Amalia Costantini is a pizza chef who has opened a pizzeria in 2015 called Mater, together with her husband Fabio, in the town of Fiano Romano, about 30 kilometers from the northernmost part of Rome. Opening a place in the lesser known town instead of the capital had been a gamble but her faith in Fiano Romano is strong because she grew up in that town. She knows the place inside and out, and she can keep the sources of the fresh produce that she uses at kilometer zero – from her own father’s garden and trusted local farms in the town and nearby Capena.
Mater means mother. In this regard, Amalia chose this name for her pizzeria for the fundamental reason that she chooses to use mother dough (lievito madre) as the starter for her pizzas. In addition to that, Amalia regards her motherhood to her three children as the most beautiful thing in the world. Becoming a parent at a young age, she found work at a textile company out of necessity, an opportunity that she used to express her creative flair. Cooking had always been a great part of her life as she recounts her afternoons in the past being spent with her two grandmothers in the kitchen.
Formalizing her culinary education, she took a course at TuChef in Rome with Chef Anna Maria Palma as her instructor where she learned about the mother dough. Enthralled with the concept of mother dough, she poured her time in researching and understanding it. At Mater, she makes Neapolitan pizza which are revisited in her own way. The flour she uses is Molasala, the only flour in Italy that is made from ancient grains grown through non-tilled farming, an agricultural method that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has been promoting for years. It’s a technique for growing crops without disturbing the soil through tillage to preserve biodiversity and avoid desertification of the fields. The dough that Amalia makes rests for a minimum of 24 hours and reaching a maximum of 48 hours at certain times, which are then gently baked in an electric pizza oven at 330° for 3 minutes. The result has a crunchiness in the outer layer with high digestibility.
Each pizza is a work of art topped with raw materials that are well-chosen for their high quality. They are presented already sliced into 8 parts which are ideal for sharing for those who want to embark on a pizza tasting journey. Artisan producers like Azienda Agricola Scialanga provide the fiordilatte while the capocollo comes from Romanelli of Martina Franca, the eggs come from Solenti Clivi, and guanciale from Sauris.
The appetizers (€3.50 to €8) start with a variety of the typical Roman fried food, supplì, in which the Carnaroli rice is steamed in the oven and the breadcrumb-coating coming from the homemade bread made with ancient grains. They include the classic version with the ragú cooked for 8 hours; the polpettine Mater which are disassembled Olive Ascolane; Avezzano potato croquettes; pulled pork lollipops; and timballo of gricia is made with bucatini from the Graziani pasta factory, guanciale and Roman pecorino DOP served on a pecorino fondue. The pizza proposals, on the other hand, range from classic to creative and underlined with the seasonality. Seafood pizzas (around €30) have their own space in the menu like the Polpo (Octopus) topped with slices of octopus carpaccio, pistachios from Bronte, ricotta and pepper; and the Carpaccio Salmone topped with salmon carpaccio marinated with emulsion of extra virgin olive oil, onions from Tropea and ricotta. The classics (€15 to €25) include Margherita; Spilinga which has ‘nduja of Spilinga, Taggiasche olives, firodilatte and chili; Burrata & Crudo with prosciutto of Parma aged 24 months; or Sauris topped with stracciatella, black truffles, crispy smoked Sauris guanciale and caramelized artisan tomatoes.
At Mater, Amalia and Fabio make sure that all their clients stay well, down to the smallest details. Yes, it is definitely about the pizza but it is also about over-all experience. Reminiscent of a cozy country-style salon, the immaculately spic and span place conveys warmth to its diners with a relaxed ambience.
Hard work has been paving the way to success for Amalia with the numerous recognition and awards from gastronomic guides like receiving “3 Spicchi” from Gambero Rosso, Identità Golose, 50 Top Pizza, Espresso and with the “Best Pizzerias of 2023” award for Pecora Nera. Pizzamaking is a dominantly masculine world but Amalia was able to imprint her name among the best which makes Amalia unique in her sector. “I believe in the traditions of the past and I want to carry them forward,” says Amalia. Mater has placed 67th in the 50 Top Pizza Italy 2022.
Address: Via Pier Paolo Pasolini, 00065 Fiano Romano (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 0765480785