Neapolitan master pizza maker Enzo Coccia started his career in food by working in the family pizzeria from early childhood.
We caught up with him, to quiz him on his, very Italian as it turns out, desert island fare…
1. What’s your first memory of food?
My first memory is Frittata di Pasta – it’s a typical Neapolitan dish that my mother used to prepare and bring to the beach during summer holidays.
2. What’s the first recipe you learnt to cook?
Montanara. It’s a deep fried dough topped with Piennolo tomatoes. It’s simple, but incredibly tasty – the secret is in the tomatoes. The Piennolo cherry tomato are sweet and fragrant, they’re also exclusive to my hometown Naples, Italy. If you want to try them in the UK, Franco Manca use them at their pizzerias.
3. What’s the recipe you can’t live without?
There are too many to choose from, but I think it would be Neapolitan ragu. It’s dish that families in Naples have been cooking for generations. It’s comforting, full of flavour and transports me back to my childhood.
4. What’s the one ingredient you’d take on a desert island with you?
Extra virgin olive oil – the basis of any delicious meal. Full of flavour, it would transform anything I could forage on the island into something spectacular.
5. What’s the meal you’d miss the most?
It has to be pizza! I created one recently with Franco Manca – it’s inspired by the food from Naples and the Campania region of Italy. It features some of my favourite ingredients; ‘peperoncino dolce di fiume’ – a short, sweet pepper native to the Campania region in Italy, San Marzano Tomatoes D.O.P, Franco and Cantarelli Grana cheese, mozzarella and Gloucester Old Spot sausage. If I was stranded today, I think I would choose this pizza.
6. You can have a one-off dinner party on your island who would you invite?
I would invite the wonderful Paolo Sorrentino. He’s one of Naples’ most renowned film directors and has produced some of my most-loved movies; ‘Youth’, ‘The Great Beauty’ and ‘This Must Be The Place’. If you have never seen them, I would highly recommend – they are such beautiful pieces of cinema.
7. Which cookbook would you take with you, to the desert island?
I wouldn’t take a cookbook, I would take with me ‘Se Questo È Un Uomo’ or ‘If This Is a Man’ by Primo Levi. It’s his fascinating memoirs from the Second World War. I could read it a hundred times over.
Exclusive to sourdough pizza pioneer, Franco Manca, Enzo Coccia has created a new, limited edition No. 7 pizza. Developed in partnership with Ferrarelle, Coccia’s creation is available at all Franco Manca pizzerias from June 12th – September 25th 2018. Head to francomanca.co.uk for more information.
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