The argument between Italian pizza and American pizza is one of the most acrimonious in the pizza world. We recognize the passion that people have for their chosen style of pizza because we are also pizza enthusiasts.
There is no doubting that both types of pizza have their own special charms, whether you prefer the thick, doughy crust of American pizza or the thin, crispy crust of Italian pizza.
The method of preparation is one of the key differences between Italian and American pizza. Fresh, high-quality ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil are frequently used to make Italian pizza.
Hand-stretching the dough results in it being baked quickly at high temperatures in a wood-fired oven.
This produces a pizza that is flavorful, chewy inside, and crispy on the exterior. On the other hand, canned tomatoes, pre-shredded cheese, and processed meats are frequently used on American pizza.
When compared to Italian pizza, the dough is often thicker and softer, and the toppings are frequently piled high.
Even while this kind of pizza isn’t as old-fashioned as Italian pizza, it has undoubtedly earned a special place in the hearts of pizza fans everywhere.
History of Italian and American Pizza
Pizza has become a popular dish worldwide, but its origins can be traced back to Italy. The history of Italian pizza dates back to the 18th century, when the first pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, was established in Naples.
Pizza was initially a dish for the poor, but it gained popularity among the upper classes in the 19th century. By the 20th century, pizza had become a national symbol of Italy and was exported to other countries.
In the United States, pizza was introduced by Italian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first pizzeria in the US was Lombardi’s, which opened in New York City in 1905.
Pizza became popular among Americans in the mid-20th century, and it is now one of the most popular foods in the country.
Italian and American pizzas differ in several ways, including the crust, sauce, and toppings. Italian pizza typically has a thin, crispy crust that is made with high-protein flour, water, yeast, and salt.
The sauce is made with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic, and the toppings are usually simple and fresh, such as mozzarella cheese, basil, and prosciutto.
American pizza, on the other hand, has a thicker crust that is often made with all-purpose flour, sugar, and oil.
The sauce is usually made with canned tomatoes and is seasoned with herbs and spices. The toppings on American pizza are often more elaborate than those on Italian pizza, and may include pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and other ingredients.
In conclusion, the history of Italian and American pizza is intertwined, but the two styles of pizza have evolved differently over time.
While Italian pizza is known for its simplicity and fresh ingredients, American pizza is often more indulgent and loaded with toppings. Both styles of pizza have their own unique appeal and continue to be enjoyed by people all over the world.
Ingredients and Sauce
When it comes to pizza, the ingredients and sauce play a crucial role in determining the taste and texture of the pizza. Let’s take a closer look at the Italian and American pizza ingredients and sauce.
Italian Pizza Ingredients
Traditional Italian pizza is known for its simple yet flavorful ingredients. The pizza dough is made with flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil.
American Pizza Ingredients
American pizza, on the other hand, tends to have a wider variety of ingredients. The pizza dough is often made with a higher gluten flour, resulting in a chewier texture.
Italian Pizza Sauce
Italian pizza sauce is known for its tangy and fresh flavor. The sauce is made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and oregano.
The sauce is typically light and doesn’t overpower the other ingredients on the pizza. Olive oil is sometimes added to the sauce for an extra layer of flavor.
American Pizza Sauce
American pizza sauce is typically heavier and sweeter than Italian pizza sauce. The sauce is made with canned tomatoes, sugar, and a blend of herbs and spices.
The sauce is often used in larger quantities than Italian pizza sauce and can sometimes overpower the other ingredients on the pizza.
Overall, the ingredients and sauces used in Italian and American pizza differ quite a bit. Italian pizza focuses on simple, fresh ingredients, while American pizza tends to have a wider variety of toppings and a sweeter sauce.
When it comes to pizza, the crust is one of the most important aspects. It’s what holds everything together and provides the foundation for the toppings. In this section, we’ll discuss the differences between Italian pizza crust and American pizza crust.
Italian Pizza Crust
Italian pizza crust is known for being thin and crispy. It’s made with a specific type of flour and is stretched out by hand to achieve the desired thickness.
The dough is then left to rise for at least 24 hours, allowing the flavors to develop and the crust to become airy and light.
Italian pizza is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven, which gives the crust a slightly charred flavor and a crispy texture.
The high heat of the oven also allows the pizza to cook quickly, resulting in a perfectly cooked crust that’s not too chewy or tough.
American Pizza Crust
American pizza crust, on the other hand, is typically thicker and more bread-like. It’s made with a different type of flour than Italian pizza crust and is often rolled out with a rolling pin to achieve the desired thickness.
The dough is then left to rise for a shorter period of time, usually around 8-16 hours.
American pizza is often cooked in a gas oven, which doesn’t provide the same level of heat as a wood-fired oven.
This can result in a less crispy crust and a longer cooking time. However, some pizzerias use coal-fired ovens, which can provide a similar level of heat and flavor as a wood-fired oven.
Thin Crust vs Thick Crust
Italian pizza crust is generally thin and crispy, while American pizza crust can vary in thickness. Some American pizzas are made with a thin crust, similar to Italian pizza, while others have a thick, doughy crust. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
Wood-Fired Oven vs Coal-Fired Oven vs Gas Oven
As mentioned earlier, Italian pizza is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven, which provides a unique flavor and texture to the crust. American pizza is often cooked in a gas oven, but some pizzerias use coal-fired ovens, which can provide a similar level of heat and flavor as a wood-fired oven.
In conclusion, the crust is an important part of any pizza, and there are significant differences between Italian pizza crust and American pizza crust.
Whether you prefer a thin, crispy crust or a thick, doughy one, there’s a pizza out there for everyone.
When it comes to pizza toppings, there are some notable differences between Italian and American pizza. Let’s take a closer look at the toppings on each type of pizza.
Italian Pizza Toppings
Italian pizza toppings tend to be more traditional and simple. Italians believe that less is more when it comes to pizza toppings.
They typically use fresh, high-quality ingredients and focus on enhancing the natural flavors of the pizza. Some popular Italian pizza toppings include:
- Fresh tomatoes
- Buffalo mozzarella
It’s rare to find an Italian pizza with more than three toppings. Italians believe that too many toppings can overpower the flavor of the pizza and take away from the overall experience.
American Pizza Toppings
American pizza toppings tend to be more varied and adventurous. Americans love to experiment with different toppings and create unique flavor combinations. Some popular American pizza toppings include:
- A variety of other toppings
American pizzas often have more than one topping, and it’s not uncommon to see pizzas with five or more toppings.
The toppings on Italian and American pizza reflect the cultural differences between the two countries.
Italians tend to be more traditional and focused on quality ingredients, while Americans tend to be more adventurous and experimental with their pizza toppings.
Size, Quality and Care
When it comes to pizza, size matters. In America, pizza sizes are generally larger than in Italy. American pizza sizes typically range from 12-14 inches, while Italian pizzas are usually around 9 inches.
This difference in size is due to cultural differences in portion sizes and how pizza is consumed. In Italy, pizza is often eaten as a personal meal, while in America it is often shared among a group.
But size isn’t everything. Quality is also a crucial factor in pizza. Italian pizza is known for its high-quality ingredients and careful preparation.
Italian pizza sauce is made with fresh ingredients and focuses on the natural flavors of tomatoes, while American pizza sauce is often made with canned tomatoes and cooked. Italian pizza dough is also made with extra care, often allowed to sit for at least 24 hours or even up to 72 hours to develop flavor and texture.
Care is also an important aspect of Italian pizza-making. In Italy, pizza-making is considered an art form, with many pizzerias using traditional wood-fired ovens and hand-stretching the dough.
This attention to detail and tradition results in a pizza that is not only delicious but also culturally significant.
In contrast, American pizza-making often prioritizes speed and convenience. Pizza is typically cooked at high temperatures for short periods of time, resulting in a crispy crust and fast turnaround time.
While this may be convenient, it can sacrifice some of the depth of flavor and cultural significance found in Italian pizza-making.
While American pizza may be larger and more convenient, Italian pizza is often considered higher quality and culturally significant.
Neapolitan and Margherita Pizza
When it comes to Italian pizza, two of the most popular and iconic types are Neapolitan and Margherita pizza. Both of these pizzas have a rich history and unique characteristics that set them apart from other types of pizza.
Neapolitan pizza is a traditional style of pizza that originated in Naples, Italy. It is characterized by its thin, crispy crust and simple toppings.
The crust is made from a mixture of flour, water, salt, and yeast, and is cooked in a wood-fired oven at a high temperature for a short amount of time. This gives the crust a slightly charred and chewy texture.
The toppings on Neapolitan pizza are typically simple and include fresh tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.
The simplicity of the toppings allows the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through, making for a delicious and satisfying pizza.
Margherita pizza is another classic Italian pizza that is named after Margherita of Savoy, the queen of Italy in the late 19th century.
The story goes that the queen was tired of the fancy French cuisine that was popular at the time, and asked for a simple pizza to be made for her.
The result was the Margherita pizza, which quickly became a favorite among Italians and pizza lovers around the world.
Margherita pizza is similar to Neapolitan pizza in that it has a thin, crispy crust and simple toppings. However, the toppings on Margherita’s pizza are slightly different. Instead of just fresh tomato sauce, Margherita pizza also includes fresh slices of tomato, as well as fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.
Both Neapolitan and Margherita pizzas are delicious and iconic Italian pizzas that have stood the test of time. Whether you prefer the simplicity of Neapolitan pizza or the slight variation of Margherita pizza, you can’t go wrong with either one.
New York Style Pizza
When it comes to American pizza, New York-style pizza is one of the most popular and well-known varieties. It is characterized by its large, thin, and foldable slices that are perfect for on-the-go eating.
New York-style pizza is typically made with high-gluten bread flour, which gives the crust its signature chewy texture. The sauce is usually made with canned tomatoes and is heavily seasoned with garlic, oregano, and other herbs and spices.
One of the defining features of New York-style pizza is its size. Pies are typically around 18 inches in diameter, making them perfect for sharing with a group of friends or family.
Chain pizzerias like Domino’s and Pizza Hut have also popularized New York-style pizza across the country, making it easily accessible to pizza lovers everywhere.
When it comes to sauce, New York-style pizza tends to have a tangy and slightly sweet flavor. This is due to the use of canned tomatoes, which are often sweeter than fresh tomatoes.
Overall, New York-style pizza is a beloved American classic that has become a staple in cities across the country. Its availability and popularity make it a go-to for pizza lovers everywhere.
After examining the key differences between Italian pizza and American pizza, we can see that both styles have their unique characteristics and strengths.
Italian pizza is known for its thin, crispy crust, high-quality ingredients, and simple yet flavorful toppings. On the other hand, American pizza is often thicker and denser, with a wider variety of toppings and a focus on cheese and tomato sauce.
When it comes to the dough, Italian pizza is typically fermented for a longer period of time, resulting in a more complex and nuanced flavor.
American pizza dough, on the other hand, is often made with more yeast and allowed to rise for a shorter period of time, resulting in a softer and fluffier texture.
In terms of toppings, Italian pizza tends to focus on a few high-quality ingredients, such as fresh mozzarella, basil, and San Marzano tomatoes.
American pizza, on the other hand, often includes a wider variety of toppings, such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and onions.
Ultimately, whether you prefer Italian pizza or American pizza comes down to personal taste. Both styles have their devoted fans and unique strengths. So why not try both and decide for yourself which one you prefer?