A little History of Pizza in America
Pizza is definitely a prevalent expression of both Italian and American cooking. Regardless of the style of pizza whether is New York style, Chicago deep dish, round or square, pizza is an everyday favorite of many who reside throughout America
Among the first pizzas ever made was the Napolitano, or Neapolitan pizza. This pizza pie is constructed from strong flour, the dough is frequently kneaded by hand after which rolled flat and thin without using a rolling pin. The pizza is baked in a high temperature wood-fired stone oven for just sixty to ninety seconds, and is taken out after the crust turns a golden brown. Typical forms of Neapolitan pizza consist of marinara, created using tomato, olive oil, oregano, and garlic, and margherita, constructed of tomato, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and mozzarella cheese.
The first pizzeria in the United States was in Manhatten, New York, in Little Italy where in 1905 a man Gennaro Lombardi set up the first shop. This would explain why New York and surrounding areas are famous for what is known as the New York style pizza. This pizza was originally cooked in a coal burning oven and is thin crust topped with sauce, cheese and various other toppings. Traditionally the dough is hand tossed which creates a large but thin pizza. New York style pizza is cut into 8 large pieces which then can be folded in half to eat. The most popular topping is pepperoni and mozzarella or provolone cheese is common.
Also popular in the northeastern United States is the white pizza. This also is a thin crust pizza however no pizza sauce is ever applied. Instead a light layer of olive oil is brushed on the dough surface then covered with cheese. Usually a white pizza is topped off with some fresh garlic, basil or oregano flakes and a few dabs of ricotta cheese.
In Chicago they like to do things a little different. The windy city is home to Chicago deep dish pizza which is cooked in a deep dish pan and has a similar appearance of a traditional dessert pie. The pizza is made in reverse order than a New York pizza as the cheese is added on top of the crust followed by toppings then the sauce is added. The Chicago style pizza first originated in 1943 at a place called Uno’s Pizzeria.
Not to be outdone by their rival city to the north,St Louis is known for their own unique style of pizza. The St Louis style pizza is an extremely thin crust pizza, cracker like that has a sweet tasting sauce which is covered with provel cheese. The sauce is applied right to the edge of the crust and the pizza is cut into squares.
Hawaiian pizza is style of pizza that really has nothing to do with Hawaii except for being topped with either slices or chunks of pineapple and also Canadian bacon. The taste is sweet much different from other pizzas. You will find Hawaiian throughout the western United States.
California is a trend setting state and you can be assured they have their own pizza style. California style pizza is a type of gourmet pizza which is famous for its many exotic toppings. This is a smaller pizza designed for just two people that has your typical sauce and variety of California cheeses but the toppings reflect the diverse agriculture found throughout the state of California. Don’t be surprised to see toppings such as chicken, walnuts, avocado, zucchini, carnitas, well you get the idea. The pizza is typically cooked in wood fired oven and has a nice crispy appearance.
That is just some of the well known pizza styles found in North America. Pizza is such a common food item that each region of the country wants to personalize their pizza to reflect their surroundings. How do you not love pizza?
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