This article is about the bread pie. For the programming language, see Pizza programming language. For the Australian television show, see Pizza (Australian television).
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A supreme pizza such as this one includes many different toppings, such as pepperoni (one of the most popular toppings on American pizzas), green peppers, olives, and mushrooms.

In its basic form, a pizza (occasionally, pizza pie) is an oven-baked, flat, usually circular bread covered with tomato sauce and cheese with optional garnishes. The cheese is usually mozzarella or "pizza cheese". Various other foodstuffs can be added to this design as garnishes, most typically ground meats and sausages, such as salami, pepperoni, ham, bacon and ground beef; fruits such as pineapple and olives; vegetable-like fruits such as chili peppers, sweet bell peppers and tomatoes; and vegetables such as onions. Mushrooms are also a popular topping. The crust is traditionally plain but can be flavoured with butter, garlic, herbs, or sesame. Pizza is normally eaten hot (typically at lunch or dinner), but leftovers are often eaten cold, typically at breakfast or on a picnic.

Pizza is eaten in restaurants sometimes called pizzerias or pizza parlors. It can also be purchased in grocery stores or supermarkets; in many countries, pizza can also be ordered by phone (or, increasingly, via the Web) to be delivered, hot and ready for eating, to the home.

The word "pizza" is from the Italian word pizza (Template:IPA2), originally meaning "cake, tart, pie". Its plural in Italian is pizze (Template:IPA2).


Types of pizza

Authentic Neapolitan pizza ('a pizza Napoletana)

According to the Associazione vera pizza napoletana, genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour (type 0 and/or 00), natural yeast or brewer's yeast, 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 an approved mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or any other mechanical device, and may be no more than 0.3 cm thick. Baking the pizza must take place in a wood-fired, stone oven at 485C (905F) for 60-90 seconds. When cooked, it should be soft and fragrant.

The classic types and their respective toppings include:

Turnovers in the pizza family:

  • Ripieno or Calzone: fior-di-latte or mozzarella di bufala, sometimes also ricotta cheese, olive oil, and salami, other meats, vegetables, etc.
  • Stromboli: mozzarella, meat, vegetables, etc.


Pizza has become an international food since the toppings can be extensively varied to meet local variations in taste. These pizzas consist of the same basic design but include an exceptionally diverse choice of ingredients, such as anchovies, egg, pineapple, eggplant, lamb, couscous, chicken, chocolate, sheep eyes, fish, and shellfish, meats done in ethnic styles such as Moroccan lamb, kebab or even chicken tikka masala, and non-traditional spices such as curry and Thai sweet chili. A "white pizza" (pizza bianca) uses no tomato sauce, often substituting pesto or dairy products such as sour cream. Pizzas with non-traditional ingredients are known in the United States as "gourmet pizza" or California-style. It is also simple to make pizzas without meat for vegetarians.

Hawaiian pizzas are a North American invention, usually consisting of a cheese and tomato base with ham (sometimes Canadian bacon). Quite often vegetables are used to top pizza, although there is variations that include select fruits, such as the pineapple. Hawaiian pizza is mocked by some as a variation which has strayed too far from its Italian roots, and loathed by others for the effect the addition of sweet fruit has on the overall flavor. Interestingly, "Hawaiian-style" pizza is not particularly popular in Hawaii.

Pizza may be baked with thin bread bottom (Italian style) or with thicker bread (pan pizza).

In Chicago, the Chicago Style Pizza, or deep dish pizza, contains a crust which is formed up the sides of a deep dish pan and reverses the order of ingredients, using crust, cheese, filling, then sauce on top. Some versions (usually referred to as "stuffed" pizza) have two layers of crust with the sauce on top. Deep dish pizza was purportedly invented and first served in 1943 at Uno's Pizzeria, which, as of 2005, was still operating along with its twin restaurant, Due's, in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

In St. Louis, Missouri, Saint Louis-style pizza is made with a thin crispy crust, often heavily seasoned with salt and oregano, topped with provel cheese, and served in small squares rather than pie-like slices.

In Buffalo, New York, pizza is made with a thicker, doughier crust than traditional New York style pizza, with a slightly thicker and sweeter sauce, mozzarella cheese and (usually) pepperoni cooked until it is burned and crispy on the edges. It is generally served with Buffalo wings, which are ordered by the dozen or the bucket.

In Utica, NY, a type of pizza called tomato pie is common. This type of pizza is usually served cold, and is topped only with a light layer of Pecorino Romano cheese

In restaurants, pizza can be baked in a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven.

In Scotland, fish and chip shops commonly sell a "pizza supper". This consists of a portion of fried chips (french fries) and a frozen pizza which has been deep fried rather than baked. Although its nutritional value is dubious, it is nevertheless a popular meal.

Frozen pizzas are generally inferior in quality to pizzeria-made pizzas, though there do exist exemplary frozen pizzas.

Making an American pizza

Ingredients: flour, eggs, corn flour, yeast, sugar, salt, spices, tomato sauce, cheese ...

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Step 1: Prepare a bowl of warm water, eggs, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.
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Step 2: Mix with flour, salt, and water.
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Step 3: Use your hands to knead the dough.
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Step 4: Knead until smooth and make round balls about 5" in diameter.
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Step 5: Coat with olive oil and place in large bowl. Cover with kitchen wrap and let sit for an hour.
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Step 6: Make your dough into the shape of a pie.
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Step 7: Put your choice of topping onto it.
Step 8: Use an oven to cook it at 450F.
Step 8: Use an oven to cook it at 450F.


Flat breads are an ancient tradition round the Mediterranean. Perhaps of ancient Persian origin, such bread was introduced to Magna Graecia (southern Italy) by its earliest Greek colonists.

Pizza arguably has its first literary mention in Book VII of Virgil's Aeneid: 'Their homely fare dispatch’d, the hungry band/Invade their trenchers next, and soon devour,/To mend the scanty meal, their cakes of flour./Ascanius this observ’d, and smiling said:/“See, we devour the plates on which we fed.”' In the 3rd century B.C., the first history of Rome, written by Marcus Porcius Cato, mentions a "flat round of dough dressed with olive oil, herbs, and honey baked on stones". Further evidence is found in 79 A.D. from the remains of Pompeii; archeologists excavated shops that closely resemble a present day pizzeria.

The tomato was first believed to be poisonous (as most other fruits of the nightshade family are), when it came to Europe in the 16th century. However, by the late 18th century even the poor of the area around Naples added it as an ingredient to their yeast-based flat bread, and the dish gained in popularity. Pizza became a tourist attraction, and visitors to Naples ventured into the poorer areas of the city to try the local specialty.

The earliest pizzeria opened in 1830 at Via Port'Alba 18 in Naples and is still in business today. Pizza was still considered "poor man's food" in 1889 when Rafaele Esposito, the most famous pizzaiolo of Naples, was summoned before King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy to prepare the local specialty. It is said that he made two traditional ones and additionally created one in the colours of the Italian flag with red tomato sauce, white mozzarella cheese, and green basil leaves. The Queen was delighted and "pizza Margherita" was born.

An Italian immigrant to the US in 1897 named Gennaro Lombardi opened a small grocery store in New York's Little Italy. An employee of his, Antonio Totonno Pero (also an Italian immigrant) began making pizza for the store to sell. Their pizza became so popular, Lombardi opened the first US pizzeria in 1905, naming it simply Lombardi's. In 1924, Totonno left Lombardi's to open his own pizzeria on Coney Island called Totonno's. At this point in time in the U.S., pizza consumption was still limited mostly to the Italian immigrant crowd.

The international breakthrough came after World War II. Although the birthplace of modern day pizza is Naples, local bakers were at a loss to satisfy the demand from American soldiers. While the American troops involved in the Italian campaign took their appreciation for the dish back home, the millions of Italians called to help rebuild the damaged economy introduced their cuisine to the rest of Europe.

With the rising popularity in the 1950s, especially in the US, pizza became a component of the growing chain-restaurant industry. Some leading early pizza chains were Shakey's Pizza (which invented the term pizza parlor; formerly, the term pizzeria was preferred) and Pizza Hut (now owned by Yum! Brands, Inc.), both founded in 1954, the former in Sacramento and the latter in Wichita. Some later entrants to the dine-in pizza market were Happy Joe's, California Pizza Kitchen, and Round Table Pizza. The pizza business today is dominated by companies that specialize in home delivery (or serve it that way exclusively), including Domino's Pizza, Little Caesar's, and Papa John's Pizza. Even Pizza Hut has shifted its emphasis away from pizza parlors and toward home delivery. These national pizza chains often coexist with locally owned and operated pizza chains and independent restaurants. Because pizzas can be made quickly and are easily transported, most pizza restaurants in the United States offer call-in pizza delivery services. The lack of such delivery services at the time in England was the focus of an extended passage in the Douglas Adams novel The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul.

In most developed countries, pizza is also found in supermarkets as a frozen food. Considerable amounts of food technology has gone into the creation of palatable frozen pizzas. 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 pre-cooked; lately, frozen pizzas with completely raw ingredients have also begun to appear.


Pizza in culture

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Pizzas in the episode "Queasy Rider"

Pizza is a common food in animated television series; not only does this reflect the actual popularity of the food, but the ease of drawing it over and over. Television series that feature pizza parlours as regular locations include Goof Troop and The Weekenders (As part of a running gag, the pizza parlor had a diffrent name, and theme in each episode). The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are also regular consumers of pizzas. The show Samurai Pizza Cats is about three cat warriors who live in a pizza restaurant.

External links

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