[Pizza Pascalina made by legendary Neapolitan pizza chef Gino Sorbillo. Photo credit: scattidigusto.com.]
Pizza is often considered junk food, especially outside of Italy, where it’s made using a high amount of refined carbohydrates and fats, while being scarce in vegetables and fiber, and often associated with other unhealthy foods and the consumption of sugary drinks.
However, pizza, a typical dish of the much-praised Mediterranean diet, can be quite healthy, if made using the typical ingredients for Neapolitan pizza, and consumed as one complete meal.
The Naples-based National Cancer Institute Fondazione G. Pascale has devised a pizza that is meant to promote awareness of the importance of a healthy diet to combat illnesses that are typical of developed countries, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
It’s called Pizza Pascalina, and it’s made with:
- Type 1 wheat flour (unrefined, rich in fiber)
- Friarielli (turnip tops) from Campania (the southern Italian region where Naples is located), or other type of broccoli
- San Marzano or Corbara tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil from Cilento (area of Campania)
- Black olives from Campania
- Garlic and hot pepper
- Mother yeast or brewer’s yeast (as per Neapolitan pizza recipe)
(Cook at 450 degrees for 60 seconds in a wooden oven)
Numerous studies have shown that an incorrect diet may contribute to the onset of several types of cancer. On the other hand, a diet rich in fiber, legumes, vegetables, whole grains, fruit, almonds and walnuts, with low glycemic index, and a limited use of animal products, has a protective function, especially when associated with regular physical activity.
All the ingredients contained in the pizza Pascalina have anti-oxidant and anti-tumoral properties. Tomatoes for example are rich in carotenoids called lycopenes which have antioxidant properties. Broccoli have anticancer properties; extra virgin olive oil and whole grains have been shown to protect against the risk of developing tumors. Pizza Pascalina contains 15 grams of fiber, and is rich in mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.
Therefore, says the Pascale Institute, pizza Pascalina can be consumed as a main meal twice a week.
The combination of ingredients makes it a delicious pizza too, with a good match between broccoli and tomatoes, a pleasant crunch provided by nuts, and a pungent taste thanks to garlic and red pepper.
What’s even better is that for every Pascalina you order, 1 euro will be allocated to cancer research.
Here’s where you can eat pizza Pascalina.
There’s one pizzeria in New York that offers pizza Pascalina, Kesté. Read our interview with Kestè executive pizza chef Giorgia Caporuscio here.