Focaccia Genovese (basic Focaccia recipe with variations)
Basic Focaccia recipe:
1kg pizza flour
75gr fresh yeast
half a glass of white wine
half a glass of Ligurian extra virgin olive oil (light and fruity)
Extra virgin olive oil
Pile most of the flour onto a large board, make a well in the centre and put the yeast and. Work and knead into a smooth paste. put into a bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise. When risen, make another well in the centre and put in the remaining flour, the wine and the olive oil. Knead well until you have a soft dough. If the dough isn't quite soft enough, add a little tepid water. Rest the dough for about four hours. Roll the dough out to fit a rectangular baking tray about 2 inches deep - the dough should be rolled no thinner than half an inch (Friciula should be much thinner)and the baking tray really generously oiled. With your fingers, make indentations in the surface of the dough, and pour over an equal quantity each of olive oil (extra virgin, of course!) and water. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over. This recipe says cook in a cool oven, but most of the others say a hot oven for 40 - 45 minutes, or until risen, slightly golden, and the liquid has disappeared. The focaccia should not have a thick crust, but a thin, crisp surface.
Variations: with fresh sage: when you add the wine, also add finely chopped sage.
With onions: sweat white onions down almost to a cream and spread on top of the focaccia before baking.
with anchovies, fresh origano and garlic: chop these very fine, and spread evenly over the top of the focaccia before baking.
With tomatoes: top with very ripe sliced tomates. This version is called 'pizza rossa' - red pizza.
You can slice cold focaccia in half lengthways and make delicious sandwiches - toasted hot, or cold
These are the typical Ligurian focaccias. Liguria is the region of the Italian Riviera, and Genoa is the main city, but focaccia is very popular and is eaten all over Italy and elsewhere as well.
In reply to your other questions, prosciutto is air-dried leg of pork, while pancetta is cured belly pork - what we call streaky bacon. You use cubed pancetta for spaghetti alla carbonara (I have a great recipe for that), and thinly sliced pancetta is eaten like prosciutto. I had some the other day on black bread - delicious. Prosciutto di San Daniele and prosciutto di Parma are the kings of prosciutto - delicious with canteloupe melon, fresh figs, good in 'Saltimbocca alla Romana' and a very fine addition to many recipes. There is, for me, nothing better than a lunch of fine prosciutto, good salami, fresh bread and excellent red wine: one of the real pleasures of life.
Who would like the recipe for spaghetti alla carbonara?