Sunday, September 2, 2007

Types of Pizza

In the 20th century and onward, pizza has become an international food and the toppings can be extensively varied to meet local variations in taste. 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, and shellfish, meats prepared in styles such as Moroccan lamb, shawarma or chicken tikka masala, and non-traditional spices such as curry 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.

Pizza styles

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).[1] 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 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire.[2] 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.

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").

Other types of Lazio-style pizza include:

  • Pizza Romana (in Naples): tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, oil;
  • Pizza Viennese: tomato, mozzarella, German sausage, oregano, oil;
  • Pizza Capricciosa ("Capricious Pizza"): mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms, artichokes, cooked ham, olives, oil (in Rome raw ham is used and half a hard-boiled egg is added);
  • Pizza Quattro Stagioni ("Four Seasons Pizza"): same ingredients for the Capricciosa, but ingredients not mixed;
  • 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 only with olive oil. 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 marinara sauce, 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 smorgasbord 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, where pizza is often sold in oversized, 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 purportedly invented 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 thin-crust style of pizza 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. St. Louis-style pizza is customarily cut into squares.

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 is a common convenience pizza made at home in an oven or toaster, usually with a simple topping of spaghetti sauce, sliced or shredded cheese, and perhaps pepperoni. French bread pizza is sometimes available commercially as a frozen meal.

New Haven-style pizza, also known as apizza, popular in southern Connecticut.

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 bacon and egg (seen as quintessentially Australian breakfast fare).

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.
(Source: Wikipedia)