Delicious italian pizza
The thin crust of New York, the deep dish of Chicago and the premium slice of California. What do they all have in common? They are all derived from traditional Italian pizza. The restaurant, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba in Naples, Italy, is said to be the first restaurant to start serving pizza in Italy in 1738. Almost three centuries later, we still enjoy the tasty round dish.
In 1889, pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created the most popular pizza we know today, the Margherita pizza. He made the pizza for the Italian Queen Margherita of Savoy. It is perhaps the most popular of all Italian pizzas due to its traditional roots. Sparkling dough simply baked in the oven, dressed in a thick red tomato sauce, topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil leaves, and drizzled with olive oil and salt. It is a dish that never disappoints.
Neapolitan pizza was born in Naples, Italy. It is one of the most famous types of Italian pizza. This style of pizza is made with minimal but fresh ingredients. Similar to the Margherita pizza, it features a thin, chewy crust and fresh tomato sauce, topped with sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. In tradition, the tomatoes come specifically from the nearby region of San Marzano or Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio, near the volcanic plains south of Mount Vesuvius. Simple but straight to the point! This dish is the original cheese pizza and what we in the United States call regular pizza. If you find yourself in Italy, head south because no other pizza compares to the ones made in Naples.
Roman pizza is the opposite of Neapolitan pizza. Roman pizza is crispy with the more toppings the better. A classic on any menu, especially when visiting Rome. Try the Capricciosa topped with ham, mushrooms, olives, artichoke, egg and tomato. The way it is baked and the fact that more oil than water is added to the dough makes this pizza a much crispier thin crust savory dish from the Eternal City. When in Rome you can find this round dish or ‘al intaglio which is by the slice. Al Taglio is a very popular form of pizza cut into strips topped with delicious toppings sold by weight, wrapped in paper and enjoyed at a nearby landmark with friends. Definitely a taste of sweet life.
The beautiful city of Palermo is the origin of the authentic Sicilian pizza called sfincione, which loosely translates to “thick sponge”. Sicilian pizza has a soft bread base topped with tomato sauce, chopped onions, herbs and sliced anchovies, topped with breadcrumbs and an optional grating of hard cheese. Although we know that pizzas are round, most Italian pizzas are baked in a square or rectangular tray. The traditional sfincione does not use mozzarella because the milk in Sicily comes from sheep and goats, not cows. For this reason, you will usually find sfincione sold at a local bakery. I found and enjoyed a variation of this pizza from the bakery across from my apartment.
Mortadella and Pistachio Pizza
This pizza is the one I have a lot of memories of. The mortadella and pistachio pizza might not be everyone’s favorite and looks almost silly like a pie, but it will surprise you if you give it a chance. I found a great Italian place, Golden View Firenze, next to the iconic Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, where I tried the mortadella and pistachio pizza for the first time. After I first met this pizza was all I could think of and I had to have it at least every two weeks. Crunchy pistachios complement the sweet, freshly sliced meat on the warm fluffy dough. It just worked.
Don’t be surprised to see Italians clustered around town enjoying each other’s company and a piece of paradise. Whether you like pineapple as a pizza topping or not, you have to appreciate pizza and its tasty Italian roots. If you ever come across a pizzeria in Italy or even Los Angeles, try the specialty because more often than not it will always be the tastiest thing on the menu.
Tessa Cervantes-Roth, CSU IP Florence, Italy Alumni, 2019-2020, CSUN Study Abroad Advisor
Photo taken by Tessa Cervantes-Roth, CSU IP Florence, Italy Alumni, 2019-2020