There is such a love for bread products in Italy that the types of bread people have invented are numerous. Focaccia is one of them, a kind of flatbread that has been in use for centuries. The name comes from the Latin word ‘focus’, which vaguely means fireplace, where the focaccia was baked.
There are many versions of focaccia, depending on the region in Italy. Probably one of the oldest recipes is from Liguria, thick and rich, sometimes topped with onions, or sometimes sliced in two and filled with creamy cheese and green vegetables.
In Rome, we have a version also called pizza bianca, chewy, a bit scorched and very rich in olive oil. In Puglia the fantasy went the extra mile, and the soft, pillowy focaccia baked there has an incredible secret ingredient: the flour is mixed with a boiled potato. The boiling water of the potato is also used in the mix! The potato is rich in starch, which helps retain the humidity in the dough, giving an airy and soft consistency to the focaccia: it will be perfectly cooked and raised inside and a little crusty on the outside.
Focaccia has become extremely popular around the world, and available in many restaurants and bakeries. But it is extremely simple to make at home, and the smell of a focaccia baking in the oven is priceless.
Focaccia is usually prepared with white wheat flour but can become a nutritious and satisfying food when topped with healthy ingredients, like fresh tomatoes and onions, or grilled zucchini, or any other roasted vegetables. It is still a food high in carbs – to be enjoyed in moderation. If you want to part with tradition, I suggest using whole grain flour for a healthier version of the focaccia.
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For 4 Servings
1 cup Carnaroli rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of EV Olive Oil
½ glass of white table wine
1 pint chicken stock preprepared (or vegetable stock)
1 cup rinsed blueberries
1 cup roasted chestnuts or more, chopped in big pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese (optional)