Pizza is no longer the exclusive property of Italy. Each country has earned its place by adding its own touch to this delicious food that mixes many of the richest ingredients that we can find in any corner of the planet.
From the average mass of Buenos Aires, to New York and Chicago style pizza, we can spend a life trying pizzas. But when we want to enter this world and discover the real Italian pizza, we must travel to the place where the most famous pizza comes from: Italy!
What is real Italian pizza like?
If we had to define it, we would say that the authentic Italian pizza is the one super thin, with crusts baked in a wood oven, tomato sauce and creamy buffalo cheese. But Italian pizza is perfection on five different levels: the base, its sauce, the cheese, the ingredients, and lastly, its pizza maker.
With respect to its base, unlike the average dough that predominates in all countries, it is crisp, light, thin and more tasty. Surely, you’ve seen a pizza maker in Rome or Naples spin those masses in the air and all with one finger. That dough they achieve is unique and the property of true Italian pizza.
sauce is another essential element, made from peeled San Marzano tomatoes, blanched with salt, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. There is no room for changes of any kind or ingredient. The sauce is like this, or it just isn’t.
It’s cheese time. There is no place here for anything other than buffalo cheese. This cheese with more proteins, fats and lactose than beef, is the key to everything. Italian pizza thus obtains a unique texture that, when contrasted with the crust, surprises anyone.
With the three previous elements resolved, it is time for the ingredients or toppings that complete the true Italian pizza. It will be what ends up defining the style of pizza. And did you know that there are 11 styles of Italian pizza?
The 11 styles of Italian pizza
How could it be otherwise, when we enter an Italian restaurant and have a menu, we will probably have to invest several minutes to decide between dozens of tempting pizzas. Here, we make a list with the 11 styles of pizzas that you need to try to understand true Italian pizza!
1. Pizza Margherita
In the list of the most delicious authentic Italian pizzas in the world it is impossible not to give the first place to the “margarita”. It is the classic of the classics and comes from Naples. Its ingredients? The most basic: tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil and oil.
But let’s get to the really funny thing about this pizza. Its colors represent the Italian flag and its history is related to Queen Margaret of Savoy.
Two curiosities: her colors represent the Italian flag and history relates her name to the Queen Margaret of Savoy. The story goes that in the year 1889, Queen Margaret visited Naples, where she was served a pizza made in the likeness of the colors of the Italian flag. Red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese and green basil.
Who was the author of this masterpiece? A chef named Raffaele Esposito from Pizzeria Brandi. Queen Margarita loved this dish and in her honor, this chef named it in her honor.
Since then, Margherita has become one of the most popular pizza varieties in the world. In 2009 it was protected as one of the three Pizze Napoletane with a European protection label STG, demonstrating its excellence in taste, ingredients and traditional products. pizza making techniques.
2. Pizza Napoletana
Possibly the best known throughout the planet, and the one that everyone recognizes as the true Italian pizza. Neapolitan pizza or Napoletana pizza also comes from Naples and carries a strict recipe that cannot be altered:
Its preparation is so precise that it is protected by UNESCO and the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. The latter works promoting and protecting, in Italy and the world, the “true Neapolitan pizza”.
Preparing a Neapolitan pizza may seem simple, but it requires wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water for the dough, which is then flattened 2-3 millimeters thick. This dough is covered with a Roma or San Marzano tomato sauce, and a good buffalo milk mozzarella from the Campania and Lazio areas of Italy. Finally, this preparation is placed in a very hot wood-fired oven that will form a very fluffy dough loaded with delicious ingredients.
3. Pizza quattro formaggi
Attention cheese lovers. Here you have the downfall: an explosive combination with the cheeses that we like the most: gouda, mozzarella, blue cheese, goat, Emmental, Roquefort and Parmesan, among others.
The quattro formaggi pizza is one of the 11 Italian pizzas that has the most followers in Italy and the world. Of all the variety of cheeses, only four have a reserved place in it. And, in general, the cheeses should be mozzarella and three local cheeses, depending on the region of Italy in which we are located.
4. Capricciosa pizza
His name says it all. Nothing more appropriate for this whimsical or “whimsical” pizza as it is translated into Spanish. Its ingredients tend to vary from region to region.
This pizza is made from an ever-changing combination of ingredients including tomatoes, mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, ham, olives, and a sliced hard-boiled egg. In central and northern Italy they can add capers, sausages and even anchovies!
5. Pizza calzone
Of all the varieties of pizza, this is the furthest in its format. Indeed, it is closer to the classic Argentine empanada. But the truth is that this pizza is characterized by its semicircular shape, made by folding a full-size pizza in half.
The calzone was born in the 18th century in Naples and literally means trouser leg, since its original purpose was to be a pizza that could be consumed while walking or standing.
In general, the calzone is filled with meats like salami or ham and cheeses like the classic mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and pecorino.
6. Sicilian pizza
Not everything comes from Naples. There are other pizzas that are just as or more exquisite and we find them in Sicily. There the pizzas are known as Sfincione, especially in the Palermo area. And they are quickly recognized for their square shape, thicker batter, and generous serving of cheese. There are many varieties, but what is rarely missing are anchovies and pecorino cheese.
7. Pizza al taglio
This type of pizza is more of a pizza format that is baked in rectangular trays and sold sliced into squares or rectangles. Its price is usually marked by the portion or by weight.
The first pizza al taglio was baked in Rome and in the late 1950s, when it was topped with olive oil and tomato sauce.
Today, this variety of pizza has many followers and has become a street dish. Its cooking is somewhat different from all of them. First the dough is baked, topped, and then baked one more time, offering an evenly cooked, light, airy and easily digestible pizza.
8. Chicken and barbecue pizza
Highly viewed and consumed in the United States, this pizza is popular outside of Italy. Chicken, bacon, mushrooms or minced meat are added to the pizza base. Without a doubt, a pizza with a lot of personality.
9. Pizza caprese
This is another very traditional Italian pizza variety. Traditionally topped with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala cheese, olive oil and fresh basil leaves. And for some chefs, a reduction of balsamic oil on top is a must.
10. Pizza bianca
If anyone thought it was possible not to put tomato sauce on pizza, they were wrong. Pizza bianca or white pizza is a variety of pizza that leaves tomato out of the equation. In the city of Rome, pizza bianca is made without sauce, and instead covered with salt, olive oil or chopped rosemary.
There are numerous versions of pizza bianca, and the ingredients vary accordingly, but the important thing is that there should be no red sauce in the dough.
11. Pizza marinara
Finally, we found the Pizza Marinara. A pizza that we could consider sister to the Neapolitan one that adds oregano, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and, sometimes, fresh basil. The origin of its name has nothing to do with seafood, but rather because it was the staple food of the fishermen on their return home to the Bay of Naples.
Some also claim that it was invented in the Port’Alba pizzeria in 1734, which is considered the oldest pizzeria in the world. Marinara is part of the protected Neapolitan pizzas and with specific rules about the production process, the dough and the key ingredients used to make pizza.
It’s hard to end this list of 11 Italian pizzas. They are definitely not all or the best. It will undoubtedly be up to the reader to continue to meddle in this beautiful and tasty world of pizza.
How to make an Italian pizza: step by step!
Of course, by now you have become a pizza fundamentalist and your next slice of Italian pizza will require careful and meticulous preparation as if you were in the best pizzeria in Italy. Therefore, who better than yourself to try to afford that luxury.
Many at this point will be able to say that the pizza dough is the result of combining ingredients such as flour, water, yeast, oil, salt and that’s it. We can quickly prove them right. But there is a component rarely one has it and cannot be bought: TIME.
More than once did you feel heavy, thirsty or bloated after eating a pizza? Almost certainly the most likely reason was the lack of time to leave the dough to ferment and ripen. Therefore, to achieve a good Italian pizza dough, it is not just to mix a few ingredients, but to find the right proportion between them and, above all, to have time.
- 500 grams of strength flour
- 18 grams of fresh yeast
- 1 dessert spoon of salt
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 250 milliliters of warm water
Let’s go to the Italian Pizza recipe!
In a glass add the warm water and add the yeast well crumbled. We stir well until the latter is dissolved and integrated. In a bowl or container we put the flour (preferably strength, 00 or 000), a teaspoon of salt and mix well. We make a hole right in the middle, where we will add oil and the mixture of water and yeast.
It’s time to get your hands dirty and start mixing until all the ingredients are well integrated into a dough. On a countertop or counter, previously floured, continue kneading for approximately 10 minutes until you achieve a compact dough, without air and that no longer sticks in your hands.
It only remains to shape the pizza dough into a ball and the most important ingredient: time. It is time to let the dough rest for as long as possible, covered with a cloth or film. How long does it take? At least one hour, and as suggested, 24 hours in the refrigerator!
When the time you have has passed, remove the cloth or film. If everything went well, you will see that your dough has doubled in volume. It will be, then, the moment when you know that you have done a great job and are on your way to preparing a real Italian pizza!
Using your fingers or a spatula, remove the dough from the bowl and knead it for a few minutes by folding it on itself and making folds with it.
We have reached the last step! With this amount of ingredients, you can get two homemade pizzas. To do this, you will have to cut your dough into two halves and knead each part again. It is time to shine as a good pizza maker in front of your oven. It only remains to stretch the Italian pizza dough to the thickness you like best. Place in preheated oven for 5-10 minutes (or until golden brown). Finally, take it out and add the ingredients you prefer according to the style of Italian pizza you prefer the most.
What are you waiting for? Let’s run to make a homemade Italian pizza!