Pizza
Fugazzeta

The Pizza Fugazzeta is a mozzarella-stuffed pizza topped with onions - it is an Argentine icon created from the meshing of Italian and Argentinian cuisines.

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The Spruce / Julia Hartneck

Fugazzeta is a variation of the popular Argentinian treat called fugazza, which is an onion-topped pizza that is very similar to Italian-style focaccia. Fugazzeta is a double-crusted version of fugazza, stuffed with cheese, and topped with the same sweet onions

Half of the Argentine population comes from Italian descendants, so it makes sense that pizza is such a big deal. Working-class immigrants brought it over in the late 1800s starting with Naples native Nicolas Vaccarezza, who made the first documented pizza in his La Boca bread oven in 1882. He topped the dough with accessible and affordable ingredients, which in Argentina meant cheese and tomatoes. Over the next decades, immigrants continued to settle and the city experienced an explosion of pizzerias that strayed far from its Italian origins.

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The Pizza Fugazzeta was invented by Banchero, an Italian immigrant, whose legacy is well known in the Argentine community. Banchero was one of the pioneer families in La Boca; a place where many Italian families immigrated between 1880 and 1920. The Banchero family arrived in 1883 from Genoa and it was Don Agustín who started the business but with a bakery. The generation that followed him is the one that invented the Fugazzeta Pizza.

The story goes something like this: Juan Banchero, son Italian baker Don Agustín, tried to save his dry, sub-par fugassa alla Genovese (Genoese focaccia) by slicing it down the middle and stuffing it with cheese. The result: a tomato-less pizza like none other that averages nearly two pounds of cheese per large pizza. This is how the pizza was created and then the slogan "El rey de la fugazza con queso" - "The king of the Fugazza with cheese."

In 1932 Juan Banchero opened the first of the pizzerias on the same corner that he occupies today, between the corner of Suárez y Almirante Brown avenue - "La Pizzería Banchero" and is where he worked with his sons, Antonio and Tito. Hugo is the third generation and son of Antonio. The great-grandchildren continue the legend, with a location in Miami. In Buenos Aires exist other two other stores, one on Corrientes Avenue and the other in Pilar.


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Hugo Banchero en su pizzería del barrio de La Boca. Foto: Maxi Failla

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Types

There are 3 types: Fugazza, Fugazzeta and Fugazzeta rellena. The fugazza is a pizza de molde smothered in onions and topped with olive oil, salt, and sometimes just a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. The fugazza con queso or fugazzeta is the same as the first except there's an added mozzarella cheese-bonus on top. Taking it to the next level, the fugazzeta rellena (stuffed fugazzeta) is what food dreams are made of: It's stuffed with an obscene dose of queso de barra mozzarella and covered in sweet, soft onions. Add an extra thin slice of deli ham to the cheese and you have the fugazzeta rellena con jamón.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 onion
  • 6 to 8 ounces mozzarella cheese (thinly sliced)
  • Optional: 1/3 cup aged provolone cheese (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
1.
Gather the ingredients.
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2.
In a small pot over medium heat, warm the milk to 100 to 105 F.
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3.
Place warmed milk in a small bowl and stir the sugar into the milk. Sprinkle the yeast over the sugar milk mixture, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes, until mixture is bubbly.
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4.
Place the flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer and mix together briefly using the dough hook. Add the yeast/milk mixture and begin to knead, adding the water gradually. The mixture should come together as a soft, stretchy dough, pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Add a bit more flour if the mixture is too wet, and add a bit more water if the mixture seems dry, crumbly, or overly firm.
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5.
Knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until dough is smooth, soft and elastic.
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6.
Oil a bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise on the counter until doubled in size.
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7.
While the dough is rising, peel and slice the onion into very thin strips. Place them in a bowl of cold salt water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain onions well and dry them with paper towels.
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8.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide dough into two pieces. Roll each half into a smooth ball.
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9.
Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a 12-inch pizza pan or cast iron skillet. Place one ball of dough in the middle of the pan and flatten gently with your fingers. Let dough relax for 10 minutes.
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10.
Continue to flatten dough into the pan, flattening it and pushing it toward the sides of the pan, letting it relax in between until dough covers the bottom of the pan. Oil the counter and roll the other piece of dough into a 12-inch circle, letting it relax in between until it holds its shape.
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11.
Preheat oven to 450 F. Place the slices of mozzarella cheese over the dough in the pan. Sprinkle the provolone over the mozzarella. Place the other round of dough over the cheese and seal the edges of the two dough circles together.
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12.
Top the pizza with the sliced onions. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the onions, and sprinkle with the dried oregano and some Parmesan cheese.
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13.
Place the fugazzeta in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and crispy. Brown the onions under the broiler for the last 3 minutes of cooking if desired.
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14.
Remove from the oven. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into slices to serve.
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