by Zaira


(For 4/5 little pizzas or 2 middle-sized pizzas)


  • 200 g Amio green little lentils
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbs cumin powder
  • 7/8 slices of pumpkin
  • 2 fresh fennel tops
  • 2 red Tropea onions
  • 150 ml tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil


  1. Rinse and drain the dried lentils (no need to soak them) and put them in a pot together with 1 liter of cold water ( 500 ml for 100 g of lentils). Bring to the boil and cook them at low heat, with the lid on, for 20 minutes. Drain them and let them chill in a bowl.
  2. Wash the pumpkin thoroughly, scoop out the seeds and fiber and rinse it again. Leaving its skin on (if the pumpkin is organic you can eat it!) cut it into approx. 1cm slices. Cover a baking tray with oven-proof paper and lay the pumpkin slices on it. Put the tray in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 C° till tender, then chill.
  3. Blend lentils with salt, cumin powder and pepper by using an immersion blender.
  4. In a bowl add an egg to the lentils dough and stir until everything is well mixed. You should obtain a uniform and not too soft batter.
  5. Cover a second baking tray with some parchment paper. Split the lentils dough in equal parts, depending on how many pizzas you want to get. Using a spoon make some balls of dough and lay them on the baking tray. Press the balls with the back of the spoon to obtain about 0,5 cm thick circles.
  6. When you take the pumpkin slices out of the oven, place the pizzette (little pizzas) into the oven and bake them for 15 minutes at 180 C°.
  7. While the pizzette are in the oven, peel the onions and slice them thinly. Sautè them quickly in a pan with oil for a few minutes.
  8. Wash the fennel tops and cut them roughly with a knife. Cut roasted pumpkin slices into pieces, too.
  9. Remove the pizzette from the oven and spread them with the tomato sauce, then garnish with onions, pumpkin pieces and fresh fennel tops.
  10. Place the pizzette back in the oven and grill them just for 5 minutes until their surface becomes golden brown.

The remembrance of the warm sun accompanies us more and more like a desire in the first autumn days. The seasons remind us of the perpetual change of things, and so does food.

While the pumpkin's leaves wither, something new is growing out of the ground.

The idea of preparing something that might still be close to summer but in accordance with the flavors and colors of autumn pleased me. The little green lentils were perfect, and so was the word “pizza"... like always.
Someone once told me with some amazement that I could cook anything, even with almost no ingredient. And as far as pizza is concerned – if you still can call it that way – I think it's true. Just give me some lentils and I'll make pizza, ladies and gentlemen!

Sometimes I like to follow an idea starting from just one good and healthy ingredient, then the others will come accordingly. The season brings some of them, like a gift which is lovingly left on the kitchen balcony, still dirty of soil and bathed by the frost.

When the first cold weather seems to enter your bones, the desire to light the fireplace again after the summer break and give that warm scented touch to the house seems to be a comforting call.

I seek not only warmth but also colors, which have always been part of my life as something you can catalogue with specific names and reduce into thin powders that are kept with care into small jars in the atelier, near the brushes.
I find some of them in the red onions which seem coated by a precious lacquer, in the pumpkin golden pulp and among the tender and bright fennel tops.
That is the set of varieties which is laid on my kitchen wooden table top, where the lentils slip like little carnival confetti, ready to sneak into the hidden folds of my wool sweater.

My fingers become yellow by touching the pumpkin pulp, my eyes water because of the onions and a steam cloud curls my hair a bit. My dresses are stained, the cumin powder slips under my nails, my fingers are cut and my boots are always muddy because the garden requires me too often. But if it wasn’t so, it wouldn't be me.
I identify with all these things and also with my impatience to taste the pizzette (little pizzas) which are still in the oven and will be, for me, the right way to welcome the new season and everything that it will bring.

I'm Zaira Zarotti,

Photographer and Visual Storyteller, author of the blog The Freaky Table.

To me, the ephemeral beauty of daily simple things, amongst which food certainly plays an important role, are the pretext for personal soul searching and a visual study. Food is sustenance, but it's also culture and it represents us much more than we can imagine. To me, there is no limit to imagination when pulses in the kitchen are concerned. Today, even more then in the past, legumes are the ethic proteinic response to everyone's food needs, without wastage of massive resources for the benefit of few. They hold memories of ancient wisdom and new buds of awareness. They represent a sustainable and respectful future.. and the Earth is grateful.