Pizza (pronounced /?pits?/ listen (helpinfo), in Italian: ['pit.tsa]) is the name of an oven-baked, flat, usually round bread covered with tomato pure and often mozzarella cheese, with other toppings left optional. While originating as a part of Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many different parts of the world. A shop or restaurant where pizzas are made and sold is called a "pizzeria" (from Italian) although the phrase "pizza parlor" is also used in the United States and Canada.
Various toppings may be added, most typically:
* sauce, traditionally tomato-based but pesto, alfredo, barbecue sauce, and occasionally even ketchup are also used;
* cheese, usually mozzarella but also provolone or a blend of other cheeses;
* herbs and seasonings such as basil, oregano, and garlic;
* vegetables such as artichoke hearts, mushrooms, eggplant, olives, onions and spinach;
* meat, such as sausage (pepperoni, salami or Italian sausage), ham, bacon, ground beef, and chicken, or seafood such as anchovies, tuna, and shrimp;
* fruit, including tomatoes, banana peppers, jalapeos and pineapple.
In some pizza recipes the tomato sauce is omitted (termed "white pizza"), or replaced with another sauce (usually garlic butter, but sauces can also be made with spinach or onions). In the Philadelphia area there are also tomato pies sauce only, or sauce with ripe Roma tomatoes and spices but no cheese and upside-down pizzas, i.e., the cheese on the bottom and topped with sauce. Pizza is normally eaten hot (typically at lunch or dinner), but is sometimes eaten as cold leftovers.
Main article: History of pizza
Bases and baking methods
The bread base of the pizza (called the "crust" in the United States and Canada) may vary widely according to style: thin as in hand-tossed pizza or Roman pizza, thick as in pan pizza, or very thick as in Chicago-style pizza. It is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with butter, garlic, or herbs, or stuffed with cheese.
In restaurants, pizza can be baked in a gas oven with stone bricks above the heat source, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven. On deck ovens, the pizza can be slid into the oven on a long paddle called a peel and baked directly on the hot bricks or baked on a screen (a round metal grate, typically aluminum). When making pizza at home, it can be baked on a pizza stone in a regular oven to imitate the effect of a brick oven. Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like Chicago-style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.
In home-made pizza, there are many variations on the bread used for crust. In some countries, creations such as french bread pizza, pita pizza, bagel pizza, matzo pizza, and tortilla pizza are popular, especially with children. In Japan, where full-size ovens are a rarity in the home, pizza toast is a popular version.
Types of pizza
In the 20th century and onward, pizza has become an international food and the toppings may vary considerably in accordance with local tastes. These pizzas consist of the same basic design but include an exceptionally diverse choice of ingredients, such as anchovies, egg, pineapple, banana, coconut, sauerkraut, eggplant, kimchi, lamb, couscous, chicken, fish, pierogies, french fries, shellfish, meats prepared in styles such as Moroccan lamb, shawarma or chicken tikka masala, and non-traditional spices such as curry, cilantro, cumin, and Thai sweet chili. Pizzas can also be made without meat for vegetarians, and without cheese for vegans. Breakfast pizzas are topped with ingredients such as scrambled eggs. "Supreme" pizzas typically include a thick layer of many different toppings.
Neapolitan Pizza Marinara.
Neapolitan pizza (pizza Napoletana). Authentic Neapolitan pizzas are made with local ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, made with the milk from water buffalo raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio in a semi-wild state (this mozzarella is protected with its own European Protected designation of origin). According to the rules proposed by the Associazione vera pizza napoletana, the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of Italian wheat flour (type 0 and/or 00), natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer's yeast, salt and water. For proper results, strong flour with high protein content (as used for bread-making rather than cakes) must be used. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other mechanical device, and may be no more than 3 mm (1/8 in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 6090 seconds in a 485 C (905 F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire. When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant. Neapolitan pizza has gained the status of "guaranteed traditional specialty" in Italy. This admits only three official variants: Pizza marinara, which is made with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil (although most Neapolitan pizzerias also add basil to the marinara), Pizza Margherita, made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil, and Pizza Margherita Extra made with tomato, buffalo mozzarella from Campania in fillets, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Pizza al taglio in Rome.
Lazio style: Pizza in Lazio (Rome), as well as in many other parts of Italy is available in 2 different "flavors": 1) In take-away shops so-called "Pizza Rustica" or "Pizza a Taglio". Pizza is cooked in long, rectangular baking pans and relatively thick (1-2 cm). The crust similar to that of an English muffin and mostly cooked in an electric oven. When purchased, it is usually cut with scissors or knife and priced by weight. 2) In Pizza Restaurants (Pizzerias) it is served in a dish in its traditional round shape. It features a thin crust similar to the Neapolitan style. It is mostly cooked in a wood-fired oven which gives pizza its unique flavor and texture. In Rome a "Pizza Napoletana" is topped with tomato, mozzarella, anchovies and oil (thus, what in Naples is called "Pizza Romana", in Rome is called "Pizza Napoletana").
* Pizza Quattro Formaggi ("Four Cheese Pizza"): tomatoes, mozzarella, stracchino, fontina, gorgonzola (sometimes ricotta can be swapped for one of the last three);
Sicilian-style pizza has its toppings baked directly into the crust. An authentic recipe uses neither cheese nor anchovies. Sicilian Pizza in the United States is typically a different variety of product made with a thick crust characterized by a rectangular shape and topped with tomato sauce and cheese (and optional toppings). Pizza Hut's Sicilian Pizza, introduced in 1994, is not an authentic example of the style as only garlic, basil, and oregano are mixed into the crust;
White pizza (pizza bianca) uses no tomato sauce, often substituting pesto or dairy products such as sour cream. Most commonly, especially on the East Coast of the United States, the toppings consist only of mozzarella and ricotta cheese drizzled with olive oil and spices like fresh basil and garlic. In Rome, the term pizza bianca refers to a type of bread topped with olive oil, salt and, occasionally, rosemary leaves. It's also a Roman style, to top the white pizza with figs, called Pizza e fichi (Pizza with figs);
Ripieno or Calzone is a pizza in the form of a half moon, sometimes filled with ricotta, salami and mozzarella; it can be either fried or oven baked.
U.S. styles and specialties
Homemade Pepperoni Pizza.
Due to the wide influence of Italian and Greek immigrants in American culture, the United States has developed quite a large number of regional forms of pizza, many bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza in the United States became an iconic dish of considerable popularity, and may have contributed to the decline of the British pie heritage previously common in American cuisine.
The most Americanized style of pizza is the classic pepperoni pizza. It is made with classic pizza dough and tomato pur??e, topped with mozzarella cheese alone or mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. A layer of pepperoni is then applied and the pizza is then cooked. The thickness of the crust depends on what the consumer prefers; both thick and thin crust are popular. Another popular pizza style is the pizza with everything, which is topped with a sm??rg??sbord of vegetables, mushrooms, and meats, though a customer will usually be asked if they want anchovies on it as well.
New York-style pizza is a style originally developed in New York City by immigrants from Naples, where pizza was created. It is often sold in generously sized, thin and flexible slices. It is traditionally hand-tossed, moderate on sauce, and moderately covered with cheese essentially amounting to a much larger version of the Neapolitan style. The slices are sometimes eaten folded in half, or even stacked, as its size and flexibility may otherwise make it unwieldy to eat by hand. This style of pizza tends to dominate the Northeastern states, and is very similar to the basic style common through the United States and known simply as pizza. Many pizza establishments in the New York metropolitan area offer two varieties of pizza: "Neapolitan", or "regular", made with a relatively thin, circular crust and served in wedge-shaped slices, and "Sicilian", or "square", made with a thicker, rectangular crust and served in large, rectangular slices.
Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.
Chicago-style pizza, or Chicago-style deep dish pizza, contains a crust which is formed up the sides of a deep-dish pan. It reverses the order of ingredients, using crust, cheese, filling, then sauce on top. Some versions (usually referred to as "stuffed") have two layers of crust with the sauce on top. Deep-dish pizza was invented by a man named Ike Sewell (who was not even Italian, but of Jewish background) and first served in 1943 at Pizzeria Uno, which is still operating along with its twin restaurant, Pizzeria Due, in the River North neighborhood.
Chicago-style thin crust pizza has a thinner crust than Chicago-style deep dish, and is baked flat rather than in a deep dish pan. The crust is thin and firm enough to have a noticeable crunch, unlike a New York-style pizza, yet thick enough to be soft and doughy on the top. The crust is invariably topped with a liberal quantity of southern-Italian style tomato sauce, which is usually quite herbal or highly spiced, and typically contains no visible chunks of tomato. Next, a layer of toppings is added, and a layer of mozzarella cheese which frequently separates from the bottom crust due to the quantity of tomato sauce. Chicago-style thin crust pizzas are cut into three- or four-inch squares, also known as "party cut," as opposed to a "pie cut" into wedges. The small size of the squares makes it unnecessary to fold the slices. Chicago-style pizza is prevalent throughout the Midwestern USA. Chains that are well known for Chicago-style thin crust pizza are Home Run Inn and Old Chicago.
St. Louis-style pizza is a variant of thin-crust popular in and around St. Louis, Missouri. The most notable characteristic of St. Louis-style pizza is the distinctively St. Louisan Provel cheese used instead of (or rarely in addition to) the mozzarella common to Chicago-style thin crust.
California-style pizza (often termed in the United States gourmet pizza) refers to pizza with non-traditional ingredients, especially those that use a considerable amount of fresh produce. A Thai-inspired chicken pizza with peanut sauce, bean sprouts, and shaved carrots is a popular variant in California-style pizza restaurants, as are pizzas that use chicken and barbecue sauce as toppings. The style was invented by Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, and popularized by the California Pizza Kitchen chain, along with Wolfgang Puck's various fine dining and casual restaurant chains and retail products.
Greek pizza is a variation popular in New England; its name comes from it being typical of the style of pizzerias owned by Greek immigrants. It has a thicker, chewier crust and is baked in a pan in the pizza oven, instead of directly on the bricks. Plain olive oil is a common part of the topping. Variations in other parts of the country include using feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and Greek herbs such as oregano.
Hawaiian pizza has Canadian Bacon (or sliced ham) and pineapple toppings with Mozzarella cheese. This type of pizza is especially popular in the Western United States, and is also a popular topping combination in Australia, Canada, and Sweden, but notably not in Hawaii. This type is also common within the EU, where it is known as Pizza Hawaii.
Grilled pizza, invented in Providence, Rhode Island, uses a fairly thin crust cooked on a grill; the toppings are placed on the baked side after the pizza has cooked for a bit and flipped over.
English muffin or French bread pizza and pizza bagel are common convenience pizzas made at home in an oven or toaster, usually with a simple topping of tomato pur??e, sliced or shredded cheese, and perhaps pepperoni. French bread pizza is sometimes available commercially as a frozen meal.
White clam pie from Pepe's in New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven-style pizza, also known as apizza, popular in southern Connecticut. It has a thin crust that varies between chewy and tender, depending on the particular establishment. The default version is a "white" pizza topped with only garlic and hard cheeses; customers who want tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese have to ask for them explicitly. Apizza has a very dark, "scorched" crisp crust that offers a distinctive bitter flavor, which can be offset by the sweetness of tomatoes or other toppings.
Pizza in Australia
Pizzas are very popular in Australia which has a large Italian community. The usual Italian varieties are available, but there is also the Australian or Australiana which has the usual tomato sauce base and mozzarella cheese with onion, bacon and egg (seen as quintessentially Australian breakfast fare), prawns are also often used on this style of pizza.
Since the 1980s Australian pizza shops and restaurants began selling gourmet pizzas, essentially pizzas with upmarket ingredients such as salmon, dill, rocket, bocconcini, tiger prawns, and even such outre toppings as kangaroo, emu and crocodile meats. Wood-fired pizzas, cooked in an impressive-looking ceramic oven heated by wood fuel, are also popular.
Frozen and ready-to-bake pizzas
Pizza is also found as a frozen food in grocery stores and supermarkets. A considerable amount of food technology ingenuity has gone into the creation of palatable frozen pizza. The main challenges include preventing the sauce from combining with the dough and producing a crust that can be frozen and reheated without becoming rigid. Modified corn starch is commonly used as a moisture barrier between the sauce and crust. Traditionally the dough is somewhat pre-baked and other ingredients are also sometimes pre-cooked. More recently, frozen pizza with completely raw ingredients have also begun to appear, as have those with a self-rising crust. Many grocery stores and supermarkets also sell fresh, ready-to-bake pizzas. Recently, nearly all of the frozen pizza makers like DiGiorno's, Tony's, Red Baron, Totino's as well as the store brands have used cheaper Pepperoni and Sausage made with a combination of Pork, Beef and the recently added mechanically separated Chicken.
Another form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is created fresh using raw ingredients, then sold to customers who take it home and bake it in their own ovens and microwaves. Supermarkets also offer this service.
* "Farinata" or "cecina". A Ligurian (farinata) and Tuscan (cecina) regional dish made from chickpea flour, water, salt and olive oil. Also called Socca in the Provence region of France. Often baked in a brick oven, and typically weighed and sold by the slice.
* The Alsatian tarte flambe (German: Flammkuchen) is a thin disc of dough covered in crme frache, onions, and bacon.
* The Anatolian Lahmacun (Arabic: lahma bi ajeen; Armenian: lahmajoun; also Armenian pizza or Turkish pizza) is a meat-topped dough round. The bread is usually very thin; the layer of meat often includes chopped vegetables.
* The Proven??al pissaladiere is similar to an Italian pizza, with a slightly thicker crust and generally a topping of cooked onions, anchovies, and olives.
* Calzone and stromboli are very similar dishes (calzone is traditionally half-moon-shaped, while a stromboli is tube-shaped) that are often made of pizza dough rolled or folded around a filling.
* Garlic fingers is an Atlantic Canadian dish, much similar to a pizza in shape and size, and made with the same type of dough. It is garnished with melted butter, garlic, cheese, and sometimes bacon.
* Pizza is sometimes used as a general word for a savory pie; the Campanian pizza rustica and the Italian American pizzagiena (Easter pie) are examples of this more general sense.
Italian and European law
In Italy there is a bill before Parliament to safeguard the traditional Italian pizza, specifying permissible ingredients and methods of processing (e.g., excluding frozen pizzas). Only pizzas which followed these guidelines could be called "traditional Italian pizzas", at least in Italy.
Italy has also requested that the European Union safeguard some traditional Italian pizzas, such as "Margherita" and "marinara". The European Union enacted a protected designation of origin system in the 1990s.
* The largest pizza ever made was at the Norwood Pick 'n Pay Hypermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to the Guinness Book of Records the pizza was 37.4 meters in diameter and was made using 500 kg of flour, 800 kg of cheese and 900 kg of tomato puree. This was accomplished on December 8, 1990.
* On 22 March 2001, Bernard Jordaan of Butler's Pizza, Cape Town, South Africa, delivered a pizza 11042 km (6861 miles) from Cape Town to Sydney, Australia, to set the world record for the longest pizza delivery. This record was acknowledged in the Guinness Book of Records.
* In Feltham, London, a new record for the farthest food delivery was achieved by Lucy Clough of Domino's. A vegetarian supreme pizza was cooked on November 17, 2004 and travelled a distance of 10,532 miles to its delivery point at 30 'Ramsey Street', Melbourne, on November 19, 2004. The record is in the 2006 version of the book of Guinness World Records.
* Most expensive pizza created was made by the restaurateur Domenico Crolla who created a $2,745.00 priced Valentine pizza which included toppings such as sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, medallions of venison, edible gold, lobster marinated in the finest cognac and champagne-soaked caviar.
* What has been called "the world's most extravagant pizza" is available at New York's Nino's Bellissima restaurant. Topped with six varieties of caviar, chives, fresh lobster and creme fra??che, this 12-inch pie, called the "Luxury Pizza," retails at $1,000.00 (or $125.00 a slice).
* Dublin has the most sales in pizza in the world, with over 250 pizza sold on average per hour.