Pizza

Three Pizza Styles of Italy

Aysha Tanya

There are as many types of pizza in Italy as there are types of flatbreads in India. Pizza is undoubtedly Italy’s most popular export, along with pasta and Sofia Loren. Although when we think of pizza we tend to think of triangles of saucy slices from a round pie, there are varieties of pizza that resemble bread and some that are even rectangular in shape

Pizza can be differentiated based on their toppings. For example, Margharita is a pizza with tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. Funghi has tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella and mushrooms. Pizza Bianca, the minimalist of the lot has olive oil, coarse sea salt and maybe a little rosemary.

Pizza can also be differentiated by their crust. The interesting part is that each variety of crust happens to come from a different region of Italy and ranges from thin and chewy, to thick and soft.

These are the three major types of pizza you’ll encounter on a trip to Italy.

 Pizza Napoletana

This is the pizza that comes to mind when most people think of authentic Italian pizza. The inspiration for thin crust pizzas the world over, this one is brilliant in it’s simplicity. The crust is thin and chewy, and the center of the pizza, almost soupy. This type of pizza is protected by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana and there are very strict standards for what can be sold as Pizza Napoletana. For one, it is typically made with San Marzana tomatoes, and must be made with 80 percent type 00 flour and 20 percent 0 flour.

Sfincione

Unlike Napoletana pizza, Sfincione , which originated in Sicily, has a thick cushiony crust, and is more bread-y. It is the inspiration for the deep dish pizza that can now be found all over the world. Sfincione means ‘sponge’ which describes the texture of this pizza very well. There is a version of sfincione that has a layer of meat and cheese in between the crust, called Sfincioni di San Vito. Other versions include toppings of tomato, onions or anchovies.

Pizza al Tagliole

Found all over Rome, this is a sheet pizza, which is rectangular in shape. What sets it apart from other kinds of pizza is that it is cooked in an electric oven, while almost every other pizza is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired one. Pizza al Tagliole is a popular snack on the streets of Rome, and the most well-loved type is the Bianca – dressed minimally with olive oil and coarse sea salt.