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pizza scima

unleavened pizza from Abruzzo

At its most basic, this popular flat bread is made flour, water and baking soda. After sitting for half an hour, spread the dough in a round pan, etch a grid in the top with a knife (for easy breaking up into pieces when it's done), then bake until golden, ideally right in the embers of the hearth, with a lid on top to ensure even cooking.

Other versions add white wine to the dough, and sprinkle the top with olive oil and salt.

Although people like to call it 'silly pizza' (pizza scema) because it has no yeast, the name is actually derived from azzimo or yeast free; it was introduced by Jewish immigrants who began to arrive in Abruzzo in the 13th century. Immigration accelerated especially after 1627, when the region was hit by a devastating earthquake that killed thousands of people, and Jews in Venice were invited to move in, especially along the coast.

Other names you might see are pizze scime, pizza acime, pizza ascime, pizza Summa or pizza scive.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Image by chezdansimo