Chef Recipes

3-Michelin-Star Escarole Pizza Recipe by Antonino Cannavacciuolo

Alessandra Meldolesi
copertina pizza scarole cannavacciuolo

Christmas Eve in Naples means escarole pizza: a light lunch, anticipating festive seafood dinners. For Neapolitans away from home, like Antonino Cannavacciuolo, it evokes childhood memories, providing a kind interpretation.

The story

Simple is delicious: the origins of escarole pizza date back to ancient times in Naples, known as the food of the poor who couldn't even afford pasta. Before pasta, there were "mangiafoglie" (leaf eaters) in the alleys, sustaining themselves with bitter greens like broccoli rabe and escarole, fried in lard by the women of the lower classes. Vincenzo Corrado is credited with mentioning the specialty for the first time in 1773. In "Il cuoco galante," he includes a recipe among vegetarian or Pythagorean dishes, fried and dusted with sugar, featuring blanched escarole and flavorful anchovies. Over time, baking became the norm, without forsaking the rich and sweet-sour flavors.

The dish 

antonino cannavacciuolo ritratto

Antonino Cannavacciuolo has childhood memories tied to this dish, as explained by Chef Vincenzo Manicone of Cannavacciuolo Café & Bistrot in Novara. "It's a 'clever,' intelligent recipe designed to make children or those not particularly fond of vegetables appreciate them. In the original version, the dough is made with lard, a key ingredient in many traditional Campanian dishes. Chef Cannavacciuolo, however, substitutes lard with extra virgin olive oil, making the pizza more flavorful and undoubtedly lighter."

Chef Vincenzo Manicone1
Vincenzo Manicone

"As for the filling, there are two ways to make it: according to the original recipe, the escarole is cooked directly in the pot with garlic and anchovies, giving the dish a strong and bitter flavor. But there's another way, which is what I recommend because it tones down the filling's taste: blanch the escarole, boil it separately, squeeze it, let it cool, and then season it with pine nuts, anchovies, raisins, and garlic. This creates a pizza with a more delicate taste because the bitterness of the salad disappears with blanching. It's a tasty and complete dish, best served neither hot nor cold: tradition dictates that it's prepared in the morning and consumed in the evening at room temperature." The pairing is regional, with a glass of Falerno or Falanghina.

Antonino Cannavacciuolo's escarole pizza 

Pizza di scarola Stefano Fusaro

Ingredients FOR 8 PEOPLE

For the dough

  • 600 g of all-purpose flour
  • 150 ml of milk
  • 150 ml of water
  • 15 g of brewer's yeast
  • 130 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 g of salt


Dissolve the brewer's yeast in 50 ml of warm water (between 30 and 40 °C). In a food processor, mix the flour, yeast, milk, and the remaining water; add the oil and, towards the end, the salt. Knead until smooth. Form a ball and place it in a large bowl, covering it with plastic wrap. Let it rise for about 2 hours at room temperature.

For the filling 

  • 2 heads of smooth escarole
  • 15 g of anchovies in oil
  • 10 g of golden raisins
  • 20 g of pine nuts
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 40 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Carefully wash and dry the escarole on absorbent paper, then cut it into pieces about 3 cm long. In a pan, sauté the garlic clove in oil, removing it when golden, and add the anchovies until they dissolve. Add the escarole, previously soaked golden raisins, and pine nuts. Adjust with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, drain excess water, and let it cool.

For browning 

  • 1 egg yolk
  • Milk as needed


Divide the risen dough in half and roll it out with a rolling pin. Grease a round baking pan and line it with one of the halves; pierce it and fill it with the filling. Close it all by covering with the other disc and pierce it. Brush with the slightly diluted egg yolk in milk and bake at 180 °C for about 45 minutes. Allow it to cool before serving.

antonino Cannavacciuolo Discovery plus

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