Primal Pizza

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I recently picked up a copy of the newly released book “Everyday Paleo around the World: Italian Cusine” by Sarah Fragoso.  I have to say it is one of the best Paleo cooking books I have yet to come across.  I think it is so important to delve into traditional cuisines with a focus on the all the nutrient dense Paleo ingredients they have to offer.  That is essentially the purpose of this blog, and it is exactly what Sarah Fragoso did with this book, and what she has envisioned for the entire “Everyday Paleo around the world” series to come.

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In writing this book, Sarah did not cut any corners.  She knew that if she really wanted to boil down Italian food to its roots, she would have to go straight to the source, and that is exactly what she ended up doing.  With a team of family and friends alongside her, she took an epic month-long food pilgrimage throughout Italy.  Traveling through Milan, Bologna, Marche, Abruzzo, Rome, and Sardinia, the trip took the group to traditional home kitchens, secluded villages, traditional markets, prestigious restaurants, truffle hunts, and wine tastings.  The result of this trip is an incredible knowledge and understanding of Italian cuisine and culture- one that shatters the image the most people have when they think of Italian food.

It turns out that Italian cuisine is so much deeper than pizza and pasta, two dishes that barely scratch the surface.  When you really boil down the essence of the food and culture, it all comes down to local, fresh ingredients that come from organically raised fruits and vegetable and pasture raised animals.  That right there happens to be the essence of the Paleo philosophy.

Upon her return to the US, Sarah worked vigorously to compile the most critical ingredients and cooking methods into a plethora of Paleo-compliant traditional Italian dishes.  The recipes are broken down in the five courses that you might find in a traditional Italian meal: AntipastiPizzePrimi PiatiSecondi Piati, and Dolce.

While I just got my hands on this book a few days ago, and already have a long list of recipes I intend on trying, I knew what I was going to do first: reclaim pizza night.  Prior to my change in lifestyle I was definitely a huge fan of pizza and salad.  It is an incredible combination, especially when utilizing top-notch ingredients.  I’ve tasted a few renditions of gluten free pizza, but they are nothing to write home about.  Upon reading the dough recipe inspired by Tammy Credicott of Paleo Indulgences, I knew this was going to be potentially life-altering.  Pairing the hot pie along side the “Raddichio with Pancetta Dressing” only seemed right.

The radicchio turned out to be one of the most decadent salads I have ever tasted, and it took no more than 20 minutes to get on the table.  Drizzling the glorious pancetta vinaigrette over the beautifully colored radicchio was one of my most satisfying moments in the kitchen to date.

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As for the pizza, prepping the crust took a little bit of time, but wasn’t by any means overwhelming.  Good results are completely feasible, even for non-bakers like myself.  This crust is made possible with a combination of three flours: almond, arrowroot, and coconut.  Almond and coconut are very common in the Paleo and gluten-free baking world, but arrowroot is a little more obscure.  Turns out it is a starch obtained from the rhizomes (rootstocks) of a few different tropical plants- namely, West Indian arrowroot, Florida arrowroot, and cassava root.  I was able to find it at Whole Foods without a problem.

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The crust turned out amazing after 10 minutes in the oven!

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It was time to add my toppings and finish it off!  Knowing the salad would give me my daily dose of pancetta, I opted for extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, sliced artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, crumbled sweet italian sausage, and some shaved parmigiano reggiano for good measure.  After 10 more minutes in the oven, the pizza was ready to go.

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When all was said and done, I had an incredible “pizza dinner” that was loaded with delicious, nutrient dense ingredients.  As I mentioned on my Hu Kitchen post, eating Paleo-fied versions of clearly non-paleo dishes has the ability to satisfy you in a way that the original version never could.  Instead of feeling bloated, tired and guilty after this feast, I felt nourished and energized instead.  To be honest, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

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