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26-10-2020

Stefano Manfredi: «Here's my new pizza Viaggio in Sicilia for La Cascina dei Sapori»

The Italian chef in Australia and Viaggio in Sicilia, a pizza to be enjoyed in Antonio Pappalardo's restaurant in Rezzato (Bs). Plus the recipe of one of the elements in the topping, baba ganoush

Pizza Viaggio in Sicilia designed by Stefano Ma

Pizza Viaggio in Sicilia designed by Stefano Manfredi for Antonio Pappalardo's La Cascina di Sapori in Rezzato (Brescia)

When Antonio Pappalardo asked me to present a pizza for his La Cascina dei Sapori, I thought of a story, a poem, instead of a simple list of ingredients. I wanted to create a connection with a region, a place that I found meaningful.

Viaggio in Sicilia is the memory of the flavours of a recent journey to that beautiful island, once the regional borders reopened after the lockdown:

Antonio Pappalardo and Stefano Manfredi

Antonio Pappalardo and Stefano Manfredi

I start with baba ganoush, the famous Arab recipe made with smoked aubergines, tahina (made with sesame from Ispica), lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Arabs first introduced aubergines, sesame seeds, brown sugar, citrus fruits and many more things in Sicily, 1200 years ago. Then I add little fior di latte followed by sweet Giarratana onions, prawns from Mazara marinated in lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, wild oregano from Etna and finally a sprinkle of toasted sesame from Ispica.

This pizza is a collaboration, a meeting, a discovery, not just a mix of ingredients: a sort of journey that two chefs, two curious cooks, did together, discovering flavours, history, and traditions.

Viaggio in Sicilia

Viaggio in Sicilia

Antonio Pappalardo's dough is evolving constantly. A look at his flour storehouse will immediately reveal his propensity for constant experiments.

Having remained stuck in Italy right after my arrival from Australia, at the end of February, because of the health emergency, I was generously invited by Antonio and his family to spend the lockdown with them. After a few days I started to cook bread for all the family, using brewer's yeast until I cultivated some new licoli.

The flours I had available included monococcum, mixes of sprouted barley and rice, wholewheat and other stone milled types of flour from Petra, semolina from different parts of Italy and many more. I felt like a pig in mud.

Stefano Manfredi

Stefano Manfredi

For our partnership, Antonio made a dough using a poolish of Petra Viva and wholewheat Petra 9 in equal parts. They are both HP (High Performance). The poolish was left to mature at 15°C for 15 hours and then freshened up with the same flour, a mix of 80% and 20% respectively. After the baking the pizza is darker than the classing Neapolitan one, and has a sounder and crunchier texture to hold the topping, with a stronger flavour due to the use of wholewheat flour.

Sesame from Ispica

Sesame from Ispica

Sweet Giarratana onion 

Sweet Giarratana onion 

Pizza Viaggio in Sicilia was available at La Cascina dei Sapori throughout the month of September.

Baba ganoush

Baba ganoush


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by

Stefano Manfredi

born in 1954 in Gottolengo (Brescia), moved to Sydney at the age of six. Raised in a family of cooks, on his mother's side, he opened his first restaurant in 1983 and the 16th, PizzAperta Manfredi, in 2019. He's the author of six books on Italian cuisine, the latest of which, "New Pizza", was published in 2017 and translated in 4 languages. He has curated weekly columns on The Sydney Morning Herald, The Financial Review and on many of Australia's most important magazines. After working for 40 years as chef, he's now passionate about flour, fermentation and hydration

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