Tag: salsiccia

Meet In Your Kitchen | Alfredo Sironi’s Pizza with Cima di Rapa and Salsiccia

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“Food means a lot, not everything, but a lot. I enjoy cooking more than eating.” – Alfredo Sironi

There are two things Alfredo Sironi does all the time: chatting and eating while constantly moving around. When I sat with him outside his Sironi La Pizza restaurant in Berlin’s Goltz Kiez, an endless flow of children, neighbors, staff, and guests stopped by to talk to the baker, always having his full attention. When we were at his Sironi il Pane di Milano bakery, at Kreuzberg’s Markthalle Neun, he grabbed the pepper grinder from one of the stalls next to him, exchanging it for a piece of pizza and a quick chat with the chef. He nibbles bites of warm salsiccia from a tray while passing by and allows himself a couple minutes to indulge in the pizza bianca that we just baked together, but he won’t sit still. Only quick moments of pleasure, before the man moves on to the next venture.

Alfredo says he’s a better cook than eater. He blames his childhood. When you basically grow up right in a family restaurant you’re always on the run, always looking out for problems that need to be solved and people who need to be taken care of. You have a quick nibble in between chats but you barely sit down to eat. It runs through his family, he says.

“Everything we describe as tradition is fake. There weren’t potatoes in Germany, there weren’t tomatoes in Italy. Noodles, pasta come from China. It’s a cultural process, every day rewritten over and over again. – Alfredo Sironi

Growing up on a farm in Lombardy – between Milan and Como, close to northern Italy’s buzzing industrial center yet at the same time, you’re surrounded by lush green fields, paddocks, and horses – his life was about his parent’s restaurant, his family and friends, and the restaurant’s regular guests. Women always played an important role in his world. Although his father started the business, and he’s also the most passionate cook in the family, it was Alfredo’s mother who kept the motor running smoothly. Due to the region’s economic success, the women in northern Italy already ran thriving businesses in the 50s. The cliché of the mother, cooking and staying at home in the kitchen, wasn’t Alfredo’s reality.

The Sironi family comes from Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna so the family’s home cooking mirrors the best of what the four regions bring to the table. Bread and pasta is a staple, always homemade and part of every day’s lunch and dinner. Everyone knows how to make it, it’s in their blood. And exactly this would become one of Alfredo’s greatest assets.

“You can’t prepare yourself for your failure but you have to be prepared for your success. When you start a business, you only focus on avoiding that it crashes. You hope that customers will come, that you can pay your bills, and that it will all work out. But in reality, everything can be totally different, that you are successful. And then the bakery was too small, I hadn’t considered this option in the beginning.” – Alfredo Sironi

Until Alfredo moved to Berlin at the age of thirty, he never questioned his cosmos circling around the food and the people that were simply there all his life. It could have been so easy for him to just stay there, to take over the family business at one point, to live this beautiful life in this beautiful place with all the people he loves – but he was hungry for something else. So when Alfredo came up north to move to Germany’s capital, he used his memories of the people and the food in Italy, the memories of his daily life, to found his own bakery. Although he studied history in Milan and already saw himself following an academic career, things changed.

In 2010, Berlin’s food scene was buzzing and hungry for the new. Carbs are Alfredo’s passion. Every day, bread was freshly baked and pasta freshly rolled at his family’s restaurant and he helped out whenever a hand was needed. For him, good bread isn’t science, it’s knowledge and experience. He knew Berlin didn’t have anything like the Milan-style bread he grew up with and felt the city would love it yet he was also aware of the risks.

In the end, there was nothing to worry about. It only took a few months for the Berliners to fall in love with the baker and his goods. Right from the start, you could always find Signor Sironi on the annual Berlin’s Best Bread lists. His sourdough loaves are praised, his sheet-pan pizza is the reason for ongoing pilgrimages of the carb loving crowds to his bakery in Kreuzberg and to his new pizzeria where the pizza is round. Alfredo Sironi knows his dough, maybe it’s as simple as that.

Alfredo shared the recipe for his Pizza Bianca with Cima di Rapa and Salsiccia with me. It’s a recipe that I love so much that when I first ate it a few years ago, I came up with my own take on it for the blog. It proves that reducing the toppings for pizza often leads to the best results.

The podcast episode with Alfredo Sironi is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Alfredo on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Pizza Bianca with Cima di Rapa and Salsiccia

by Alfredo Sironi

Makes 2 to 3 pizza sheets (using 30 x 40cm / 12 x 16“ baking sheets; if you make 3 sheets the pizza base will be thinner and crunchier, 2 sheets will lead to a thicker, softer base)

For the dough

  • 700ml / 3 cups water, lukewarm, plus more as needed
  • 10g / 1/3 ounce fresh yeast, crumbled
  • 1kg / 7 2/3 cups high gluten wheat flour (German flour type 1050)
  • 20g / 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup (or rice syrup, or molasses)
  • 20g / 4 teaspoons fine sea salt

For the topping

  • 4 – 6 salsiccie (or any other coarse sausage), skin removed, sausage torn into bite size pieces
  • 800g – 1.2kg / 1 3/4 pounds – 2 2/3 pounds cime di rapa, blanched or sautéed (you can also use drained jarred cime di rapa or replace it with broccoli)
  • 500 – 750g / 1 – 1 2/3 pounds drained mozzarella, cut into french fries-shapes
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the hook attachment, whisk together the water and yeast and let it sit for a minute. Add the flour, syrup, and salt and knead well for about 5 minutes or until smooth; add more water if the dough is too firm. Cover the bowl and let the dough sit for 10 minutes (the ideal ambient temperature is 26-30°C / 80-86°F; you can use the oven or place the bowl on a heater).

After 10 minutes, leaving the dough in the bowl, grab the dough from underneath and fold it on top of itself then turn the bowl by 90° and repeat folding and turning the bowl for 4-5 times. Let the dough sit for 15 minutes then repeat the same procedure once again. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or put it in a rubbish bag and close it; you can also use a container with a tight fitting lid. Keep the dough in the fridge for 18-24 hours.

After 18-24 hours, divide the dough in 2 or 3 portions, roll out each portion so that it’s roughly the size of your baking sheet then oil 2-3 baking sheets and arrange the prepared dough on top and cover with kitchen towels. In a warm place, let the dough rise until it roughly doubles in size; depending on the ambient temperature, this will take 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to the highest temperature setting (at least 250°C / 480°F).

Divide the salsiccia, cime di rapa, and mozzarella among the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10-13 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some pepper, and enjoy immediately!

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

I got my first KitchenAid and I feel like a little girl on Christmas Eve. To call the current mood in my kitchen excitement would be a serious understatement.

After years of seeing – and admiring – these sparkly, polished beauties in the kitchens of my friends and family (my sister has two!), the time had come to get my own. At a certain age, one deserves these special treats. I’m a strong believer that it’s good to wait for things in life, it strengthens your character and makes you deeply appreciate what you have. But 20 years of waiting was more than enough, that’s how long it took me to finally see this powerful stand mixer on my marble counter tops.

In every period of my life, I had my favourite KitchenAid colour. In my young twenties, I loved the creamy white surface, followed by a fascination for the 50s and their soft pastels. Light blue, mint, or pink, I would have taken any of them. Then I got into puristic minimalism and only a black mixer would have made it into my kitchen. In my thirties, I fell for light yellow, but now, all of a sudden, I had to make a decision and decide which colour I would finally get and see for the rest of my life. It wasn’t easy and it took a few visits to various appliance shops. In the end, I had to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of cream, yellow, black, copper (which looks really hot), and brushed stainless steel. This process brought back lots of memories of the different eras of my life connected to each colour. After a couple weeks, my decision was made: brushed stainless steel is the winner! When the large package arrived I couldn’t wait to see my object of desire on my counter tops – I was almost hysterical, which is excusable in my eyes, it’s been 20 years after all. So here it is and it looks amazing. The mixer’s metallic surface fits perfectly to my white marble and brushed aluminium wall panels. I’m totally in love and can’t stop looking at it.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Testing its functionality was the next step, I had never used a KitchenAid before. My unbreakable hand mixer, a gift from my mother when I moved into my first flat two decades ago, has been a loyal partner during all my kitchen adventures. I was a little nervous and decided to start with two easy recipes – Sunday morning pancakes and Sunday evening pizza. This allowed me to get used to the three different attachments. My hand mixer only has two, but my new beauty offers a whisk, a paddle, and a hook –  I needed a conference call with my sister to figure out when to use what.

Before I switched on the power, I had to call my boyfriend for this special moment. And this was our maiden voyage: I – rather the mixer – started beating the egg whites with such calm, persistence, and firm perfection that I thought I’d never touch my hand mixer ever again (sorry hand mixer). My next project – pizza dough – gave me the same satisfaction. The yeast dough was well mixed, smooth, and ready to be kneaded with my hands for a few minutes, which I always do to turn it into a soft and silky ball. I thought I’d use the time while the dough was getting mixed in the machine to prepare the toppings, however, I couldn’t help but sit next to it with a glass of rosé wine in my hand and watch it work with elated enthusiasm.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Our first KitchenAid pizza was such a great success that I made another one only three days later, but this time it was an oily pizza bianca topped with green asparagus, Italian salsiccia, and mozzarella di bufala. On our latest Saturday leisure trip, we went to the food market at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg in Berlin and enjoyed a luscious piece of very oily pizza bianca at Sironi. The baker, Mr. Sironi, went for a topping of broccoli, sausage, and mozzarella. It was very minimal and very good and a reminder that it’s time for a white pizza in my kitchen. I find it lighter and quicker to prepare and it tastes just as good when it’s cold, which makes it perfect for summer picnics or easy dinners on the balcony or in the garden. I’m really impressed by the simple combination of greens, mozzarella, and sausage. Asparagus is in season at the moment, but feel free to replace it with broccoli, leek, zucchini or whatever veg comes to your mind. You could also add a little garlic oil, which I don’t find necessary. But we’re talking about pizza, so everybody should just follow their personal preferences. Enjoy!

Click here for more pizza inspiration.

Thank you KitchenAid for helping me make my little kitchen dream come true!

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

I start to prepare the dough 2 hours before I bake the pizza to give it enough time to rise and I bake it on a hot baking sheet, which has a similar effect to a pizza stone.

Makes 2 pizzas

For the dough

plain flour 350g / 2 2/3 cups
fast-acting yeast 1 (7g / 1/4 ounce) envelope
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
water, lukewarm, 180ml / 3/4 cup
olive oil 6 tablespoons

For the topping

olive oil
green asparagus, trimmed, 14 young stalks
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
large Italian salsiccia sausage (or any other coarse sausage), skin removed and cut into chunks, 1
mozzarella di bufala, torn into chunks, 125 g / 4 1/5 ounces

For the dough, combine the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the lukewarm water and olive oil and knead on medium-high speed for a few minutes until well combined. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Transfer the dough to a table or countertop and continue kneading and punching it down with your hands for about 4 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough. Place the dough back in the mixer bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place, or preferably in a 35°C / 100°F warm oven, for about 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, prepare the topping: Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large, heavy pan and sauté the asparagus, turning occasionally, on medium-high heat for about 7 minutes. Season with flaky sea salt and crushed pepper to taste and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and divide into 2 parts. On a well-floured work surface or pizza peel, stretch or roll each piece of dough into a 28cm / 11″ disc. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 30 minutes or until puffy.

Place a baking sheet (or pizza stone) on the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to the highest temperature, 260°C / 500°F or higher.

Once the baking sheet is hot, carefully take it out of the oven, flip it over, and place it on a trivet or other heat-safe surface. Arrange 1 of the risen dough discs on the baking sheet and spread half the asparagus, salsiccia, and mozzarella di bufala on top. Push the asparagus gently into the dough. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a little flaky sea salt, and crushed pepper and bake on the bottom of the oven for about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp and the mozzarella is golden. Repeat to make the second pizza and serve hot or cold.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala


Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala


Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala


Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala


Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala









Mediterranean Sausage Sandwich with Rucola and Coriander Oil

Sausage Sandwich with Rucola and Coriander Oil

For this rich sandwich you need strong and tasty, coarse sausages, stuffed with flavours. Maltese sausage is ideal as it is the most aromatic and also the chunkiest sausage I’ve ever eaten. The meat is enhanced with lots of garlic, coriander seeds, spicy black peppercorns and parsley, while sea salt adds a strong saltiness. These sausages are perfect for a thick wintery vegetable soup, but in summer I like to have them in sandwiches. You could also use an Italian salsiccia which is also rich in flavours.

I like to fry the sausages first, then I deglaze them in the pan with a splash of wine, sweet wine even. I close the pan with a lid and let the meat cook in the juices until it’s still a bit pinky on the inside. When you fry them only, they tend to dry out as they need quite a few minutes to be cooked through, and I like them juicy! Some people here in Malta like to eat them raw, a habit I’m a bit suspicious of due to the hot climate, but the taste apparently is amazing, according to my friends!

For this week’s sandwich, I cut a crusty sourdough bun in half and brushed both sides with the cooking juices before I covered the bottom side with rucola (arugula or rocket salad) leaves and thick slices of juicy sausage. I sprinkled the meat with a bit of olive oil infused with coriander seeds and squeezed the bun together for it to soak all the nice and aromatic cooking liquids. This sandwich is quite hearty but the rucola and the coriander add a light summery feeling to it!

Sausage Sandwich with Rucola and Coriander Oil


Sausage Sandwich with Rucola and Coriander Oil

Mediterranean Sausage Sandwich with Rucola and Coriander Oil

For 2 sandwiches you need

crusty sourdough buns, cut in half, 2
thick, coarse sausages, preferably with herbs and spices like salsiccia, 2
rucola leaves, a handful
olive oil 3 tablespoons plus more for frying
coriander seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1/2 teaspoon
white wine for deglazing

Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan with the coriander seeds for a few minutes to infuse the oil.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and fry the sausages until golden brown on all sides. Deglaze with a splash of wine, close with a lid and cook for a few minutes until the meat is just a little pink on the inside. Cut the sausages into thick slices.

Brush both sides of the bun with the cooking liquid, cover with rucola leaves and spread the sausage slices on top. Sprinkle with the coriander oil and close the bun, pushing it together a bit.

Sausage Sandwich with Rucola and Coriander Oil


Sausage Sandwich with Rucola and Coriander Oil


Sausage Sandwich with Rucola and Coriander Oil

Spaghetti with Baked Ricotta, Salsiccia and Sage

Pasta, Baked Ricotta + Salsiccia

I love simple pasta recipes which allow you to create a great dinner in just a few minutes – no matter if it is a romantic dinner for two or a dinner party for eight. This is definitely one of them! You just need baked ricotta, Salsiccia, sage (I’m lucky, my sage plant still has a few leaves) and spaghetti. You can use any other coarse-cut sausage but the strong herbs of the Italian sausage fir perfectly to the milky ricotta. The mixture of garlic, fennel, coriander and nutmeg which is used for Salsiccia adds a nice variety of flavours.

If you prefer a vegetarian version you can just melt some butter in a pan and fry a few sage leaves for 1-2 minutes (they should become crisp but not dark otherwise they will taste bitter). Together with spaghetti and sprinkled with slices of baked ricotta, this makes a delicious dinner as well!

Pasta, Baked Ricotta + Salsiccia

Spaghetti with Baked Ricotta, Salsiccia and Sage

For 2 people you need

pasta, around 200g / 7 ounces
baked ricotta, around 100g / 3.5 ounces
Salsiccia, or any other strong and coarse-cut sausage, 2
a few leaves of sage
olive oil for frying
butter for frying, 20g / 3/4 ounce
white wine for deglazing
garlic, one clove, cut in half
pasta water
salt and pepper

Slice the baked ricotta thinly with a cheese slicer.

Rinse and dry the sage leaves and fry them in a small pan in hot butter for 1-2 minutes until crisp but still light in colour.

Cook the pasta and take out a cup of the pasta water after it has been cooking for a few minutes as we need some of this liquid for the sauce.

Heat some oil in a pan, add the garlic, and fry the sausages until golden brown. Deglaze with a dash of white wine and add a good splash of your pasta water. Leave the liquid in the pan but take the sausages out and cut them in pieces. Put them back into the pan together with the spaghetti and add the sage leaves with their butter. Mix and season with salt and pepper.

Divide everything between two big plates and sprinkle with the slices of baked ricotta. Buon Appetito!