Pizza is pizza, right?
Not so fast.
If you’ve ever visited Italy (or Eataly for that matter!), you might have noticed that there are many different types of Italian pizza, from la pizza Napoletana to la pizza Romana. Just like America has New York-style pizza, Chicago-style deep dish pizza, and so on, so do we have many different varieties in Italy!
Let’s take a closer look at each slice.
1. Pizza Napoletana
Born in Napoli, la pizza Napoletana is one of the most famous types of Italian pizza. Protected by a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG) certification, this style must be made in a very particular way.
The dough is comprised of wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water and is left to rise for up to 24 hours. It’s shaped by hand into a flat, round disk, about 3 millimeters thick. After that, it’s topped with ingredients and baked for 90 seconds in a blisteringly hot (around 900°F) wood-burning oven. The result is a soft, elastic heart with a tall, fluffy crust called the cornicione in Italian. You can find this variety at your local Eataly’s La Pizza & La Pasta restaurant.
Fun fact: In 2017, the art of making pizza Napoletana was added to UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage!
2. Pizza alla Pala
Meaning “paddle pizza” in Italian, pizza alla pala originated in Roman bakeries as a way to use up leftover bread dough. Bakers would stretch the dough lengthwise, top it with fresh ingredients, and serve it by the slice on a wooden paddle. Unlike pizza Napoletana, this style has a highly-hydrated dough (about 80% water) and is cooked in an electric oven around 580°F.
The dough is denser and rises for a long time, giving each slice a soft, fluffy interior and a crispy exterior. Get a slice at your local Eataly and try our recipe!
3. Pizza Tonda Romana
Pizza alla pala isn’t the only variety of pizza from Italy’s capital city. In Roman pizzerie, you’ll find another type: la pizza tonda Romana. This kind is flat and round and it has a very thin crust. Unlike pizza Napoletana, this style is crispy and has an almost cracker-like crust!
4. Pizza al Taglio
Literally meaning “pizza by the cut,” pizza al taglio is the perfect pizza for enjoying on the street. It’s baked in a large, rectangular pan before it gets cut into squares or long strips. The price of each slice is often determined by the weight and customers can decide how big of a slice they want when ordering.
5. Pizza Fritta
A classic Neapolitan street food, pizza fritta is fried pizza dough. It comes in many different shapes and forms. For example, montanara is round while calzone is shaped like a half moon. Like many other great things in life, pizza fritta was born out of a crisis. After World War II, the price of mozzarella and wood for the ovens increased dramatically. In order to continue to serve their staple dish, cooks in Napoli decided to fry the dough instead of baking it, filling it with ingredients they had on hand instead.
There is also another type of pizza fritta: panzerotti. Shaped like half-moons, panzerotti is pizza dough stuffed with ingredients like mozzarella, tomato, and ricotta, then deep fried until golden. They are often served as street food in Puglia, but have become a popular tradition in many regions throughout Italy today.
6. Pizza al Padellino
Pizza al padellino, or “pan pizza,” is a type of pizza that’s baked in small, round pans. Think of it like Italian-style “deep dish.” Typically served in Torino, pizza al padellino has a thick soft crust, that gets slightly browned on the outside when baking. It can be topped with a variety of ingredients, from prosciutto to mozzarella.
7. Pizza Siciliana
Also known as sfincione, Sicilian-style pizza has a thick crust with a fluffy, sponge-like consistency. It is baked in a rectangular shaped pan, topped with tomato sauce, anchovies, onions, oregano, and a hard sheep’s milk cheese. For the final touch, the pizza is covered in breadcrumbs which help absorb some of the oil from the ingredient. Sfincione is often served in bakeries rather than pizzerias as a snack or street food.
Now that you’re an Italian pizza expert, taste the varieties at Eataly Toronto!