Foodies can be practically religious about their pizza. The popular dish is a very decisive issue within pockets of the cuisine community. Many consider the only legitimate pizza is an authentic Italian pizza, with its subtle seasonings and simple construction. Others are ardent supporters of what most would call the ‘American pizza’, a thick crusted behemoth of meat and cheese, and often coated in a multitude of different toppings. Some even support Chicago-style pizza.
Regardless of what you think of it, pizza’s origins are purely Italian. Here are seven different types of Italian pizza:
1. Neapolitan Pizza
The Neapolitan pizza forms the foundation of pizza for the entire world. It’s the iconic Italian pizza against which all others are judged. This type of pizza is made with a very thin crust and with toppings so thinly layered that it can be folded to be eaten. Oftentimes, people will take Neapolitan pizza with them on-the-go, like a pita or sandwich.
The pizza features the classic enlarged edge of the crust that we are all familiar with. The pizza is cooked very quickly, typically in an oven at a very high temperature. This allows more air bubbles to form inside the dough, puffing it up.
2. Pizza Romano
Named after the city of its creation, Rome, the Pizza Romano is a favourite of people all over Italy. These types of pizza are made with an exceptionally thin crust. There’s almost no edge to the crust, with sauce, toppings, and cheese extending as far as they possibly can. The pizzas are typically made much larger than other types of Italian pizza.
The dough is rolled as flat as the chef can get it and a rolling pin is used to push out as much air bubbles as possible to avoid any bubble in the crust. This allows the crust of the pizza to remain exceptionally thin during cooking. You can enjoy these types of pizza at some of the best Italian restaurants.
3. Pizza All’Italiana
A modern creation, pizza All’Italiana is in some ways a combination of all types of Italian pizza. In terms of taste, the pizza is very similar to the Neapolitan pizza. Most pizza chefs are very protective of their pizzas, not allowing any variance in toppings at all.
This pizza is much less steeped in tradition and in most cases, allows for much greater exploration of different toppings. The dough sometimes has olive oil added to it. Many of the exciting toppings used are rare and locally sourced, giving each pizza All’Italiana a unique and exciting flair.
4. Pizza al taglio
While it’s technically known as a pizza, Pizza al taglio is in many ways more similar to a ‘focaccia’ which is a flat-oven baked Italian bread. The pizza al taglio is cooked in large rectangular pans and then cut up into slices, something not as common in Italy as it is in other places. It’s often sold by the slice as a street food, in many different parts of Italy. It’s very popular in Rome, and can also be found in Northern Italy and Sicily.
The slices are often sold by weight rather than a set cost per slice. Many different toppings are available, ranging from a simple tomato sauce to something closer potatos and cheese.
5. Pizza fritta
Pizza fritta is truly an exciting and unique variety of Italian pizza. It originates in Naples, and has been seeing a resurgence of popularity as of late. You might say it’s more similar to a panzerotti or calzone than what we think of as a pizza, but in Italy there’s no debate about it – it’s pizza. The dough is folded closed around an ample amount of ricotta and salami, along with some other ingredients.
Cooked inside a pizza oven for a particular amount of time, the dough is then deep fried at a high temperature to seal it in and give it a nice crispy exterior. Deep fried pizza might sound like an American invention, but it’s actually Italian.
This one is a bit of a departure from the traditional Italian pizza that most of us think of. The Sfincione is a type of deep dish pizza with origins in Sicily. Again, some might say that it would be more accurately a focaccia than a pizza, but none of the locals will hear any of it. The Sfincione pizza is filled with a variety of toppings. Tomatoes, onions, and oregano are staples of the Sfincione.
The dish is often topped with caciocavallo cheese. The pizzas have even been known to include anchovies at times. It’s widely available as a street food, and less flimsy than other pizzas.
7. Pizza Siciliana
Another product of Sicily, the Pizza Siciliana is perhaps best known for its square shape. While it might be commonplace for a pizza to be square in the United States, the overwhelming majority of Italian pizzas are round. The square shape sometimes found in America might very well have been influenced by Italian immigrants to the New England area, it is believed.
Common ingredients of the Pizza Siciliana include several different types of cheese, including local cow and goat cheese. Anchovies are also common. Many of these pizzas are dusted with a light coating of breadcrumbs.