Probably the most famous dish in the world.
It’s impossible to say who invented the very first pizza: this word probably comes from the Latin verb pìnsere that means “to press” and from the Greek pēktos, πηκτός, that means “solid” or “clotted”: the ancient Greeks were used mix bread with cheese, herbs and oils.
It’s thought that the Neapolitan pizzaiolo (a baker who makes pizza) Raffaele Esposito created it in order to honor the visit of the italian king Umberto I and Queen Margherita in 1889 to the Royal Palace of Capodimonte dealing with the Italian flag: red – San Marzano tomatoes, which grow on the volcanic plains of Vesuvio, green – basil, and white – mozzarella di bufala Campana, made with the milk of Campania and Lazio. In 2009, upon Italy’s request, Neapolitan pizza gained from the European Union the title of Traditional Specialty Guaranteed dish.
MOST POPULAR CHEESES USED ON PIZZA
Apart from Mozzarella, the most popular cheeses used on pizza are:
- Pecorino Romano and Ricotta, often used as toppings.
If you would like to prepare pizza at home, you can bake it for your frends on a pizza stone in a regular oven in order to reproduce the result of a brick oven. You can also try grilled pizza on a barbecue grill.
COUNTLESS NUMBERS OF PIZZA IN THE WORLD
There are many varieties of pizza nowadays, according to various toppings and ways of cooking. You can eat pizza with bacon, mushrooms, vegetables, eggs, olives, pepperoni, onions, sausage, seafood or even fruit (pineapple is good!).
Among the varieties of pizza we can find:
- pizza marinara: tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil;
- pizza viennese: tomato, Mozzarella, German sausage, oregano, extra virgin olive oil;
- pizza quattro formaggi: tomatoes, Mozzarella, Stracchino, Fontina and Gorgonzola.
Sometimes Ricotta is used instead of the latter three. Another known and appreciated variety of pizza is “capricciosa” made with mozzarella, tomato, artichokes, cooked ham, mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil and olives. In Rome, the term pizza bianca (white pizza) deals with a bread without tomato: just olive oil, salt and rosemary sprigs. All these varieties of pizza can be served al tagliothat means a pizza that in pizzerias it is usually cut with scissors.
PIZZA: WHAT ABOUT SALT AND FAT CALORIES?
Pizza can contain a high amount of salt and fat calories: the Indian Pizza Hut has been criticized for the high salt content of some of their meals. But, apart from that episode Dr. La Vecchia, an italian epidemiologist said
“Pizza could simply be indicative of a lifestyle and food habits, in other words the Italian version of a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, fiber, vegetables, fruit, flour, and freshly cooked food should continue its lifestyle.”