At every traditional festival in Abruzzo, big and small, you’ll see locals enjoying pizza fritta, or fried pizza. It is one of the region’s most popular street foods with kids, youngsters and grown-upsIn the old days, it was eaten plain, with a sprinkle of salt or cooked grape must as a sweet version. Today, pizza fritta is served with arrosticini, topped with roasted peppers, prosciutto or salami.
Pizz’onta is the dialect name for the fried pizza. It means “greasy pizza” because it is fried in generous amounts of olive oil (in the past, animal fat was used and some nonnas still insist it is the best way to make it). Greasy in a hearty satisfying kind of way, it is delicious chomped up hot, right from the frying pan.
Neapolitans love pizza fritta, too, but they stuff it with prosciutto, mozzarella cheese or vegetables and fold. You’ll also find small fried pizzas in across southern Italy that are topped with a smudge of tomato sauce and cheese. In Abruzzo, you’ll find pizz’onta in its pure simplicity, fried dough and nothing else.
Aren’t we all craving comfort foods like pizza fritta right now? Simple and satisfying, they bring memories of childhood, when life was uncomplicated, full of delights and sunshine.
Fried pizza from Abruzzo recipe
700 g di farina flour
10 g dry yeast
A teaspoon of sugar
A teaspoon of fine sea salt
3 tablespoons of EVOO
Oil for frying (olive or sunflower oil, or, if you are not worried about the calories, use animal lard)
Mix the ingredients and knead them gently. Add ½ glass of water at a time until the dough is smooth, elastic and easy to handle (different types of flour need different amounts of water). Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for about two hours until it doubles in size.
Divide the dough in balls, about 70-80 grams each. Roll each ball evenly but not too thin and pierce with fork in several places, so the pizza doesn’t bubble up when fried.
Heat up the oil and fry the pizza till golden, less than a minute on each side. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt or sugar and eat them hot.
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