Like so many immigrants to the United States, Federico Venturini and his wife, Viola Tagliaferri, packed visions of the American dream when they decided to move to the Phoenix metro area from Gualdo Tadino, Italy, in December 2018. But they had another big vision: to open an authentic Italian restaurant when they arrived.
So, they did. The couple opened Pizzicata in Carefree in September 2019, and it was followed soon after by Cave Creek’s Pomodoro in 2020.
“We want everyone who walks into Pizzicata to feel our warm Italian hospitality,” Venturini says. “They should feel like they’re home. Our goal is to offer an amazing experience combined with memorable food and an exciting atmosphere.”
The food is memorable, in large part because the pair don’t simply serve pizza. They serve Pinsa Romana, and they were the first in the state to do it.
Made with 48 percent less sugar, 85 percent less fat and 100 percent less cholesterol than traditional pizza crust, Pinsa cuts out much of the “unhealthiness” associated with pizza, Venturini says.
“In addition, instead of merely using bread flour, Pinsa uses a mixture of high-quality, non-GMO wheat, rice and soy flours,” he adds. “What does this do? It creates a dough that is substantially higher in moisture, due to the wheat, while being crunchy and without animal fats, thanks to the rice and soy. Once all of these are combined, the dough is left to mature over 72 hours and break down into simple sugars, which gives us a substantially more digestible product.”
Digestible and delicious, that is. Popular Pizzicata Pinsas include the Vegetariana, which features roasted red pepper, eggplant, onion, mushrooms, tomato sauce, fresh garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, oregano and fresh mozzarella; the Alfredo, which spotlights gorgonzola, chicken and a creamy Alfredo sauce; and the Capricciosa, loaded with Italian sausage, ham, mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes and olives.
Of course, you’ll find plenty of other traditional comfort foods at Pizzicata — think spaghetti and meatballs, fettucine carbonara, lasagna al forno and more. That well-rounded menu combines with the Italian art and cheery red-checkered tablecloths that adorn the space, regular live music and solid cocktail offerings. Add a sunny, orange-umbrella-dotted patio, and the restaurant is a must-visit destination in Carefree’s Spanish Village.
“Although our Pinsa crust is what we’re well known for, all of our homemade ingredients definitely set us apart,” Venturini says. “We’re a little slice of Italy in the Sonoran Desert.”
7212 E. Ho Road