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Ma tu vulive ’a pizza … ca’ pummarola ’ncoppa!

(Would you like pizza … with tomato sauce!)

 

Even in Roman time pizza was eated; there are traces in a Latin small poem of 123 verses, the Moretum, belonging to Virgilio but, probably, it is Settimio Severo’s (or Serene).

The poetic composition describes the sun-rise in the house of an old farmer: he gets up, mills the wheat, entrusts the flour to a slave that transforms it in pizza bread, that will be cooked under the warm ash (not in the oven), while he goes in the garden to pick up the good grasses which will enrich, once cooked, the pizza bread. The Moretum would appear like a salad put on a white pizza, naturally without tomato, introduced in Europe after the discovery of America.

 

The tomato, considered up to the XVIII century a meaningless or even poisonous fruit, became subsequently an essential element of the cooking, particularly the Mediterranean, but it has been adopted by both the typical cooking and the international, elaborating it in hundreds of recipes.

We know the Moretum in the Italian text, thank to Giacomo Leopardi that, in 1816 “enjoyed” to translate the small poem, very distant, for his gastronomic content, from the melancholy of “Silvia” and from “Il passero solitario”. The version of pizza with tomato sauce, is described instead for the first time by Alexander Dumas in its work Il corricolo, in which described the experiences of a trip in Naples in 1835.

 

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