Sarah Minnick and the Bioesserì team: pizza goes round the world

The fourth edition of Identità Chicago debuts with the emblem of Italy. As seen from Portland to Milan


Sara Minnick (Lovely’s Fifty Fifty in Portland) held by the team at Bioesserì (Milan and Palermo). Left to right: Fabio La Barbera, Vittorio and Saverio Borgia, Federico Della Vecchia (photo Brambilla/Serrani)

The eighth trip abroad starts with these words by Paolo Marchi: «Vince [Gerasole, who’s again presenting the masterclasses in the US] is right: we’re here to promote the best in Italian cuisine. But we also want to promote the fact that we are not, as we often say, the only country where food is good: so this is why the chefs participating in this edition of Identità Chicago and in New York and Boston too have various origins».

The fourth event in Chicago starts with two new themes for the audience of Illinois: pasta and pizza. «The time has come to show that pizza in Italy means a million things: origins, technique, flour, ingredients, philosophies. The same applies to pasta. There’s more than pasta with ragù. You can use hundreds of ingredients and infinite interpretations».

The first spotlights shine on pizza. The one made by patrons Sicilians Vittorio and Saverio Borgia of Bioesserì, with restaurants in Milano Brera and Palermo. With them on stage, their pizzaiolo from Campania Federico Della Vecchia. Followed by Sarah Minnick of Lovely’s Fifty Fifty in Portland, Oregon.

Vittorio e Saverio Borgia, Bioesserì

Vittorio e Saverio Borgia, Bioesserì

Federico Della Vecchia, Bioesserì

Federico Della VecchiaBioesserì

The microphone goes to the trio at Bioesserì «A word that means bio-organic», points out Borgia, «Using organic products is the first step that helps us in the following development. A choice that cannot be avoided». The first of the two pizzas they presented is called Identità di provola «It’s the sum of many different cultures. Instead of the classic tomato sauce, there’s a sauce with Pachino tomatoes. That is to say the Sicily of the Borgias as well as that of classic Neapolitan spaghetti. Plus there’s pecorino romano and buffalo milk provola from my area. Mediterranean flavours that result from many tests and studies».

Whole wheat and semi whole wheat flour from Petra, rich in fibre and low in starch, gluten and proteins. Simple gluten, light dough and blocked for a moment so as to define hydration, slow leavening, and an oven at 80°C compared to classic Neapolitan pizza. These tricks guarantee a smooth digestion.
Identità di provola, Bioesserì

Identità di provola, Bioesserì

Fake, Bioesserì

Fake, Bioesserì

The second pizza by the Bioesserì team is called Fake. It hints at the Italian sounding products in large stores. «Plus it looks like pizza margherita, but it’s not». It includes a sweet and sour sauce of red peppers, some more buffalo milk provola, Grana Padano matured 24 months, basil pesto, black olives and anchovy pesto, olive oil. A sort of cacciatora sauce.

With sweet and determined Sarah Minnick the concept of market to oven enters the picture. It’s inspired from the more famous farm to table, which the girl learnt from Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. And from the concept of sharing with reference to the sharing community in Portland, West Coast, where they share cooking techniques too.

Sarah Minnick

Sarah Minnick

The pizza in Chicago is called Fermented Tomato, a small variation on the pizza that won the dish of the year award at Identità Milano 2017, together with Scarpetta from friend Franco Pepe. There are quinoa leaves too. The ingredients are first mixed in a large bowl, «I’ve never seen my colleagues do it. Perhaps it’s my mistake but I like it», she explains candidly. A rather interesting technique. Sarah rolls the dough at length, as if it were fabric, and adds fontina to it.

Win the second pizza, it’s the turn of kale, rosemary, alkekengi, sausage and fontina. These elements express the freedom enjoyed by pizza when it’s thousands of kilometres from home. With an always respected rule: «Each one of my pizzas is made with three elements I never avoid: dough, vegetables, and cheese».

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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