Where would the modern world be without Italy’s two greatest foodie exports – pizza and pasta? Variations of both these staples, which have become essential in the British diet, make perfect, tempting and tasty takeaways. A pizza can be defined as a round flatbread, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Usually, of course, we add all sorts of other toppings before the delectable disc is put into the oven to bake.
The pizza as we know it came from Naples, where it was invented in 1889 in honour of the king’s wife, Margherita. Today, Margherita is what we call a basic cheese and tomato pizza still today. let’s run through the composition of a typical basic pizza:
The flatbread round that forms the bottom of the pizza is made with basic bread dough (including yeast, flour and olive oil). Many pizza outlets now offer a gluten-free alternative.
Pizza dough usually contains sugar, both to help with the rising and to ensure the crust browns.
Most takeaway outlets offer a choice of thick or thin, deep dish style, or with the edges stuffed with cheese or garlic.
For the best results, the risen dough should be hand stretched and then tossed and whirled by an expert pizza maker!
Did you know authentic Neapolitan pizza has been awarded official EU protected status and must be made with genuine buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes?
There’s really no limit to the imagination when it comes to topping a pizza, but there are some favoured combinations and some popular choices that you’ll find on the menus of most pizzerias. Some research has shown that the high lycopene content in the tomato sauce on pizza could play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease. It’s not all good though, because fast food pizzas are commonly high in salt and fat. Here’s a list of what you can expect to choose from:
- Pepperoni (all studies have found this is the most ordered topping by far!)
- Chicken (with various sauces, such as barbecue or sweet chilli)
- Sausage (various types)
- Ground beef
- Onions (usually red onions)
- Green, red and/or yellow peppers
- Hot chilli peppers
Sometimes the pizza is flipped over on itself before cooking to become a semi-circular pie, containing the ingredients inside. This is known as a Calzone.
Another variation is to create a rectangular or square pizza dough base, put on the toppings and then roll up the dough before cooking. This is known as a Strombolis.
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