When most of us think of Italian cuisine, we’re thinking about pizza. When 9 out of 10 people talk about going out for Italian then mean they want to eat pizza. Although there are many countries that are known for their national dishes, there are very few that have created an international favorite. When you are in Italy you will find that there are two dishes which are the most popular – definitely pizza and pasta.
Interestingly pizza did not actually get its start in Italy. It was first created in the Middle East where a dish that contained pieces of flat bread were used as the base for seasoned oil or toppings and were eaten without using utensils or plates. This early pizza was caused plankuntos by the Greeks. It was actually its own edible plate that was used when eating thick broth or stews. This didn’t look much like the pizza we eat today. But today in Italy, there are several pizza varieties that are well known such as Pizza Margherita which is the standard by which all other pizzas are judged.
Varieties of Italian Pizzas
Pizza Margherita – This is a pizza that was created in 1899 which Quen Marghereta was visiting Naples to get away from a cholera epidemic that was ravaging northern Italy. Usually this pizza is made with basil, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes in imitation of the colors of the Italian flag.
Pizza Alla Napoletana (Napoli) – This pizza is created using anchovies, mozzarella and tomatoes.
Pizza Marinara – This is a traditional Neapolitan pizza that is made with lots of garlic, anchovies and oregano.
Pizza Pugliese – This is another great pizza that is made using olives from the area and local capers. It is also topped with onions, mozzarella and tomatoes.
Pizza Capricciosa – This pizza is topped with olives, artichoke hearts, half of a boiled egg, prosciutto and mushrooms.
Pizza Veronese – This one is made simply with Prosciutto crudo and mushrooms.
Sicilian Pizzas – These pizzas can be made from a wide range of toppings including peas, hard-boiled eggs, seafood and green olives.
Quattro stagioni – This is a pizza that uses a tomato base and is divided into four separate sectors with each one representing a season of the year. The ingredients used are for spring artichokes and olives, for summer peppers, for autumn mozzarella and tomatoes and for winter boiled eggs and mushrooms. This is a terrific sampler pizza when sections of salami prosciutto cotto, artichokes, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Pizza Ai Quattro Formagi – This pizza is made using a four cheese combination of mozzarella and three cheeses that are local such as parmiiano-reggiano, ricotta and Gorgonzola.
Pizza Ai Funghi e Salsicce (sometimes using boscaiola) – This is a pizza that uses sausages, mushrooms and mozzarella. The use of tomatoes is optional.
Italian Tuna – This tuna is packed in olive oil and is very popular as a topping, especially when using shrimp shellfish or anchovies.
Pomodoro Pachina and Rughetta – This pizza is topped with arugula and cherry tomatoes.Italian Calzones – This is a smaller version than what is made in America and is frequently filled with fresh vegetables such as mozzarella and spinach or meats.
Pizza al taglio – This is a pizza that is also known as pizza rustica. It can be found throughout Italy and is usually sold by weight and includes artichokes, onions or mushrooms.
Sfincione – This is a thick sheet pizza that is made in Sicily and uses anchovies (often anchovy paste), caciocavallo (or another local cheese), breadcrumbs and tomato sauce.
Pizza Focaccia – This is the pizza that is most like the earliest pizzas. It is created without using cheese or tomatoes but is covered in caramelized onions, olive oil and savory toppings.
Focaccia Al Rosmarino – This pizza contains olive oil and rosemary and sometimes is served with prosciutto. It is often served as the appetizer course of a meal.
Dessert Pizzas – This kind of pizza is a recent trend that has been increasing in popularity. It is often created from ingredients like yogurt, fruit jam, honey, Nutella and sometimes even liquor or mustard.
Pizza Romana – This is a pizza that contains anchovies, capperi, mozzarella and tomatoes.
Liguria Pizza – This one has a topping of basil pesto and does not have a tomato sauce.