Americans consume 350 slices of pizza every second, an amount equal to 100 acres a day Ė thatís 33 billion dollars worth of pizza annually from the more than 60,000 pizzerias in America.
Neapolitans claim pizza was created in Naples during the 18th century, though there are many versions of flatbreads with toppings around the Mediterranean area. In support of their claim, they can point to the earliest official pizzeria, which opened in 1830 at Via Port'Alba 18 in Naples and is still in business today. By the beginning of the 1900's pizza made its way to the United States, thanks to Italian immigrants, most notably in New York and Chicago, due to those cities having large Italian populations. In 1897, Gennaro Lombardi opened a small grocery store in New Yorkís Little Italy. Their pizza became so popular, Lombardi opened the first US pizzeria in 1905, naming it simply Lombardi's. Itís celebrating its centennial this year and a short review can be had from Vinography who refers us from there to Slice, an entire blog dedicated to eating pizza. Slice also has a review of the famous Pepe's in New Haven (opened in 1925) where customers waiting to be seated form lines down the block (I ate there with some local friends and the trick was apparently to go to the smaller dining room further back in the lot). One of my personal favorite treats are the pizza rolls at Sergi's in Canton, NY.
Sources: wikipedia.org, pizzamaking.com, vinography.com, sliceny.com
This week I attempted my first home-made pizza, and I felt compelled to do something just a little different, which would come as no surprise to those who know me well. Ergo, pizza bianca instead of the old standby with red sauce and pepperoni. And it would have gone fine, too, except for the mutant crust of doom -- I obviously need some more practice with that.
Pizza Bianca with Prosciutto, Arugula, and Parmesan
adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2003
1 batch pizza dough
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
16 thin slices prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
2 cups (packed) arugula leaves
2 cups fresh Parmesan shavings (about 4 ounces)
Made a single pie on a pizza stone. Prepare pizza dough and press out on stone. Drizzle dough with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Top each with prosciutto, arugula, and Parmesan. Bake until crust is brown, about 8 minutes. Using pizza peel, remove pizza from oven (leaving the stone to cool) and slice as desired. Transfer pizza crusts to plates. Drizzle each with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and serve immediately.
Notes: Well, it came out pretty tasty, despite the aforementioned difficulty with the dough. Getting it to cooperate is not as easy as it looks, and if you've ever actually watched someone make a pizza, it doesn't look that easy. Getting the right elasticity to the dough is the trick apparently, and one I've yet to learn properly. More experimentation required.Posted by Jennifer at October 23, 2005 11:38 AM | TrackBack