Pizza is a world-popular dish of Italian origin, made with an oven-baked, flat, generally round bread that is often covered with tomatoes or a tomato-based sauce and cheese. Other toppings are added according to region, culture, or personal preference. In our stock photos photography f Pizzas you will find classic topped pizzas.
Originating in Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many different parts of the world. A shop or restaurant that primarily makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria". The phrases "pizza parlor", "pizza place" and "pizza shop" are used in the United States. The term pizza pie is dialectal, and pie is used for simplicity in some contexts, such as among pizzeria staff.
The origin of the word "pizza" is unclear, but by 997 it had appeared in Medieval Latin, and in 16th century Naples a galette flatbread was referred to as a pizza. The pizza was a baker's tool: a dough used to verify the temperature of the oven. A dish of the poor people, it was sold in the street and was not considered a kitchen recipe for a long time.
Before the 17th century, the pizza was covered with white sauce. This was later replaced by oil, cheese, tomatoes or fish. In 1843, Alexandre Dumas, père described the diversity of pizza toppings. In June 1889, to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan chef Raffaele Esposito created the "Pizza Margherita," a pizza garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, to represent the colors of the Italian flag. He was the first to add cheese. The sequence through which flavored flatbreads of the ancient and medieval Mediterranean became the dish popularized in the 20th century is not fully understood.
Pizza is one of the oldest prepared foods and dates to the Neolithic age. Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful can be found throughout ancient history.
In Sardinia, French and Italian archeologists have found a kind of bread baked over 3,000 years ago. According to Professor Philippe Marinval, the local islanders knew and used the leaven.
The Ancient Greeks had a flat bread called plakous (πλακοῦς, gen. πλακοῦντος - plakountos) which was flavored with toppings like herbs, onion, and garlic.
It is said that soldiers of the Persian King, Darius the Great (521-486 B.C.) baked a flat bread on their shields and then covered it with cheese and dates.
In the 1st century BC, the Latin poet Virgil refers to the ancient idea of bread as an edible plate or trencher for other foods in this extract from his Latin poem, the Aeneid:
Their homely fare dispatch’d, the hungry band
Invade their trenchers next, and soon devour,
To mend the scanty meal, their cakes of flour.
Ascanius this observ’d, and smiling said:
“See, we devour the plates on which we fed.”
These flatbreads, like pizza, are from the Mediterranean area and other examples of flat breads that survive to this day from the ancient Mediterranean world are focaccia (which may date back as far as the Ancient Etruscans), coca (which has sweet and savory varieties) from Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands, the Greek Pita or Pide in Turkish or Piadina in the Romagna part of Emilia-Romagan in Italy.
Similar flat breads in other parts of the world include the Indian Paratha, the South Asian Naan, the Sardinian Carasau, Spianata, Guttiau, Pistoccu, the Alsatian Flammkuchen and Finnish Rieska.
The innovation that gave us the flat bread we call pizza was the use of tomato as a topping. For some time after the tomato was brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century, it was believed by many Europeans to be poisonous (as are some other fruits of the nightshade family). However, by the late 18th century it was common for the poor of the area around Naples to add tomato to their yeast-based flat bread, and so the pizza was born. The dish gained in popularity, and soon pizza became a tourist attraction as visitors to Naples ventured into the poorer areas of the city to try the local specialty.
Until about 1830, pizza was sold from open-air stands and out of pizza bakeries. Pizzerias keep this age-old tradition alive today. It is possible to enjoy pizza wrapped in paper and a drink sold from open-air stands outside the premises. Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba in Naples is widely regarded as the city's first pizzeria. They started producing pizzas for peddlers in 1738 but expanded to a pizza restaurant with chairs and tables in 1830. They still serve pizza from the same premises today.
A description of pizza in Naples around 1830 is given by the French writer and food expert Alexandre Dumas, père in his work Le Corricolo, Chapter VIII. He writes that pizza was the only food of the humble people in Naples during winter and that "in Naples pizza is flavored with oil, lard, tallow, cheese, tomato, or anchovies."
The Neapolitans take their pizza very seriously. Purists, like the famous pizzeria “Da Michele” in Via C. Sersale (founded: 1870), consider there to be only two true pizzas — the Marinara and the Margherita — and that is all they serve. These two "pure" pizzas are the ones preferred by many Italians today.
The Marinara is the older of the two and has a topping of tomato, oregano, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. It is named “Marinara” not because it has seafood on it (it doesn't) but because it was the food prepared by "la marinara", the seaman's wife, for her sea faring husband when he returned from fishing trips in the Bay of Naples.
The Margherita, topped with modest amounts of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil is widely attributed to baker Raffaele Esposito. Esposito worked at the pizzeria "Pietro... e basta così" (literally "Peter... and that's enough") which was established in 1880 and is still operating under the name "Pizzeria Brandi." In 1889, he baked three different pizzas for the visit of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy. The Queen's favorite was a pizza evoking the colors of the Italian flag — green (basil leaves), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes). This combination was named Pizza Margherita in her honor.
"Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana" ("True Neapolitan Pizza Association"), which was founded in 1984 and only recognises the Marinara and Margherita verace, has set the very specific rules that must be followed for an authentic Neapolitan pizza. These include that the pizza must be baked in a wood-fired, domed oven at 485°C for no more than 60 to 90 seconds; that the base must be hand-kneaded and must not be rolled with a pin or prepared by any mechanical means (i pizzaioli — the pizza makers — make the pizza by rolling it with their fingers) and that the pizza must not exceed 35 centimetres in diameter or be more than one-third of a centimetre thick at the centre. The association also selects pizzerias all around the world to produce and spread the verace pizza napoletana philosophy and method.
There are many famous pizzerias in Naples where these traditional pizzas can be found like Da Michele, Port'Alba, Brandi, Di Matteo, Sorbillo, Trianon and Umberto (founded: 1916). Most of them are in the ancient historical centre of Naples. These pizzerias will go even further than the specified rules by, for example, only using "San Marzano" tomatoes grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius and only drizzling the olive oil and adding tomato topping in a clockwise direction.
The pizza bases in Naples are soft and pliable. In Rome they prefer a thin and crispy base. Another popular form of pizza in Italy is "pizza al taglio" which is pizza baked in rectangular trays with a wide variety of toppings and sold by weight.
In December 2009, the pizza napoletana was granted Traditional Speciality Guaranteed status by the European Union.
Authentic Neapolitan pizza margherita, the base for most kinds of pizza. In Italy there is a bill before Parliament to safeguard the traditional Italian pizza, specifying permissible ingredients and methods of processing (e.g., excluding frozen pizzas). Only pizzas which followed these guidelines could be called "traditional Italian pizzas", at least 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". The European Union enacted a protected designation of origin system in the 1990s.
Neapolitan pizza (pizza napoletana): Authentic Neapolitan pizzas are made with local ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, which is made with water buffalo milk. According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of Italian 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 mm (⅛ in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire. 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 (although most Neapolitan pizzerias also add basil to the marinara), 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 Italy.
Lazio style: 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. This pizza is cooked in long, rectangular baking pans and relatively thick (1–2 cm). The crust is similar to that of an English muffin, and the pizza is often cooked in an electric oven. It is usually cut with scissors or a knife and sold by weight. In pizza restaurants (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).
Types of Lazio-style pizza include:
Pizza romana (in Naples): tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, oil;
Pizza viennese: tomato, mozzarella, German sausage, oregano, oil;
Pizza capricciosa ("capricious pizza"): mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms, artichokes, cooked ham, olives, oil (in Rome, prosciutto raw ham is used and half a hard-boiled egg is added);
Pizza quattro stagioni ("four seasons pizza"): same ingredients for the capricciosa, but ingredients not mixed;
Pizza quattro formaggi ("four cheese pizza"): tomatoes, mozzarella, stracchino, fontina, gorgonzola (sometimes ricotta can be swapped for one of the last three);
Sicilian-style pizza has its toppings baked directly into the crust. An authentic recipe uses neither cheese nor anchovies. ("Sicilian" pizza in the United States is typically a different variety of product, made with a thick crust characterized by a rectangular shape and topped with tomato sauce, cheese and optional toppings. Pizza Hut's "Sicilian Pizza", introduced in 1994, is not an authentic example of the style as only garlic, basil, and oregano are mixed into the crust);
White pizza (pizza bianca) omits the tomato sauce, often substituting pesto or dairy products such as sour cream. Most commonly, especially on the East coast of the United States, the toppings consist only of mozzarella and ricotta cheese drizzled with olive oil and spices like fresh basil and garlic. In Rome, the term pizza bianca refers to a type of bread topped with olive oil, salt and, occasionally, rosemary sprigs. It is also a Roman style to bottom the white pizza with figs, the result being known as pizza e fichi (pizza with figs);
Ripieno or calzone is a turnover-style pizza filled with several ingredients, such as ricotta, salami and mozzarella, and folded over to form a half circle before being baked. In Italian calzone literally means "large sock", while the word ripieno actually means just "filling" and does not by itself imply a form of pizza.
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