After working and travelling across Europe, accomplished chef David Ruggiero decided to move to Australia from Italy to further his skills and spread the good word of Italian cuisine. He was astonished at the general unfamiliarity many Australians had with the delights of traditional Italian cooking, and quickly made it his mission to introduce authentic dishes wherever possible. After working at Gianni’s Italian as its head chef, David expanded his horizons, taking over Red Hill’s Colle Rosso Ristorante Italiano, transforming the menu from a fine dining offering to something with a wider appeal (not to mention earning the award for Queensland’s Best Pizza Restaurant). After returning to his hometown of Rome for his wedding, David noticed a resurgence in prominence of pinsa – a traditional style of flatbread that was the genesis of pizza as we know it. Seeing an influx of pinsa joints proved to be the spark of inspiration for David’s next project and, upon his return, he set about establishing La Pinsa – Brisbane’s very first pinseria in the heart of Paddington with his business partners Robert and Paola.
If you’re curious about what makes pinsa so special, allow us to enlighten you. The pinsa recipe originated amongst the peasant populations of ancient Rome, with the composition and style evolving over the years. David has created his own recipe for his pinsa dough, which employs organic and GMO-free ingredients such as pre-washed wheat flour, soy flour, rice flour, a form of mother yeast and a lot of water. After a rising period of 48 to 72 hours, the resulting dough is fragrant, crispier once cooked, and is lower in carbohydrates, calories and fat. The dough at La Pinsa is made and imported from Italy by Molino Della Giovanna, and is ten times more digestible and lighter than modern pizza dough – meaning you won’t be left feeling heavy and lethargic after eating.
So, now you know why pinsa is becoming a big deal around the world, it’s time to try it for yourself. La Pinsa offers eight varieties of the dish, from classics like margherita and Sicilian, to pinsa topped with mozzarella, prawns, anchovies and capers, grilled zucchini and free-range pancetta, and fresh figs, red onion, goat cheese and vincotto. Rounding out the menu is a range of salads, sharing plates (including an Italian cured meat board), pasta and desserts. The pasta dishes include traditional bolognese, wild mushroom and black truffle, pork fennel sausage and wild mushroom, and tiger prawns and chilli served with your choice of biodynamic spaghetti alla chittara (square spaghetti), gnocchi (both gluten and gluten-free varieties) or penne. Although La Pinsa is currently BYO friendly, David hopes to obtain a liquor license for the restaurant, giving him the opportunity to showcase some of his favourite rare Italian wines sourced from small family businesses, as well as beer from Menabrea and La Pinsa’s own lager, brewed and imported by Peroni.
La Pinsa is open to the public for dinner Monday through Saturday. Check out the Stumble Guide for contact details and more information.