When we say Italian cuisine, we are definitely talking about pizza. Nine out of ten people think of pizza when they want to go out for Italian. Perhaps many countries have several national dishes, but only a few of them become an all-time international favorite. For Italy, they have two popular dishes: pasta and of course pizza.
Pizza didn’t actually start in Italy, it started in the Middle East, where pieces of flatbread were used to hold toppings or seasoned oil and were eaten without using plates or cutlery. The Greeks called this first pizza plankuntos and it was basically used as an edible dish when eating thick stews or broths. It was still not what we would call pizza today. There are numerous well-known varieties of pizza in Italy, but Pizza Margherita has set the standard.
1. Pizza Margherita – This pizza was first made in 1899 when Queen Marghereta visited Naples to escape a cholera epidemic in northern Italy. The ingredients used to make a Margherita pizza are tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, imitating the colors of the Italian flag.
2. Pizza Marinara – a traditional Neapolitan pizza with oregano, anchovies and lots of garlic.
3. Pizza Alla Napoletana (Napoli) – based on tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies.
4. Pizza Capricciosa: a topping of mushrooms, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, olives and ½ boiled egg.
5. Pizza Pugliese – makes use of local capers and olives from the area. Covered with tomato, mozzarella and onion.
6. Pizza Veronese: It has mushrooms and tender raw prosciutto.
7. Sicilian Pizzas: They have numerous toppings ranging from green olives, shellfish, hard-boiled eggs, and peas.
8. Pizza Ai Quattro Formagi: Uses a four-cheese blend with fresh mozzarella and three local cheeses like Gorgonzola, ricotta, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
9. Pizza Quattro Stagioni – tomato-based and divided into four sectors, one for each season: Spring: olives and artichokes; Summer: pepper; Autumn: tomato and mozzarella; Winter: mushrooms and boiled eggs. This makes a good sampler pizza with sections of artichokes, salami or prosciutto cotto, mushrooms, and tomatoes.
10. Italian Tuna: Packed in olive oil, it is also a popular dressing along with other marine products such as anchovies, shellfish, and shrimp.
11. Pizza Ai Funghi e Salsicce (or boscaiola) – with mozzarella, mushrooms and sausage, with or without tomato.
12. Italian Calzones: These are smaller than their American cousins and are often stuffed with fresh meats or vegetables, like spinach and mozzarella.
13. Pomodoro Pachino and Rughetta – topped with cherry tomato and arugola.
14. Pizza al taglio, also known as rustic pizza, is sold throughout Italy, usually by weight and often with marinated mushrooms, onions, or artichokes.
15. Pizza Focaccia: It resembles the first pizzas without tomatoes and cheese, but covered with olive oil, caramelized onions and other savory ingredients.
16. Sfincione: This is a Sicilian thick sheet pizza that uses tomato sauce, anchovies (usually anchovy paste), breadcrumbs, and caciocavallo cheese (or another local variety).
17. Dessert Pizzas: It is a new trend that is gaining popularity. It usually has flavor combinations like Nutella, honey, fruit jam, yogurt, and even mustard and liqueur.
18. Focaccia Al Rosmarino: Made with rosemary and olive oil, sometimes served with prosciutto. This pizza is usually served as an appetizer.
19. Roman pizza: it has tomato, mozzarella, capperi and anchovies.
20. Liguria Pizzas: Topped with basil pesto and no tomato sauce.