Pizza originated in Italy, however, this is one dish that has been adapted by cuisines all over the world and has become a universal favorite. Pizza is a kind of a baked flatbread on which a variety of toppings in the form of vegetables, meats and sauces are prepared and added on top of the bread. Traditionally part of the Neapolitan cuisine, pizza comes in a number of varieties and the house that prepares pizzas is usually known as a pizzeria. In the United States, the phrases pizza place and pizza shop are used for places serving pizzas.
Origin of Pizza Recipes
Even before the advent of the modern pizza, baked flatbreads with oils, herbs and cheese were made in Ancient Greece. The Romans created placenta, a thin layer of bread prepared from flour and topped with cheese and honey and seasoned with bay leaves. The modern pizza, which has become a world-renowned dish, is known to have been prepared for the first time in Naples in Italy as the Neapolitan pie with tomato.
Ingredients Prescribed for Pizza Recipes
Pizza is made from a variety of ingredients. Authentic Neapolitan pizza dough is made from wheat flour, natural Neapolitan yeast, salt and water. Tomato, garlic, oregano and extra-virgin olive oil are used as the base for pizza. This can further be topped with cheese, meats and some of the vegetables too.
Popular Methods of Preparation of Pizza
The bottom of the pizza is known as the crust and it can be prepared in a number of ways. According to authentic Italian pizza, the crust is usually hand-tossed and thin. Traditionally it is plain, however, it can be seasoned with garlic, herbs and filled with cheese. In restaurants, pizzas are mostly baked in an oven that can be an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven, or even a wood or a coal-fire brick oven. At home the pizza can be baked on a pizza stone, which is made from ceramic or earthenware and placed in a regular oven. When preparing pizza at home, it can even be grilled where the crust is baked on a barbecue grill.
Serving and Eating Pizza Dishes
Pizza is either sold based on its size or weight. Pizza is usually round in shape and cut into pieces with the help of a knife. In a lot of pizza shops and pizza places, the pizzas are also sold as slices. Pizzas are served hot as soon as they are out of the oven so that one gets to enjoy the flavor of olive oil, cheese and the various seasonings.
Types of Pizzas
Neapolitan pizza is an authentic pizza type , made with special ingredients such as the San Marzano tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana The genuine Neapolitan dough comprises of wheat flour, brewer’s yeast, salt and water. The three official variants of this authentic pizza are pizza marinara, pizza margherita and pizza margherita extra.
The other type of pizza, called Lazio style pizza, is made in Lazio (Rome) as well as in many other parts of Italy. This particular type of pizza is made in long, rectangular baking pans. There are quite a few variants. The various Lazio-style pizzas include Pizza Romano, Pizza Viennese, Pizza Capricciosa, Pizza Quattro Stagioni, Pizza Quattro Formaggi, Sicilian-style pizza, white pizza and ripieno or calzone. The white pizza is made without the tomato sauce, and usually pesto, sour cream, mozzarella and ricotta cheese are used instead.
Special Pizza Dishes
Pizza can be prepared in a number of different ways and it is undoubtedly quite a versatile dish. One of the special types of pizzas is the Sicilian-style pizza which has the toppings baked directly into the crust. In the United States, Sicilian pizza, is ideally a rectangular shaped thick crust pizza topped with tomato sauce, cheese and a variety of optional toppings. Ripieno or calzone is a kind of a turnover-style pizza that is filled with a number of different ingredients such as ricotta, salami and mozzarella and folded over to form a half circle before it is baked.
Variations of Pizza
Since pizza is a universally loved dish, most countries have developed their own variation of pizzas.
Australia: The Italian variants of pizza are available and along with that Australian version are also there, which has the usual tomato sauce base and mozzarella cheese and additional ingredients in the form of bacon and egg.
Brazil: Sao Paulo, is known as the ‘Pizza capital of the world’ where the first Brazilian pizzas were baked in the early part of the 20th century. Sao Paulo has about 6000 pizza establishments and both the thick crust and the thin crust pizzas are available there. Some of the pizzas made are also sweet in flavor and contain banana, pineapple or chocolate toppings.
India: Pizza has become extremely popular in India with major brands such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut opening across the country in various cities. The pizza outlets serve pizza with a lot of traditional Indian based toppings such as Tandoori chicken and paneer.
Health and Nutritional Facts Related to Pizza Recipes
Pizza is considered to be a fast food and can be high in salt, fat and calories. A traditional Mediterranean pizza is rich in olive oil, fiber, vegetables and fruits and is freshly cooked. However, popular pizza varieties contain high fat meat and fatty cheeses.
Famous Pizza Recipes
Some of the popular pizza recipes are white pizza recipe, three-cheese pineapple pizza and stuffed pizza recipe.
America’s first pizza was served in 1905 in an Italian restaurant Gennaro Lombardi in New York City.