Skip to main content

Pinsa, pizza’s Roman cousin, is about to take over: Everything you need to know

In need of a new pizza style? Well, pinsa is here — the Italian version that tends to be lighter, crispier, and so delicious

Pizza is an artform with a countless variety of artists and styles. So far, we’ve eaten our weight in everything from Columbus-style pizza to its tasty toast sibling. Turns out, we’re still making new discoveries — or at least unearthing old and forgotten styles and making them famous again.

What’s on the pizza plate right at this moment? Pinsa, the Roman version based on some age-old techniques but that’s only just recently gaining popularity. Pinsa pizza is enjoying a moment, certainly, but what exactly is it?

Related Videos
Some pinsa from Montesacro.

We reached out to pinsa guru Gianluca Legrottaglie, the founder of America’s first pinseria, Montesacro. The restaurant began in Brooklyn but now has three more locations, all based in California. He was kind enough to offer some insights on the Roman-style pizza.

For him, it all started back in Italy. “My father took me to a pinsa place in Rome around the time that I was about to start a Roman pizzeria in San Francisco,” he recalls. “I learned about pinsa for the first time during this trip to Italy and discovered this product that I was completely unaware of.”

He began to ask around to see if anybody was planning to ship this pizza concept over stateside and heard that nobody was. America loves pizza, and Legrottaglie saw an opportunity. “A combination of the characteristics and the quality of the pinsa, as well as the excitement of bringing something to the U.S. for the first time, got me very excited, which is why I decided to bring it to the States.”

Read on to learn a bit more about how pinsa differs from the pizza pack.

The history of pinsa

While styles similar to this have been around since the ancient Roman era, the particular brand of pinsa trending these days is not that old at all. In fact, in terms of Italian history, it’s basically an infant.

“Historically speaking, pinsa doesn’t go that far back,” Legrottaglie admits. “Corrado Di Marco invented pinsa in 2001. He has been in the flour industry for more than three generations. He was in search of something that was easier to digest than pizza, something that was lighter, more flavorful and just different in general. He researched and studied and came up with this combination of flour.”

The name comes from the Latin term “pinsere,” which means to stretch. As Legrottaglie suggests, the reference here is to the stretching of the dough. It’s all done by hand, and instead of being tossed or thrown like conventional pizza dough, it’s kneaded and stretched on the countertop. Of the many Italian pizza styles, pinsa may be the easiest to consume very large quantities of (and that’s saying something).

How pinsa differs from pizza

A pinsa from Montesacro with wine.

So how does pinsa stand alone when we’re talking about things like New Haven style, deep dish, or Spokane-style pizza? It begins with what goes into the style. “The flours used in pizza are 100% wheat flour while pinsa is made from soy, rice, and wheat flour,” Legrottaglie says. “Pinsa dough also proofs anywhere from 48 to 72 hours, or more. Because of the proofing and the usage of rice flour, the dough is crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.”

That makes for a decidedly lighter pizza, described by some as cloud-like. There’s more water content involved, so the result is airier in texture and contains fewer calories. “It’s much easier to digest than pizza, as well as lighter and more flavorful than pizza,” he continues. “The shape is also important. Pinsa is oval, whereas pizza is round or square. It’s incredibly versatile, but if you want to call it pinsa, you must respect the shape, size, weight, and flour used.”

Tips for making pinsa

It’s all about ingredients, as is typically the case, whether you’re making a great cocktail or cooking up a good stew. “My biggest tip to making pinsa dough at home is to buy the products from real, authentic sources,” says Legrottaglie. “You will not find pinsa flour in the supermarket. At Montesacro, we offer the dough for our guests to bring home.”
Because the dough is so light, pinsa can be made rather quickly. Legrottaglie estimates that at 450–500 degrees Fahrenheit, his batches will be ready in just five to seven minutes. If you’re going to make pinsa at home, keep in mind that you’ll need to start a few days in advance, as the dough takes a while to ready itself. We like the following recipe from Italian Recipe Book.


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 2/3 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Mix up flour, rice flour, and yeast in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk the mixture while slowly adding cold water. Then add salt and EVOO. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Cover the bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Mix again and let rest for another 30 minutes.
  5. Mix once more with a wooden spoon and cover. Place in fridge for 24 hours.
  6. Invert container to release the dough. Divide dough into two parts. Using your hands, make a round bowl out of each section of dough.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the dough balls on top and sprinkle some rice flour on top.
  8. Cover dough with a towel and allow to rise for 60 minutes.
  9. Add a little EVOO to the dough and use your hands to stretch the dough from the center outward, forming the signature oval shape.

Editors' Recommendations

Is erythritol harmful? What a dietitian says new data means for your Keto diet
Erythritol is common in many keto foods - what does that mean for your health?
erythritol in keto diet advice

While sugar substitutes have been around for more than a century, they didn't really become mainstream here in the United States until around the mid-70s. According to Carolyn De La Pena, professor of American Studies at UC Davis and author of Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda, between 1975 and 1984, Americans increased their consumption of artificial sweeteners by 150 percent. This timeline makes sense when you take into account that the late seventies coincided with the start of our crazed diet culture and the revolving door of fad diets.
One such diet that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, however, is the Keto diet. Still hugely popular among Americans trying to shed a few pounds, Keto focuses heavily on limited or no carbohydrates. Because sugar contains carbohydrates, followers of Keto have turned to artificial sweeteners to satisfy those late-night cravings - sweeteners that, more often than not, contain erythritol. Erythritol in particular has become hugely popular because it's much better for baking than other sugar substitutes, has less of an artificial flavor, and will keep the eater in Ketosis, which is key for losing weight on the Keto diet.
A new study has made waves recently because its findings indicate there's a link between erythritol and higher rates of heart attack and stroke (though the study did note that only an association was found — not causation. So should you be worried?
We asked Dan LeMoine, RD, the award-winning author of Fear No Food and the Clinical Director at Phoenix-based Re:vitalize Nutrition, what he had to say about erythritol, including its benefits and potential health risks. "Artificial sweeteners are still sweeteners. While many are non-nutritive or zero-calorie, we tend to view them similarly as we do regular sweeteners or sugars — moderation is key. While many have amazing implications on weight loss – being low to no-calorie options and having little impact on blood sugar, some have their downside," he says.

While some of that sugar substitution has been good for waistlines and health issues that come from obesity, it seems to be causing more and more concern when it comes to other potential health issues. "For example," says LeMoine, "some research indicates the popular sweeteners stevia may have negative effects on the gut microbiome. And the recent study showing correlation between the sugar alcohol, erythritol, and heart attack and stroke."

Read more
Feeling adventurous? 5 of the weirdest cocktails from around the globe
Would you order a cocktail with a pickled human toe? You can in Canada, apparently
unusual and unique cocktails sourtoe cocktail

We all love a good cocktail, but it's easy to tire of the classics. There's nothing wrong with a perfectly frosty, salted-rimmed margarita, or a warm-to-your-bones, cherry-topped old-fashioned, but sometimes, you just want something new. Something that makes you think. Something that, perhaps, gives you a chuckle. These are those cocktails.
Pig's Blood Piña Colada (USA)

Back in 2014, bartender Jason Brown of Chicago's Kinmont restaurant and bar, concocted this cocktail after listening to a Werewolves of London lyric about a werewolf drinking a pina colada. His creativity sparked, and the "Werewolves of London" cocktail was born.

Read more
These foods high in melatonin will help you sleep better
Get a better sleep naturally by eating these 9 melatonin foods
Hands holding wine grapes.

Getting a quality night's sleep becomes more and more of a challenge as we age. Some of us have tried blackout curtains, sleep masks, weighted blankets, or any number of supplements promising better rest. If you're looking for an all-natural solution, though, melatonin is the way to go. Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in the pineal gland in the brain. Among several functions, melatonin plays a key role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythms, or sleep-wake cycles. Accordingly, the pineal gland produces more melatonin when the sun goes down, and levels dip at daybreak. Foods high in melatonin or even melatonin supplements are a popular way to increase the concentration of melatonin and possibly improve the quality and quantity of sleep.
Melatonin supplements are typically non-habit-forming and safe for adults and children in doses of around 0.5 to 5 milligrams. However, melatonin supplements may cause drowsiness, nausea, and dizziness, and they can interfere with certain medications.

Fortunately, if you’re looking to support your body’s own natural melatonin levels but you don’t want to rely on supplements, there are several sleep-aid foods that contain melatonin. Adding any of these foods high in melatonin to your dinner plate or bedtime snack routine may help regulate your sleep patterns over time and help you get more restful sleep. Though little nutritional data exists about the specific concentration of melatonin in different foods, the following foods are known to be particularly high in melatonin.

Read more