Have the Dolce Vita on a plate! If French cuisine is considered as the best in the world for its finesse and Asian cuisine follows it closely, Italian cuisine is the cuisine which best exports! If there is one Italian dish which symbolizes the international influence of this cuisine it is indeed the pizza. The pizza and its variants have conquered the planet with an ever-growing popularity whilst adapting to local tastes. Although initially pizza became internationally known thanks to the Italian migratory movements, it owes its current success to its exceptional ability to adapt to different local landscapes: a true symbol of culinary mixing!
Like many dishes of Italian gastronomy, this dish consisting of a bread dough typically garnished with tomato sauce and herbs is characterized by a farandole of colors and a variety of original flavors. Mini-pizza and panzerotti as an appetizer or large pizza and calzone for the main course: this culinary specialty is a true chameleon! Let’s have an overview of this cult dish that has earned an international reputation and let’s discover its delicious variants!
If Florence is considered as the motherland of Renaissance, Naples for sure is the motherland of pizza! Or almost … It seems that it was first spotted in Egypt and ancient Greece more than 3000 years ago. At the time it was still a flour patty with aromatic herbs. It was not until the 17th century in Naples that the pizza was born in its present form: topped with tomato sauce and cheese.
The must-try pizzas!
Virgin olive oil, oregano, basil, ham, olives, anchovies, truffles … although the pizza toppings are infinite here are some must-try pizzas which deserve a special mention:
Margherita Pizza: this pizza, much appreciated for its simplicity, was named in honor of Queen Margaret of Savoy. It is garnished with extra virgin olive oil, tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil to represent the colors of Italy (red, white and green).
Pizza Regina: Literally ‘ queen pizza ‘ it is aptly named because it is the favorite pizza of the French. The filling is composed of extra virgin olive oil, a tomato coulis, ham, mushroom and mozzarella, winning combination!
Neapolitan pizza: listed as a Unesco heritage, the real napolitana pizza must be crisp on the edges and tender in the middle. One of the most popular variations of Neapolitan pizza is features anchovies, tomato coulis and mozzarella topping.
Chicago style pizza: Chicago style pizza is typically baked in a deep pizza pan. Garnished with thick layers of cheese (mozzarella), tomato sauce and pepperoni.
The closest relative of the pizza! This variant is native to the Apulia region in Italy. If for pizza, the dough is shaped in flat discs, however for a calzone your dough must be folded over the filling. This succulent pizza turnover was originally only filled with mozzarella and tomato but now there are as many calzone recipes as there are pizza recipes! The calzone can be baked or fried (the famous fritta pizza!).
These little turnovers made with pizza dough and filled mainly with ingredients that are typically found in Italian homes (tomato, mozzarella, basil…) are mini calzones. They are most often fried in very hot oil but also baked for a lighter version. Perfect for a gourmet appetizer these tasty mini turnovers can be made with a bread dough or pizza dough.
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