3 minutes reading


La Gatta Mangiona, one of Rome’s iconic pizzerias, celebrates this year its first 25 years of life. Its owner, Giancarlo Casa - surrounded by the many feline faces that observe him from the pictures hanging on the walls of his restaurant - does not hide his pride in his creation’s growth. It was born in 1999 as a bet, with the idea of revolutionising the concept of pizza, ennobling it with the use of high quality ingredients and unusual combinations.

Today, La Gatta Mangiona is a point of reference for gourmet pizza lovers and inside this place you can still breathe a familiar air, without a lot of unnecessary frills. At the centre of this new episode of Pizza Slow, there is Prosciutto del Casentino, a Slow Food Presidium that Gianfranco has made the most out of in his recipes.


So let us make a stop in Tuscany to taste a Slow Food Presidium with a long history: we can find evidence of Prosciutto del Casentino in some 19th-century texts. Already at that time, in the upper Arno basin, a number of dark-coated pigs grazed wild or semi-wild and were bred for the production of fine hams. And today, in the “Le Selve di Vallolmo” farm, we find the Grigio del Casentino pigs, a breed of excellence, obtained by crossing the Large White and the Cinta Senese.

The breeding also reflects the customs of the past: the pigs, owned by the Orlandi family, are free to wander in the Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, feeding on what they find. They reach a weight of 180-200 kilos, developing an excellent percentage of noble fats, which give the ham, also known for its particular slightly elongated shape, a characteristic meltiness with flavours that recall the scents of the forest where these animals live: notes of acorn, toasted fruit and cellar.


What do you like about Prosciutto del Casentino? "It is a product I know quite well, whose quality is undeniable, linked to the breed of pigs and the way they are raised, free to graze and feed on what nature offers. This is particularly noticeable from the fat of this ham: when it responds in a certain way to heat, both in terms of taste and tenderness, it means that the pig has been fed at its best."

How do you use it? "I prefer to use it strictly raw, letting the heat from the other ingredients warm it up and soften it. Cooking devalues it, so in the recipes I will propose, you will only see it in action out of the oven, so that only little heat reaches it."

How do you store it? "I only cut the ham I use at that moment and if I plan to use it again the next day I wrap it in transparent film. If, on the other hand, I know I will be using it again in a while, I prefer to vacuum-pack it. Once it has been opened, it is still better to store it in the cold store, at 4°C."

How do you cut it? "With a slicing machine, in not too long slices, thin but not too fine, to keep the texture in the bite."

In which season is it most suitable?  "It is perfect for all seasons, but in this issue I have designed some pizza and focaccia recipes for mainly a summer use."

What combinations have you studied and why? "I thought of two focaccias and a pizza for the hot season, which highlight the qualities of Prosciutto del Casentino, rigorously used after cooking. I like to play with bold combinations, which also bring in fruit. The first recipe, Focaccia “Crudo & More”, is a mix of different tastes, between sweet, sour and savoury. The Pizza “Sole d’Agosto” and the Focaccia “Rustica”, on the other hand, play on the combination of cured meats with vegetables: in the former case savoury peppers, in the latter aromatic artichokes in oil combined with a fresh misticanza, with the sweetness of spinach and the spiciness of rughetta to complete."



Ingredients: Cuor di Burrata “Stracciatella” Caseificio Olanda 70 g (0,88€); Salt caramelised blackberries 40 g (0,90€); Prosciutto del Casentino 50 g (3,48€)

Food Cost pizza: 5,26 € + dough cost

Chef’s notes: “The result on tasting is a nice round bite, in which the fresh sweetness of the stracciatella blends with the acidulous sweetness of the blackberry and the savouriness of the flakes of prosciutto: a colourful dish that is pleasing not only to the palate but also to the eyes.


Ingredients: Fiordilatte Pizzeria Latteria del Molise 90 g (0,85€); Peperoni a Filetti Grigliati Casa Marrazzo 90 g (0,88€), seasoned with garlic and parsley; Prosciutto del Casentino 50 g (3,48€)

Food Cost pizza: 5,21 € + dough cost

Chef’s notes: “The base is classic, with Fior di Latte, which we then garnish as it comes out of the oven, arranging peppers in a radial pattern alternating with flakes of ham, that becomes a little translucent due to the heat of the mozzarella.



Ingredients: Grilled artichokes in slices 100 g (1,10€); Casentino ham 60 g (4,18€); green misticanza 40 g (0,40€)

Food Cost pizza: 5,68 € + dough cost

Chef’s notes: “A recipe suitable for the warm months, where a focaccia base is enriched with a surprising topping. The aromaticity of the artichokes meets the savouriness of the ham and the sweet and spicy notes of the misticanza.