Tiny Wiki : Fast loading, text only version of Wikipedia.

Pizza






Pizza (ˈpiːtsə or ; ) is a world-popular dish of Neapolitan 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.

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.

History




The Ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs, and cheese. The Romans developed placenta, a sheet of flour topped with cheese and honey and flavored with bay leaves. Modern pizza originated in Italy as the Neapolitan pie with tomato. In 1889 cheese was added.

King Ferdinand I (1751–1825) is said to have disguised himself as a commoner and, in clandestine fashion, visited a poor neighborhood in Naples. One story has it that he wanted to sink his teeth into a food that the queen had banned from the royal court—pizza.

Base and baking methods



The bottom base of the pizza (called the "crust" in the United States and Canada) may vary widely according to style—thin as in hand-tossed pizza or Roman pizza, or thick as in pan pizza or Chicago-style pizza. It is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with butter, garlic, or herbs, or stuffed with cheese.

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, the 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 making pizza at home, it can be baked on a pizza stone in a regular oven to imitate 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.

Pizza types





'''Neapolitan pizza (''pizza napoletana'')''': Authentic Neapolitan pizzas are made with local 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). According to the rules proposed by the [http://www.verapizzanapoletana.org/vpn/vpn_frames-index.htm ''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 mechanical device, and may be no more than 3mm (¹⁄₈ in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a stone oven with an oak-wood fire. When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant. Neapolitan pizza has been given the status of a "guaranteed traditional specialty" in Italy. This allows only 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.

Lazio style: Pizza in Lazio (Rome), as well as in many other parts of Italy, is available in two different styles: (1) Take-away shops sell ''pizza rustica'' or ''pizza al taglio''. This pizza is cooked in long, rectangular baking pans and relatively thick (1–2cm). 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. (2) In pizza restaurants (pizzerias), pizza is served in a dish in its traditional round shape. It has a thin, crisp base quite different to 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 (food)-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.

Non-Italian types of pizza



In the 20th century pizza has become an international food with widely varying toppings. These pizzas consist of the same basic design but include an exceptionally diverse choice of ingredients.

Pizza in Australia


Pizza is popular in Australia, where a significant percentage of the population is of Italian descent. The usual Italian varieties are available, but there is also the ''Australian'', or ''australiana'', which has the usual tomato sauce base and mozzarella cheese with bacon and egg (seen as quintessentially Australian breakfast fare). Prawns are also sometimes used on this style of pizza.

In the 1980s Australian pizza shops and restaurants began selling gourmet pizzas, pizzas with upmarket ingredients such as salmon, dill, bocconcini, tiger prawns, and such unconventional toppings as kangaroo, emu and crocodile. Wood-fired pizzas, cooked in a ceramic oven heated by wood fuel, are also popular.

Pizza in Brazil


Pizza was brought by Italian immigrants to that country. Sao Paulo, calling itself "The Pizza Capital of the World", has 6000 pizza establishments and 1.4 million pizzas are consumed daily. It is said that the first Brazilian pizzas were baked in the Bras district of São Paulo in the early part of the 20th century. Until the 1950s, they were only found in the Italian communities. Since then, pizza became increasingly popular with the rest of the population. The most traditional pizzeria are still found in the Italian neighborhoods, such as the Bexiga / Bela Vista. Typically, pizzas follow the Neapolitan variety, rather than the Roman one, being thicker and more doughy and oftentimes lacking tomato sauce.

Pizza in India


Pizza is a emerging fast food in Indian urban areas. With the arrival of branded pizza, it has reached to many cities.

Pizza outlets serve pizzas with several Indian based toppings like Tandoori Chicken and Paneer. Indian pizzas are generally made more spicy as compared to their western counterparts, to suit Indian taste. Along with Indian variations, more conventional pizzas are also eaten.

Pizza in Pakistan



Pizza was introduced in Pakistan in 1993. A Mr. Manzar Riaz from Lahore is credited with introducing it to Pakistan when he opened up the country's first pizza outlet. Pizza Hut opened its outlets in Pakistan in 1993 which was three years before India had its first Pizza Hut outlet in 1996. Unlike in India where the pizza has become widely popular, the pizza in Pakistan is only popular and well known only in the liberal provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Kashmir. The pizza is still virtually unknown in the conservative provinces of North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan.

As of 2009, Pizza sales in Pakistan generate over $2 billion annually which is the second largest pizza sales revenue in the world after the US. Pakistan has the world's largest Pizza Hut store in Karachi with a seating capacity of over 5,000 people. The United States' fast food and pizza industry is well aware of the huge benefits of entering the Pakistani market and this has led other US and western fast food outlets to rush to open stores in Pakistan to fill the vacuum and keep up with the demand.

United States styles and specialties




Due to the wide influence of Italian and Greek immigrants in American culture, the US has developed many regional forms of pizza, many bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza in the US became an iconic dish of considerable popularity. Both thick and thin crust are popular. Often, "Americanized" foods such as barbecued chicken and bacon cheeseburgers are used to create new types of pizza.


Frozen and ready-to-bake pizzas


Pizza is available as a frozen food. A considerable amount of food technology ingenuity has gone into the creation of palatable frozen pizza. The main challenges include 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 somewhat pre-baked and other ingredients are also sometimes precooked. More recently, frozen pizzas with completely raw ingredients have also begun to appear, as have those with “self-rising” crusts.

Another form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is created fresh using raw ingredients, then sold to customers who take it home and bake it in their own ovens and microwaves. Many supermarkets also offer this service.

Similar dishes



* "Farinata" or "cecina". 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 Tarte flambée (German: Flammkuchen) is a thin disc of dough covered in crème fraîche, onions, and bacon.
* The Anatolian Lahmacun (Arabic: '''laḥm bi'ajīn; Armenian: lahmajoun; also Armenian pizza or Turkish pizza) is a meat-topped dough round. The bread is usually 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 generally a topping of cooked onions, anchovies, and olives.
* Calzone and stromboli are very similar dishes (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 the same type of dough. It is garnished with melted butter, garlic, cheese, and sometimes bacon.
* ''Pizza'' is sometimes used as a general word for a baked savory; the Campanian ''pizza rustica'' and the Italian American pizzagiena (''Easter pie'') are examples of this more general sense.

Italian and European law



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.

Italy has requested that the European Union safeguard some traditional Italian pizzas, such as "Margherita" and "marinara". The European Union enacted a protected designation of origin system in the 1990s.

Health issues



Pizza can be high in salt and fat. There are concerns about negative health effects. Pizza Hut has come under criticism for the high salt content of some of their meals which were found to contain more than twice the daily recommended amount of salt for an adult.

European nutrition research on the eating habits of people with cancer of the mouth, oesophagus, throat or colon showed those who ate pizza at least once a week had less chance of developing cancer, they found. Dr Silvano Gallus, of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmaceutical Research in Milan, who led the research said: "We knew that tomato sauce could offer protection against certain tumors, but we did not expect pizza as a complete meal also to offer such protective powers." Nicola O'Connor, of Cancer Research UK, told BBC News Online: "This study is interesting and the results should probably be looked at in the context of what we already know about the Mediterranean diet and its association with a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

"The secret is probably lycopene, an antioxidant chemical in tomatoes, which is thought to offer some protection against cancer, and which gives the fruit its red color.

"But before people start dialing the local pizza takeaway, they should consider that some pizzas can be high in saturated fat, salt and calories". In contrast to the classic Italian pizza used in the research, most UK pizza takeaway varieties are often loaded with high fat cheeses and fatty meats and yeast, a high intake of which can contribute to obesity, itself a risk factor for cancer. "Our advice is to enjoy selected Italian pizza (i.e., healthy pizza) in moderation as part of a balanced diet that includes plenty of vegetables and fruit."

Italian Carlo La Vecchia, a Milan-based epidemiologist said Italian pizza lovers should not see the research as a license to indulge their fondness for pizza food. "There is nothing to indicate that pizza is the only thing responsible for these results." He continued: "Pizza could simply be indicative of a lifestyle and food habits, in other words the Italian version of a Mediterranean diet." A Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil, fiber, vegetables, fruit, flour and freshly cooked food - including traditional Italian healthy pizza.

Records



* The 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 in diameter and was made using 500kg of flour, 800kg of cheese and 900kg of tomato puree. This was accomplished on December 8, 1990.
* The most expensive pizza was made by the restaurateur Domenico Crolla, which 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 sold at auction for charity for £2,150.

pizza
Source: Wikipedia