Does `Italian` and `Pizza` Belong in the Same Sentence?

By: Sarah Carlye

Though many Italian restaurants have pizza on the menu, is pizza really Italian food? If it is Italian food, how come there are Chicago and New York style pizzas? Pizzas have evolved and changed from their simple beginnings. Different cultures, including Italians, have different styles of pizzas. There are Italian pizzas and then there are “other” pizzas.

In the United States, there are Chicago and New York style pizzas. There is no limit to the creativity that is used when topping a pizza. Here are some distinctions between the two types of pizzas:

• Chicago style pizza-deep dish pizza with a buttery crust that can be as high as three inches on the sides. This allows for more sauce, toppings, and cheese to be used on the pizza. The toppings are usually coarsely cut large pieces. Often a Chicago style pizza is very meaty. It is a hearty and filling pizza. Variations include stuffed crust and pan pizza.

• New York style pizza-thin crust pizza that is served in large slices that are folded in half while eating. New York style pizza resembles the pizza that is found in Italy more than Chicago style pizza. The ingredients are traditionally are simple, just sauce and cheese. When other toppings are added, they are added with the cheese. Since some attribute the taste of the pizza to the minerals found in the water, some pizza makers have New York water shipped to them to maintain authenticity.

The pizza served in Italy is different than most of the pizza served in the United States and has regional variation. Types of pizza in Italy include the following:

• The Pizza Margherita – a traditional Neapolitan pizza with oregano, anchovies, and lots of garlic

• Pizza Napoli – a pizza with Tomato, mozzarella, and anchovies

• Pizza Capricciosa – toppings include mushrooms, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, olives, and ½ a boiled egg

• Pizza Pugliese – uses the local capers and olives of the area

• Pizza Veronese – the pizza has mushrooms and tender Prosciutto crudo.

• Pizzas Sicily -numerous toppings ranging from green olives, seafood, hard-boiled eggs, and peas.

• Quattro Formagi – uses four different cheeses like mozzarella and local cheeses like Gorgonzola, ricotta, and parmigiano-reggiano. Other toppings include Italian tuna packed in olive oil and other sea food like anchovies, shellfish, and shrimp.

• Quattro Stagioni – is a pizza (similar to the Capricciosa) that has ingredients that represent the four seasons and makes a good sampler pizza, toppings include a meat like salami or Prosciutto cotto, with mushrooms, artichokes, and tomatoes

• Pizza Liguria – topped with basil pesto and no tomato sauce

Pizzas in Italy are cooked in brick ovens and the crust is tender and crispy.

When hungry and you want great pizza for take out or delivery, a good pizzeria can provide a delicious pizza with traditional or non-traditional toppings on a variety of crust types. If you want to have Italian pizza at an event or function, find a pizzeria that has catering services like Mama Jennie’s Italian Restaurant in Davis, FL and Miami, FL. Mama Jennie’s Italian Restaurant has a wide variety of catering options in addition to serving pizza.

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