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Pinsa Romana {Roman Style Pizza}

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Pinsa or Pinsa Romana is an ancient, healthier and more digestible version of classic Neapolitan pizza.

Its name comes from the Latin “pinsère” which means to stretch, press down, and extend – the technique used to shape pizza and focaccia. In fact, Pinsa is a sort of mix between the two. 

In this simple Pinsa Recipe you’ll discover how to make homemade Pinsa in a few simple steps.

The Difference Between Pinsa Pizza (Napoletana)

The name of this recipe might be confusing, as there is another much more famous Italian food that is similar to it. Of course, I’m referring to pizza. Both foods are made of baked dough and can be topped with the same ingredients. The difference lies in the type of dough, its preparation technique and of course the region where it was originated.

Pinsa comes from Rome, Lazio region, while Neapolitan Pizza, you guessed it – from Naples, Campania region of Italy.

Pinsa dough inside

Pinsa Romana Origin

What came first: pizza napoletana or pinsa romana? 

There are many legends about the origin of Pinsa Romana, which claim that it could be an ancestor of pizza. Later revelations, however, suggest that it might be more modern than it seems.

Some of the legends say that in ancient Rome, Pinsa was made by poor peasant in the countryside.

Poor farmers made Pinsa Romana with water and a mix of grounds cereals: millet, oats, barley and later farro (or spelt).

Spelled has been very important because it is the ancestor of the current wheat.

Once the dough was pushed down and stretched with the fingers into an elongated, oval shape is was flavored with easy-to-find simple ingredients like salt and aromatic herbs and cooked on the stones placed over hot coals.

A lot of times Pinsa was also used as a container for other dishes.

This often leads people into thinking that Pinsa Romana might be an ancestral form of pizza. 

Even the poet Virgil in his Aeneid reports that peasants in the Roman countryside used to knead grains, salt, and aromatic herbs to make a “low and oval cake” cooked on hot coals. That cake was easily digested, and, as told by Virgil, it was one of the first foods that the Trojan Hero Aeneas bit into when he set foot on the Lazio coast.

It was considered so good that the ancient people used to offer it to the gods to win their benevolence.

This, however, does not fully confirm the ancient origins of Pinsa Romana. To understand why, let’s move forward to the beginning of this century.

The Recent Fame

In 2001, Corrado Di Marco and his family, already famous for having invented Pizzasnella (a less fat version of pizza), came up with the first pinsa romana as we know it, saying it was based on an ancient recipe. Their idea proved successful: in just a few years, modern pinsa romana became part of the Roman tradition and all of Italy was filled with pinserie. 

Few Romans, however, remember having heard the word “pinsa” before 2001.

How is that? The answer came not long ago from Mr. Di Marco himself. In an interview, he declared that the idea for pinsa actually came from a dough that had been passed down to him from his father, and that the story of its ancient origins is nothing more than a marketing strategy “that worked well”. 

This is less weird than it may sound at first. After all, it would not be the first time that a dish that is considered part of the Italian tradition turns out to be a modern invention.

But in reality, it doens’t matter which story you believe in, the only thing that remains true is that Pinsa Romana is a healthy, delicious food that you can make and enjoy at home!

How To Make Pinsa Romana

Pinsa with Mushrooms and Smoked Provolone Cheese

So Pinsa Romana, as we know today is made of 3 flours: wheat, soy and rice flour, has high percentage of hydration, has elongated oval shape with light airy inside and a delicious crust.

The recipe I’m offering you today is simplified even further, so that you can have a delicious Pinsa Pizza made at home without major hustles.

Here’s how you make Pinsa Dough – the base for any kind of pinsa.

How To Make Dough For Pinsa

  • In a large bowl mix all purpose flour, rice flour and yeast.
  • Continuously whisking slowly add cold water.
  • Add extra virgin olive oil and salt (photos 1-4).
Pinsa Recipe Steps 1-4
  • Mix well. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or a lid and let rest for 30 minutes. Mix again and let rest for another 30 minutes.
  • Mix with a wooden spoon for the third time.
  • Now cover again with a plastic wrap or a lid and place the bowl with the dough in the fridge for about 24 hours (photos 5-8).
Pinsa Recipe Steps 5-8
  • Past that time turn the bowl upside down and let the dough come out of the bowl.
  • Divide the dough in 2 parts. Using your hands form a round bowl out of each piece of the dough.
  • Cut 2 rectangular pieces of parchment paper that fit your baking sheet.
  • Place each dough ball on a parchment paper and dust with rice flour (photos 9-11).
Pinsa Recipe Steps 9-11
  • Cover the dough with a linen towel and let rise for 60 minutes (photos 12, 13).
Pinsa Recipe Steps 12-13
  • Past that time pour a frizzle of extra virgin olive oil on each piece of the dough and using your fingers press into the dough stretching it from center to sides forming an oval pinsa shape (photos 14-17).
Pinsa Recipe Steps 14-17

At this point, your pinsa is ready for the oven.

Pinsa Toppings

Basically, all pizza toppings work great for pinsa too. Because, remember? The major difference is in the dough, not the topping.

You can do anything from classic Margherita (mozzarella + tomato sauce + oregano) to something special with fall flavors like I’m making today.

Pinsa with Mushrooms and Smoked Provolone Cheese.

Pinsa Romana - Roman Style Pizza
4.5 from 4 votes

Pinsa Romana {Roman-Style Pizza}

This Roman Style Pizza or Pinsa Romana is an ancient, healthier and more digestible version of classic Neapolitan pizza.
Print Pin Rate / Comment
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Dough Resting Time1 d
Total Time1 d 40 mins
Course: Pizza
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 pinsa

Ingredients

Pinsa Dough:

  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour , approx 420 g
  • ½ cup rice flour , approx 80 g
  • 1 ⅔ cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil + more for rubbing
  • ½ tsp dry yeast , approx 3 g
  • 1 tsp salt , approx 9 g

Pinsa Topping:

  • 1 lb mushrooms of your choice , 450 g (whole or sliced)
  • 12 oz smoked Provolone cheese , 350 g
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed with a flat knife
  • Fresh parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt , pepper to taste

Instructions

Pinsa Topping

  • Place a large skillet pan over medium heat.
  • Add olive oil and garlic cloves crushed with a flat knife or minced if you like more pronounced garlic flavor. Saute for a minute or two.
  • Add clean sliced mushrooms and stir everything together. Mushrooms will release liquid. Continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes until there’s no more liquid.
  • Add dry white wine and simmer for another few minutes. Add chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Cut provolone cheese in slices.

Pinsa Dough

  • In a large bowl mix all purpose flour, rice flour and yeast.
  • Continuously whisking slowly add cold water.
  • Add extra virgin olive oil and salt. Mix well. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or a lid and let rest for 30 minutes. Mix again and let rest for another 30 minutes.
  • Mix with a wooden spoon for the third time.
  • Now cover again with a plastic wrap or a lid and place the bowl with the dough in the fridge for about 24 hours.
  • Past that time turn the bowl upside down and let the dough come out of the bowl.
  • Divide the dough in 2 parts. Using your hands form a round bowl out of each piece of the dough.
  • Cut 2 rectangular pieces of parchment paper that fit your baking sheet.
  • Place each dough ball on a parchment paper and dust with rice flour.
  • Cover the dough with a linen towel and let rise for 60 minutes.
  • In the meantime prepare the mushroom topping.
  • Past that time pour a frizzle of extra virgin olive oil on each piece of the dough and using your fingers press into the dough stretching it from center to sides forming an oval pinsa shape.

Baking and Assembling Pinsa

  • Transfer parchment paper with pinsa on a baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil.
  • Bake in a lower third of a preheated to 450F (230C) oven for about 10 minutes.
  • Top with sauteed mushrooms and smoked provolone slices and baking in the middle of the oven until pinsa has browned on the edges and cheese has melted.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley, and freshly grind pepper.
Liked this recipe?Follow @italianrecipeb for more!
Pinsa Recipe Pin

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Recipe Rating




Renee

Thursday 1st of April 2021

Hi! What would be the difference (aside from simplicity) of using soy flour in the pinsa dough vs not including soy flour, like in your recipe? It has been difficult to find soy flour and I’m doubting whether or not the Romans used it! If it’s a big difference, I’ll have to order. Just curious, thanks!

Michele

Monday 20th of April 2020

Hi, This is Mike, we own a pinsa & food distribution business in US . It's possibile to speak with you about sponsored content in one of Your page/post? Thanks and regards Michele

Italian Recipe Book

Sunday 26th of April 2020

Hi Mike, thank you for contacting! Please send me an email with more details as to what you're looking for at [email protected] and we can discuss further.

CHARLES WYNN

Sunday 23rd of February 2020

Very interesting and excited to see future recipes.

Chris

Saturday 22nd of February 2020

I followed the recipe using, soy, rice and what flour but it’s very sticky and has not doubled in size? What did I do wrong

Italian Recipe Book

Saturday 22nd of February 2020

Hi Chris, it looks like you had a good start - the dough should pretty sticky. In fact, you mage it with a spatula in the beginning of the process. If the dough did not double in size but still had a good rise there's not problem at all. See my picture 7 and 8. In case the dough had a poor rise, 2 or more factors might have gotten in place: 1) poor yeast quality 2) not enough resting time which should be about 24 hours.

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