MORE PIZZA, FEWER POUNDS
Ribalta Chef Pasquale Cozzolino Shares His Pizza-Friendly Diet
Contrary to popular belief, pizza does not have to be “junk food.” So states Pasquale Cozzolino, chef and partner in Ribalta restaurant at 1080 Peachtree Street in Midtown.
The dough he uses for the Neapolitan pizzas comes from a carefully chosen flour mixture imported from Italy. After testing many pizza recipes, Cozzolino created a five-day fermentation process for the dough that breaks down gluten and results in a light, easily digestible crust, he explains.
That light crust also lightened Cozzolino himself, who last year garnered much national attention after losing almost 100 pounds in almost a year while including one of his simple, fewer-than-600-calorie pizzas in his diet every day. After appearances on “Good Morning America” and across the Internet, Cozzolino decided to share his pizza recipes with fans outside his restaurant in a book, The Pizza Diet, to be released this month by Galvanized Books.
“I wanted to show people that they could make healthy choices while still eating food they enjoy,” he says, adding that the book includes recipes and tips about how he lost the weight. Along with mouth-watering photographs of Cozzolino’s creations, the book also tells his story of moving to the United States from Naples, Italy, and opening a restaurant in New York City. Though he worked hard, he ate hard, too, and was determined to lose weight after a doctor warned him that he was a heart attack waiting to happen, Cozzolino says. “In a way, the book is a success story, sharing my journey of how I was able to lose the weight I gained by sticking to my roots,” he adds, “while also running a successful restaurant and sharing the food I know and love.”
The New York-based Cozzolino also loves visiting his restaurant in Atlanta about once a month. “It’s a great city that is constantly growing and on the rise right now,” he adds. “I think the city is very culturally diverse, and Ribalta offers a spot where the community can experience authentic Italian Neapolitan cuisine.”
BY: Melanie Lasoff Levs