From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Pizza (disambiguation).
Pepperoni pizza with basil.jpg
A pepperoni pizza with basil
Type Flatbread
Place of origin Naples
Serving temperature Hot or warm
Main ingredients Dough, often tomato sauce, cheese
Variations Calzone, Stromboli
Cookbook:Pizza  Pizza

Pizza (Listeni/ˈptsə/, Italian pronunciation: [ˈpittsa]) is an oven-baked flat bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings. The modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish has since become popular in many parts of the world.[1] Pizzerias specialize in making pizzas, although the dish is served in other restaurants worldwide. Many varieties of pizza exist worldwide, along with several dish variants based upon pizza. Pizza is cooked in various types of ovens, and a diverse variety of ingredients and toppings are utilized. In 2009, upon Italy's request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed dish.[2][3]


A pizza just removed from an oven
Pizzas in a traditional wood-fired brick oven
Vegetarian pizza typically includes cheese and any toppings except meat, although vegans order or make it without cheese.
Main article: History of pizza

The origin of the word pizza is uncertain and debated. One popular suggestion holds that it originates from the Greek pita (derived from ancient Greek pēktos, πηκτός, meaning "solid" or "clotted"[4]). The ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs and cheese. The Romans developed placenta, a sheet of dough topped with cheese and honey and flavored with bay leaves.

A popular contemporary legend holds that the archetypal pizza, Pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo (pizza maker) Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pie swathed in the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella). Supposedly, this kind of pizza was then named after the Queen as "Pizza Margherita",[5] although recent research casts doubt on this legend.[6]

Pizza migrated to America with the Italians. After World War II many returning soldiers who were stationed in Italy created a high demand for the pizza they encountered and tasted in Italy. Since then pizza has evolved many variations. It can be deep-dish pizza, stuffed pizza, pizza pockets, pizza turnovers, rolled pizza, pizza-on-a-stick, all with combinations of sauce and toppings limited only by one's inventiveness.[7]

Cooking ingredients


In restaurants, pizza can be baked in an oven with stone bricks above the heat source, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven. On deck ovens, pizza can be slid into the oven on a long paddle, called a peel, and baked directly on the hot bricks or baked on a screen (a round metal grate, typically aluminum). When made at home, it can be baked on a pizza stone in a regular oven to reproduce the effect of a brick oven. Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like Chicago-style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.


Traditional pizza dough tossing

The bottom of the pizza, called the "crust", may vary widely according to style—thin as in a typical hand-tossed pizza, screen, thin, or Roman pizza, or thick as in a typical pan pizza or deep like a Chicago-style pizza. It is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with garlic or herbs, or stuffed with cheese. Whichever restaurant chosen, there are typically a few options of crust to chose from. The outer edge of the pizza is sometimes referred to as the cornicione.[8] Often, the pizza crust contains sugar to help with the yeast rising as well as the browning of the dough.[9]


Main article: Pizza cheese

The original pizza used only mozzarella, the highest quality ones the buffalo mozzarella variant, produced in the surroundings of Naples. Other kinds of cheese may be used for creative alternative recipes (provolone, pecorino romano, ricotta, scamorza and many others), including processed cheeses for mass-market pizzas manufactured to produce desirable qualities like browning, melting, stretchiness and fat and moisture content. Many studies and experiments have analyzed the impact of vegetable oil, manufacturing and culture processes, denatured whey proteins and other changes to creating the ideal and economical pizza cheese. In 1997 it was estimated that annual production of pizza cheese was 2 billion pounds in the U.S. and 200 million pounds in Europe.[10]


Myriad toppings are used on pizzas, such as:


500 pizzas are listed on a trattoria in Southern Italy


Neapolitan pizza (Margherita)

Authentic Neapolitan pizzas (pizza napoletana) are typically made with tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese. They can be made with 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).[11]

According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana,[12] the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour (type 0 or 00, or a mixture of both), 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 machine, and may be no more than 3 millimeters (0.12 in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire.[13] When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant. There are three official variants: pizza marinara, which is made with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil, pizza Margherita, made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and pizza Margherita extra made with tomato, mozzarella from Campania in fillets, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The pizza napoletana is a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (Specialità Tradizionale Garantita, STG) product in Europe.[14][15]

Pizza in Lazio (Rome), as well as in many other parts of Italy, is available in two different styles. Take-away shops sell pizza rustica or pizza al taglio.[16] This pizza is cooked in long, rectangular baking pans and relatively thick (1–2 cm). The pizza is often cooked in an electric oven. It is usually cut with scissors or a knife and sold by weight. In pizzerias, pizza is served in a dish in its traditional round shape. It has a thin, crisp base quite different from the thicker and softer Neapolitan style base. It is usually cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving the 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 (tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, oil), pizza viennese (tomato, mozzarella, German sausage, oregano, oil), pizza capricciosa (mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms, artichokes, cooked ham, olives, oil[17]), pizza quattro formaggi: ("four cheese pizza":[18] tomatoes, and the cheeses mozzarella, stracchino, fontina and gorgonzola; sometimes ricotta is swapped for one of the latter three), pizza bianca ("white pizza":[19] a type of bread topped with olive oil, salt and, occasionally herbs,[20] such as rosemary sprigs; it is also a Roman style to add figs to the pizza, the result being known as pizza e fichi[21]), and pizza alla casalinga ("Grandma pizza": a thin layer of dough which is stretched into an oiled, square "Sicilian" pan, topped sparingly with shredded mozzarella, crushed uncooked canned tomatoes, chopped garlic and olive oil, and baked until the top bubbles and the bottom is crisp[22]).

Pizza capricciosa is a style of pizza in Italian cuisine prepared with mozzarella cheese, Italian baked ham, mushroom, artichoke and tomato.[23]

Pizza pugliese is a pizza in Italian cuisine prepared with tomato, mozzarella and onion.[24]

Sicilian pizza is pizza prepared in a manner that originated in Sicily, Italy. Just in the US, the phrase Sicilian pizza is often synonymous with thick-crust or deep-dish pizza derived from the sicilian Sfincione.[25] In Sicily, there is a variety of pizza called Sfincione.[26]

Bill for traditional Italian pizza

In Italy, there was a bill before Parliament in 2002 to safeguard the traditional Italian pizza,[27] specifying permissible ingredients and methods of processing[28] (e.g., excluding frozen pizzas). Only pizzas which followed these guidelines could be called "traditional Italian pizzas" in Italy. On 9 December 2009, the European Union, upon Italian request, granted Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) safeguard to traditional Neapolitan pizza, in particular to "Margherita" and "Marinara".[29] The European Union enacted a protected designation of origin system in the 1990s.

Around the world

Homemade pizza baked on a pizza pan

During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza become a globally accessible dish, mainly due to Italian immigrants that had brought their dishes to new people with resounding success, often in racially and culturally resistive environments.

A survey from 2004 showed that Norwegians eat the most pizza (5.4 kg/person*year), followed by Germans.[30]

Additional varieties

  • Meatball pizza has become increasingly popular in the United States in contemporary times, and some pizzerias offer them on their menus.[31][32]


A wrapped frozen pizza

Pizza is available frozen, as round traditional pizzas or in portion-size pieces. Methods have been developed to overcome challenges such as 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 partially baked and other ingredients are also sometimes precooked. There are frozen pizzas with raw ingredients and self-rising crusts.

Another form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is assembled in the store, then sold to customers to bake in their own ovens or microwave ovens.

Another approach is using a fresh dough, sold with sauce and basic ingredients, to complete before baking in oven.


The world's largest pizza was at the Norwood Pick 'n Pay hypermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to the Guinness Book of Records the pizza was 37.4 meters (122 feet 8 inches) in diameter and was made using 500 kg of flour, 800 kg of cheese and 900 kg of tomato puree. This was accomplished on December 8, 1990.[33]

The world's most expensive pizza is a seafood pizza called the "C6" prepared at Steveston Pizza Co. restaurant in Steveston, British Columbia, (in the Metro Vancouver area).[34] It is listed by Guinness World Records as the world's most expensive pizza and costs $450 Canadian dollars.[35] The pizza includes lobster, caviar, tiger prawns and smoked salmon.[34] The title for world's most expensive pizza per Guinness World Records was previously held by a $178 pizza prepared with white truffle by Gordon Ramsay.[35]

The most expensive pizza was made by the restaurateur Domenico Crolla, and included toppings such as sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, medallions of venison, edible gold, lobster marinated in the finest cognac and champagne-soaked caviar. The pizza was auctioned for charity, raising £2,150.[36]

Health issues

Some mass-produced pizzas by fast food chains have been criticized as having an unhealthy balance of ingredients. Pizza can be high in salt, fat and calories. There are concerns about negative health effects.[37] Food chains have come under criticism[when?] for the high salt content of some of their meals.[38]

Similar dishes

  • "Farinata" or "cecina".[39] A Ligurian (farinata) and Tuscan (cecina) regional dish made from chickpea flour, water, salt and olive oil. Also called Socca in the Provence region of France. Often baked in a brick oven, and typically weighed and sold by the slice.
  • The Alsatian Flammekueche[40] German: Flammkuchen. French: Tarte flambée is a thin disc of dough covered in crème fraîche, onions, and bacon.
  • The Macedonian Pastrmajlija is a bread pie made from dough and meat. It is usually oval-shaped with chopped meat on top of it.
  • The Anatolian Lahmacun (Arabic: laḥm bi'ajīn; Armenian: lahmajoun; also Armenian pizza or Turkish pizza) is a meat-topped dough round. The bread is very thin; the layer of meat often includes chopped vegetables.
  • The Levantine Manakish (Arabic: ma'ujnāt) and Sfiha (Arabic: laḥm bi'ajīn; also Arab pizza) are dishes similar to pizza.
  • The Provençal Pissaladière is similar to an Italian pizza, with a slightly thicker crust and a topping of cooked onions, anchovies, and olives.
  • Calzone and stromboli are similar dishes (a calzone is traditionally half-moon-shaped, while a stromboli is tube-shaped) that are often made of pizza dough rolled or folded around a filling.
  • Garlic fingers is an Atlantic Canadian dish, similar to a pizza in shape and size, and made with similar dough. It is garnished with melted butter, garlic, cheese, and sometimes bacon.

See also


  1. ^ Miller, Hanna (April–May 2006). "American Pie". American Heritage Magazine. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Official Journal of the European Union, Commission regulation (EU) No 97/2010, 5 February 2010
  3. ^ International Trademark Association, European Union: Pizza napoletana obtains "Traditional Speciality Guaranteed" status, 1 April 2010
  4. ^ Babiniotis, Georgios (2005). Λεξικό της Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας (Lexicon of New Greek). Κέντρο Λεξικολογίας. p. 1412. ISBN 960-86190-1-7. 
  5. ^ "Pizza Margherita: History and Recipe". Italy Magazine. 14 March 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Was margherita pizza really named after Italy’s queen?". BBC Food. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Pizza Garden: Italy, the Home of Pizza". CUIP Chicago Public Schools - University of Chicago Internet Project - The University of Chicago. Retrieved August 2014. 
  8. ^ Braimbridge, Sophie; Glynn, Joanne (2005) Food of Italy. Murdoch Books. p. 167. ISBN 1740454642
  9. ^ DeAngelis, Dominick A. (December 1, 2011). The Art of Pizza Making: Trade Secrets and Recipes. The Creative Pizza Company. pp. 20–28. ISBN 0963203401. 
  10. ^ Fox, Patrick F.; (et al.) (2000). Fundamentals of Cheese Science. Aspen Pub. p. 482. ISBN 0834212609. 
  11. ^ "Selezione geografica". 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  12. ^ "Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana". Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  13. ^ "Vera Pizza Napoletana Specification | Verace Pizza Napoletana". 2004-05-24. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  14. ^ Naples pizza makers celebrate EU trademark status, BBC News, 4 February 2010 
  15. ^ "Publication of an application pursuant to Article 8(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 509/2006 on agricultural products and foodstuffs as traditional specialties guaranteed – Pizza napoletana (2008/C 40/08)", OJEU, 14 February 2009 
  16. ^ Duncan Garwood, Abigail Hole. Lonely Planet Rome. Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  17. ^ Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners. 2010-08-17. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  18. ^ Peter Reinhart (2010-10-27). American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza. p. 180. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  19. ^ David Downie. Food Wine Rome. p. 99. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  20. ^ Fabio Parasecoli. Food Culture In Italy. Google Books. p. 43. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  21. ^ David Downie. Cooking the Roman Way. p. 26. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  22. ^ Adam Kuban (2008-09-12). "What Is Grandma Pizza? Erica Marcus Explains Once More | Slice Pizza Blog". Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  23. ^ Rough Guide Phrasebook: Italian: Italian. p. 244. 
  24. ^ Wine Enthusiast, Volume 21, Issues 1-7. Wine Enthusiast. 2007. p. 475. 
  25. ^ "What is Sicilian Pizza?". WiseGeek. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  26. ^ Giorgio Locatelli (2012-12-26). Made In Sicily. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  27. ^ "Bill for traditional Italian pizza". Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  28. ^ "Permissible ingredients and methods of processing". Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  29. ^ EU grants Neapolitan pizza Traditional Specialty Guaranteed label[dead link], Pizza Marketplace
  30. ^ Svenska dagbladet: Pizza statistics according to AC Nielsen
  31. ^ Feinberg, Andrew; Stephens, Francine; Clark, Melissa (2013). Franny's: Simple Seasonal Italian. Artisan Books. pp. 270-271. ISBN 1579654649
  32. ^ Hernandez, Brian (January 2013). "Jan-Feb 2013 Pizza of the Month: Meatball Pizza". PMQ Pizza Magazine. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  33. ^ "Mama Lena's pizza "One" for the book... of records". Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  34. ^ a b "Check out this seafood pizza that's $450". The Globe and Mail (originally published at CTVNews). April 28, 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  35. ^ a b (Staff) (April 26, 2014). "$450 pizza: B.C. pizzeria holds record for most expensive pie". CTV News. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  36. ^ "Chef cooks £2,000 Valentine pizza". BBC News. 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  37. ^ "Survey of pizzas". Food Standards Agency. 2004-07-08. Retrieved 2009-04-02. [dead link]
  38. ^ "Health | Fast food salt levels "shocking"". BBC News. 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  39. ^ "Brick Oven Cecina". Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  40. ^ Helga Rosemann, Flammkuchen: Ein Streifzug durch das Land der Flammkuchen mit vielen Rezepten und Anregungen (Offenbach: Höma-Verlag, 2009).

Further reading

External links