Pizza e minestra, or Pizza di granturco is a typical Molisana dish and a perfect example of la cucina povera.

With ancient origins, it’s basically a vegetable soup with softened cornbread. In Molise, corn ‘pizza’ has always been the daily bread of the poor.

Laura Collins was our guest in September and very much enjoyed this dish at La Piana dei Mulini in Molise. Once home, she contacted Alessandra, our host that day, to ask for the recipe. Laura has very kindly compiled an Italian and English version for us (both below).

She says, “I think one problem for non-Italian cooks could be the use of  ‘quanto basta’ – ‘as needed’. If you’ve never had the dish, it might be hard to get the consistency right – it should be soft but not soupy.

The restaurant quantities below make a huge amount; for normal domestic use I suggest scaling it down to, say, 300g each of granturco/verdure.”


Recipe in English:

  • 1 kg yellow cornflower
  • 1 kg green vegetables (broccoli, chicory etc.)
  • warm water as needed
  • salt as needed
  • extra virgin olive oil as needed
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • chilli pepper as needed

In a bowl, mix the cornflour with salt, 3 spoons of extra virgin olive oil and warm water. The dough should be mouldable - like clay - not liquid, not too hard. Put it in a round baking tray. The “pizza” should be at least 2/3 cm high.

Don’t forget to put abundant olive oil in the tray, before moulding the pizza, and on the surface of the pizza.

Bake in the oven (180°C) for 50/60 minutes or till it’s cooked inside. Insert a wooden toothpick to check near the centre of the pizza. If it comes out clean, the pizza is done.

Lightly stew the green vegetables in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and a little bit of chilli. Leave as much water in the pan as you can, the pizza will be like a sponge.

Crumble the pizza inside the pan, turn it in the pan till everything is well mixed and serve with abundant fresh extra virgin olive oil.



Laura’s questions for Alessandra:


Laura in Agnone cooking with Leo and Rosaria


Which polenta is best to use?

Neither too fine nor too coarse. If necessary, you can mix two flours.

Yellow or white corn flour?

The traditional pizza is with yellow corn flour!

Is this always a vegetarian dish?

More commonly (as a poor dish) it was made without meat but there is a version which adds bits of pork belly or chopped up pork sausage. Best with something fatty!


Recipe in Italian:

Pizza e minestra alla Molisana

Pizza di granturco

  • 1 kg di farina di mais giallo fine*, o un misto di fine e grosso
  • acqua calda, quanto basta
  • 1 cucchiaino di sale, oppure a piacere
  • 3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine di oliva + extra per la cottura
  • Zuppa di verdure
  • 1 kg di verdure verdi (bietole, broccoli, cicoria, cavoli…), finemente sminuzzate o tritate
  • 3 spicchi d’aglio, tritati
  • peperoncino a piacere
  • olio extra vergine di oliva, q.b.

Preriscaldare il forno a 180ºC. In una ciotola mescolate la farina di mais con il sale, l’olio extra vergine di oliva e l’acqua tiepida. Impastare fino ad ottenere un impasto flessibile, né troppo duro, né troppo morbido.

Oliare abbondantemente una teglia da forno o una teglia rotonda. Aggiungere l’impasto, picchiettandolo. Segna un motivo sulla parte superiore, se lo desideri. La pizza deve essere alta almeno 2/3 cm. Spennellare la superficie della pizza con altro olio.

Infornare a 180°C per 50 - 60 minuti o fino a cottura. (Puoi controllare con uno stuzzicadenti. Se lo stuzzicadenti esce pulito, la pizza è cotta)


Minestra di verdure

Soffriggere le verdure in una pentola con olio extra vergine di oliva finché non iniziano ad appassire, aggiungere l’aglio e un po’ di peperoncino e far cuocere per un paio di minuti. Aggiungere solo abbastanza acqua per cuocere leggermente le verdure fino a quando non si saranno ammorbidite. Idealmente non si spreca nulla, nemmeno l’acqua di cottura delle verdure. La pizza lo prenderà come una spugna. Sbriciolare o grattugiare la pizza nel tegame delle verdure e mescolare. Aggiungere altra acqua se necessario. Dovrebbe essere non troppo asciutto, non troppo bagnato. Servire tepido con abbondante olio extra vergine di oliva fresco.


Tradizionalmente, si potevano aggiungere carni grasse, come pancetta di maiale o salsicce.

Questa ricetta è stata fornita da Alessandra, un’antropologa che fa da consulente sui piatti della tradizione per La Piana dei Mulini in Molise.

Our Sunday lunch with Alessandra at La Piana dei Mulini in Molise


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