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Friday, May 7, 2010

Bresaola And Radicchio Pizza

Bresaola and radicchio pizza... This is my favorite pizza to eat when I'm here in Stresa. Maybe because it's a pizza that I'd never heard of before... or maybe it's because it was the first dinner that I ever had here... or maybe just because it is that good.

Every tourist wants to eat pizza when they are here in Italy, and I am no different. One always wants to compare it to their pizza at home. For me, the differences were several. Here in Stresa, pizza was definitely a fork and knife food; there were no slices precut. And the large pie was intended to be a meal for one, all for me. So, I just began cutting and eating. The pie ordered for me was a bresaola and radicchio pizza, and although I've tried other pizzas since, this one remains my favorite. Bresaola are paper-thin slices of meat, beef or sometimes horse. They are not cooked but either dried or cured, and then shaved into thin pieces. They can be a little dry on their own, which is why they are generally served with something which contains a bit of olive oil, to moisten them up. And radicchio is red chicory, crisp and crunchy.

At first I thought perhaps this was a regional specialty, but it turns out that it's more a specialty of the Ristorante Nazionale, in Baveno, where we ate it. It's just one of many interesting combinations of toppings you can find on the pizza here. And although I am sure you may be able to find it again at other restaurants somewhere, I still haven't seen this pizza anywhere else except Nazionale. Therefore, you'll need to come here to try it. Or, if not this one, to discover your own favorite.

Ristorante Nazionale is on the lakefront in Baveno, just across the street from the imbarcadero. It's also an easy walk to all of Baveno's shops and the Chiesa di Santi Gervasio e Protasio.

Piazza Dante Alighieri, 17

+39 0323 924529.

This Ristorante Nazionale is not to be confused with Bar Nazionale in Pizza Cadorna in Stresa, where Gideon in our novel ate his favorite pizza, the quattro stagione, four seasons pizza. But both are excellent, and both worth the visit.


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