We have some very close friends that run a Restaurant and Pizzeria in Itri. The Bellavista is situated up on a hillside overlooking Itri with a splendid view of the Castle and old town nestling in the beautiful Aurunci mountains.
The Bellavista is a family business run by two brothers, Giancarlo and Massimo, and their Mamma Anna. The restaurant has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and the tasty food is quite reasonably priced.
We are always made so welcome there and it is one of Kay and Elsie’s favourite places when they visit us in Itri, and we recommend it to many of our friends and guests.
Giancarlo and Monica have a sweet little girl named Chiara.
They already have Chiara helping in the kitchen to make pizzas from time to time !!!
Occasionally Massimo kindly gives our friends a lesson in the art of pizza making. It is not as easy as you may think. Here is Massimo teaching Bethan some of the special techniques.
The prepared dough had been been made the day before. It was shaped into small balls and had been covered with a damp cloth and left to prove overnight.
By the next evening the risen balls of dough were ready. A floured work surface was prepared and each one of the little rounds of dough had to be gently flattened by pressing out with the fingertips, whilst at the same time the dough had to be rotated to maintain a circular shape. Here Bethan is preparing some Focaccia.
Then Massimo demonstrated how he lifts up the dough and gently stretches it over his knuckles and over the backs of his hands, and as the pizza stretches more and more then over his lower arms. The dough has to be finely stretched and manipulated to become thin, almost transparent, without creating any holes.
Bethan was really getting the hang of it. Well done Bethan !!!
Bethan made her Focaccia into a heart shape and drizzled it with some olive oil which she spread over the surface with her finger-tips. Finally a sprinkling of sea salt and some finely chopped rosemary can be added if required. The next tricky stage is to get the dough onto the pizza paddle and to transport it to the wood fired oven, where it only needs a few minutes to cook.
“Eccoci qua“ – Bethan’s Focaccia.
All photos by me © Louise Shapcott
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