Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Leaning tower of Pizza!!!

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza this should be a food group in my opinion. In fact it is a perfect food.  I have never met a pizza that I did not like.  When we think of pizza, we assume that it originated in Italy.  But it started its roots in Greece, when they topped large flat breads with oil, herbs, spices and even dried fruit. Eventually it made it's way to the streets of Naples, where vendors sold a very plain sense of the word pizza, mainly to the poor.  Well, the story goes that in 1886 Queen Margherita was so enamored with this flat bread that she summoned a local Chef from his pizzeria to the palace to bake these flat breads for her.  To honor the beloved Queen he topped one of his creations with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, to represent the colors of the Italian flag.  Who knew, that Queen Margherita would start a pizza a revolution, and this pizza is still to this, day popular in Naples and around the world,what a trendsetter!!
But how did pizza root itself in America? During World War II, while the Americans and Europeans occupied Italian territories, soldiers got their first taste of the amazing dish.  Oddly enough Italian immigrants were selling the pizzas all along, but it was the soldiers that pulled pizza out of the neighborhoods and put it on the map.
Gennaro Lombardi is said to have been the first person to open up a pizzeria in 1905 , in New York City. It was named Lombardi's Pizzeria Napoletana, located 53 1/2 Spring Street.  Unfortunately, it was a little to soon, pizza had not taken off yet.
Italian food, not surprisingly is the number one popular ethnic food, and there are 9,000 pizzerias in New York alone(Tony Modica Pizza Dance Foundation), and a whopping 61,270 pizza joints in the U.S(America Business Lists, Omaha, Nebraska).  October we celebrate National Pizza month and Saturday is the biggest night to order take-out and it is pizza. Three of the top 10 weeks of pizza consumption occur in January. More pizza is consumed during Super Bowl  week than any other week of the year(Kraft Foods,Northfield, Ill.)
Here is one of my recipes for pizza dough...hope it serves you well as it has me.

2 cups All Purpose flour
1 Tbs. dry active yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar granulated
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water (110F to 115F)
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil

combine all dry ingredients and YES the yeast too. Place in a mixer and with a dough hook, add the water and oil combined, mix until it comes to a ball, may have to add more flour...THIS IS OK...add until it no longer sticks to the bowl and can be manipulated with your hands and not stick to them. Oil the very same bowl that it was mixed in and let rise until doubled.  Punch down and your ready to create your pizza de la resistance.  :)

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French.Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good. ~Alice May Brock


Wil Garber said...

Yo Paige. How long do you cook the pizza on the 'raw dough' and at what temp? Give me an offer I can't refuse.
Wil - (in his best Godfather impersonation.)

Paige Gould said...

Will, you can use the pizza dough after it has risen at least 30 minutes. Roll to fit your pan that you would like to use, top your pizza and cook at 400F, but keep an eye on it.

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