasonings in Rome, depending on your preferences. Other seasonings can include lobster tails, chicken, and tomatoes with an amatriciana flavour!
The final dish is the combination of all of the ingredients, although tweaked in a personalized way, to produce a low-fat, low-calorie meal that is not unhealthy to those on a diet, as long as the final Pinsa Romana is not overly garnished with other ingredients. This is also made possible by the final stages of preparation, where cooking plays an important role: the significant volume of water consumed by the dough makes it impossible to cook it quickly, therefore the second step of cooking allows the Pinsa to hold a variety of fillings while retaining and cultivating the traditional flavours of this ancient Roman "spianata."
Enjoy your dish with draft beer or Italian craft beer, as it will bring out the full flavor of the Pinsa! Vegetables or cold cuts, as well as sliced salami, are the ideal side dishes to accompany your Pinsa.
Ready to discover and taste this ancient pizza?
Pinsa available daily at our prêt à manger counter.