Last month Mr S and I were in Buenos Aires. I knew Argentina was originally a Spanish colony but never realized how Italian immigrants influenced the makeup of food until we visited. For sure, regional dishes can be found (parrilla) but surprisingly, day-to-day eating is dominated by la dolce vita. I read that 40% of the population are descendants of Italy and estimates at 1.4 million speak Italian. Who knew? So, here we were in a Spanish-speaking country where you’re just as likely to hear Italian. Oh, and the Argentines LOVE their pizza! Similar to the original Italian version, the base is often a slightly thicker, doughier, and topped with loads of cheese. Fugazza is their version of pizza or what closely resembles focaccia.
Looking back on our trip, I now wish we ate fugazza but at the time thought why have pizza when you can eat it back home? Besides, Argentina is famous for its meat and Argentines consume 60kg of it per year! I was intrigued how the asado differed from the way we use a barbeque. But I digress. Fugazza typically is topped with fried onion and a generous sprinkling of dried oregano – similar to focaccia. Other ‘tarted up’ versions include cheese (usually parmesan and mozzarella), chopped olives, ham slices. My version is an attempt to keep it autentico with two toppings added (cheese and olives).
pizza dough (homemade or purchased)
3 to 4 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup olives, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons dried oregano
Preheat oven to 450f. In a large frying pan add a splash of olive oil and onions. Cook over medium heat and allow onions to soften but don’t brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Place dough on a floured surface and use your fingers to spread it out. Transfer to cooking pan and stretch a bit more; around 12 to 14-inches (or just eye it). Add a splash of olive oil and smear all over pizza dough then add onions. Sprinkle oregano and olives. Top with cheese; you can mix the two or on top of each other. Place in oven and cook 15 to 20 minutes until golden and puffed.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: If Buenos Aires is on your list of places to visit, I highly recommend it. Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America. It’s a walkable city, a haven for foodies, cultural events, theater, milonga (traditional tango outdoors), stunning architecture, music, art. Enjoy!