The Oxford Companion to Italian Food defines pizza as “a flattened lump of bread dough, usually round, flavored with whatever comes to hand–oil, cheese, herbs, or onion–and cooked in a hot wood-fired oven.” I’m with the author for the first third of that sentence, but the rest is too narrow and therefore overlooks that pizza, like all traditional foods we actively consumer today, is in a constant state of evolution. The aforementioned definition also excludes the charcoal oven baked masterpieces of my beloved New Haven, so it’s gotta go!

Last week my friend Jeremy Parzen of Do Bianchi and I hit up a place in Rome where pizza evolution (some might even say revolution) is in the making. La Fucina, brainchild of Edoardo Papa, turns out pies that look little like what you might encounter at other pizzerias in town. As Jeremy observed in this post on the place, “the dishes were more like savory flatbread than pizza” and, in the end, neither of us were really sure how to feel about this place. Oh, the conflicting feelings!

On the one hand, I like the philosophy La Fucina shares with many of the other “boutique pizzerias” in Rome like Sforno and La Gatta Mangiona. They all utilize exceptional flour and antique starters and employ long rising and quality toppings. Incidentally, all of them boast interesting beer, wine, and distillati lists.

I also like La Fucina’s serving style: pizza is sliced into six wedges so the whole table can share. Jeremy and I ordered two pies–the classic margherita and one with mushrooms, mortadella and Bronte pistachios.

The cons? Both pies felt more like open-faced sandwiches than traditional pizzas. The flavors were great and the ingredients were top notch, but I am a pizza purist and want the dough and the toppings to mingle more fluidly with one another. I also prefer melted cheese to the raw, albiet delicious, chunks of mozzarella strewn atop the margherita‘s pulpy tomato sauce. I would urge others to go try it for themselves, bring a group so they can try lots of pies, and report back.

And now, if I may, I would like to shout-out my friend Michael Housewright who introduced Jeremy and I in the first place. Michael just launched a new blog and you can check it out here. And if you don’t already, follow Jeremy at @dobianchi on Twitter.

La Fucina
Via Giuseppe Lunati 25/31
06/559-3368
Mon-Sat 7:30-11:30 p.m.
www.pizzerialafucina.it