Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The €100 Pizza

A €100 pizza?
In the centre of Naples there is a pizzeria that has two menus – one for the general public (i.e. people like you and I) and one for the political elite – deputies, senators, party leaders etc., etc, - otherwise known in Italy as the ‘Blue Car Club’ - or “uno della casta”, generally anyone who is ‘in the club’. Given the extraordinary privileges that come with being a member of the club in Italy (i.e. financial), someone decided it would be a good idea to create a special menu to be offered exclusively to members of said club. So, as a member of this de facto Members Only Club, rather than pay the usual 4 or 5 Euros for a pizza, they get to pay 100! If they would rather have a sandwich, then they get to pay €350. And if they want a coffee at the end of the meal, it will set them back €90.

But if you think these prices would cause havoc on the digestion, then think again. Sergio D’Antoni, Deputy of the Democratic Party, was the first to receive this five-star-treatment. He ordered the pizza with friarielli peppers and sausage which then set him back a nice round €100. Witnesses in the restaurant said he didn’t bat an eyelid when presented with the bill. In fact, “the pizza was good”, he said. “Maybe a bit precious, but good. And it isn’t true that it caused me indigestion”.

The special menu is part of an initiative proposed by the regional commissioner of the Green Party in Campania, Francesco Borrelli. A protest against the political fat cats who receive benefits far beyond their worth, the initiative has proven highly popular. Over 30 restaurants have already signed on, pledging to give any additional money earned from the inflated menu to charity. Segio D’Antoni, luckily, didn’t take being singled out to badly. “I think that campaigns of this type are good”, he said, “if they serve to lighten the climate in such difficult times”. I love friarielli peppers, and I’m also partial to a good Neapolitan pizza, but €100? That’s steep. If you agree, why not make your own.

Pizza with sausage and green peppers
Pizza con salsiccia e peperoni verdi

Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes + resting
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

For the dough (for 4 people)
500g plain flour
300ml tepid water
1 teaspoon salt
20g fresh yeast

250ml smooth tomato sauce
250g mozzarella
200g Italian sausage, chopped into pieces
2 green peppers sliced
Dried oregano

Make the dough by dissolving the yeast in the water.  Place the flour and salt on a work surface, make a well in the centre and add the water and yeast.  With your fingers gradually draw the flour into the liquid and mix.  Do this a few times until the centre is soft and spongy (using about a quarter of the flour).  Now leave the central sponge to rise for 15 minutes.  Return to the dough and knead in the rest of the flour, kneading for at least 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 1-1.5 hours until doubled in size.  Knock down the dough and knead again for 1-2 minutes.  Divide the dough into four pieces and roll out into 1/2cm thick rounds ready for the topping.

Top each base with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce. Use the back of the spoon to coat the base evenly to within 1 cm of the edge. Divide the mozzarella cheese evenly between the four pizzas and then arrange the sausage and the peppers and a good sprinkle of dried oregano. Bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes. Remove the pizzas from the oven and serve immediately.


  1. Wow Mario - that is one expensive pizza. I think I would rather make my own, and I love pizza. The first Italian pizza I had was a thin one in the north of Italy quite a few years ago, and I have been hooked ever since. In the suburb where I grew up in Sydney, there is a shop that makes really tasty pizzas. Their pizza vegetariana is a show stopper! I know, I had one in August.

  2. I know what you mean Cathy. As much as I love pizza, that's stretching it. I'm curious: How does Australian pizza compare with Italy's?

  3. Hello from Ibiza Spain

    Nice blog


  4. When I was growing up there was a big chain of pizza restaurants that did such things as ham and pineapple pizza, and people went and ate in restaurants more. Now takeaway is more convenient and popular. At one takeaway place they do a crust stuffed with cheese! Given the number of Italians who are in Australia now, I think this has made pizza more popular, and the shop I refer to above does thin pizzas, although there are more diverse toppings than you find here (some pizzas are loaded with stuff). Living in Italy has made my tastes change, and I now like fewer toppings. Sometimes I am quite happy with a pizza margherita.

  5. I know what you mean Cathy. Italians have a way of simplifying food and a margherita is great at times! Although I do like adding a few anchovies occasionally to spice things up a bit!