Monday, January 2, 2017

Arkeopizza- A Slice of History - Chef Giuseppe Russo and Pizzaiolo Francesco Vitiello



I was determined to arrive early for Natale in Casa Vitiello for several of reasons:


  • I wanted to see Casa Vitiello’s  new location dressed in Christmas colors and holiday cheer.
  • I wanted to get a few pics before the dinner crowd arrived.   
  • But most importantly, I really wanted to eavesdrop on Chef  iuseppe 'Peppe' Russo and Pizzaiolo Francesco ‘Ciccio’ Vitiello. The pair were getting ready for Casa Vitiello’s third in a four part series of four hands dinner featuring Vitiello and an amico chef.

Ciccio Vitiello and Peppe Russo

I arrived just as the pre-dinner briefing was winding up.  A briefing that was also an interesting history lesson.

La pizza si fa riferimento ad alcuni testi di storia e gastronomia dove si evince che il termine PIZZA nasce dalla evoluzione del termine dialettale PIEZZ'. Termine che sin dal 600' si utilizzava nella famiglie per indicare una piccola parte di pane staccata a mano dalla forma di pane per essere utilizzata "infilandola nel forno" a testare la giusta temperatura prima di infornare il pane. Nel tempo ci si rese conto che quel PIEZZ' di pane era buono da mangiare e quindi utile per Alimentarsi. Da qui si incominció a condirlo e ad affinarne la forma. Naturalmente va detto che il pomodoro"oggi ingrediente sovrano per la pizza" arriva in Europa solo Dopo il 1492 "data della scoperta delle Americhe". Ma nel frattempo sotto il Vesuvio la pizza veniva consumata comunque è con i condimenti che normalmente venivano dalla quoditianità cioè grassi animali , verdure, ortaggi, frutta,pesci ecc..! Ció detto bisogna considerare altresi che il Piezz' divenne un vero e proprio contenitore commestibile e quindi comodo anche per trasportare piatti pronti, quando bisognava viaggiare o quando bisogna lavorare più giorni fuori.

-Chef Russo

The word Pizza , according to various history and gastronomy texts, was born from the evolution of the dialect PIEZZ'. It’s a term that dates back to 600 AD to define a small piece of bread, broken off by hand before placing it into the oven. It was used to test to see if the wood burning  oven had reached the right temperature for baking.  Over  time it was realized that this PIEZZ’ bread was really good to eat and became part of the daily diet. Over time, people began  to dress it up and to perfect its shape. Of course it must be said that the tomato "today’s sovereign pizza ingredient " came to Europe after 1492. But in the meantime under Mt  Vesuvius pizza, however, was topped with seasonings that normally came from the daily diet such as  animal fats, vegetable, potatoes, fruits, fish etc ..! Having said this we must consider that the Piezz ‘ became a real edible container, and then also convenient to transport ready meals  when one needed to travel or stay away from home for several days.

So Russo and Vitiello’s plan was to take us back in time with Arkeopizza.





The piezz was baked in the oven, then lard produced with Caserta black pork and star anise was spread on top.  



Mortarella hazelnuts, found only in Campania,  are placed on top. 




Whole, not crushed or sliced. Then a sprinkling of pecorino di laticauda cheese. 




A simple slice of pizza, a savory slice of history. 




 Grazie!
  

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