World Pizza Day is celebrated on 9 February. Pizza is one of the most widely consumed foods in the world and is loved by everyone, due to the diversity of ingredients with which it can be served.
In 2017 pizza has been declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, due to its role in social life and the transmission of this culinary art between generations.
It was approved by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, at a meeting held on Jeju Island (South Korea), backed by a worldwide petition of more than two million signatures.
The dish that symbolises Italian gastronomy is one of the most popular and widespread foods in the world: in Italy, about 8 million of them are cooked every day! Italians' favourite fillings are the classics and timeless ones such as Margherita, Napoletana, Marinara and Capricciosa; but maybe not everyone knows when and how the famous stuffed disc was born.
Let's find out together!
How was pizza born?
One of the oldest foods (the first traces date back to Neolithic times) is bread.
Over the centuries and in different regions of the Mediterranean, from Greece to Sardinia, there are several reworkings of bread: the ancient Greeks, for example, prepared a flattened bread, called πλακοῦς (plakous) while according to researchers, the Sardinians already knew 3,000 years ago the use of yeast. But the real and original combination of pasta and tomato, which created a lot of mistrust at first, dates back to the mid-18th century in the Kingdom of Naples.
It did not take long to go from the initial mistrust to the success of this new Neapolitan gastronomic creation: pizza conquered everyone, from the poorest classes to the court of the Bourbon rulers, to the royalty of the House of Savoy. It was in honour of Queen Margherita of Savoy that in 1889 the pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito, from the Brandi pizzeria in Naples, created the timeless myth of the "Pizza Margherita"! A true tricolour gastronomic banner: the white of mozzarella, the red of tomato and the green of basil. Until the beginning of 1900, pizza and pizzerias remained a Neapolitan peculiarity and only then did they begin to spread gradually throughout Italy.
The Italians who emigrated did the rest, bringing pizza to the whole world.
Things you don't know about pizza:
Why does everyone love pizza?
The composition and the ingredients combined form a concentrate of substances that stimulate not only the taste but also many pleasure centres. We have to admit that the combination of carbohydrates, tomato, mozzarella and other ingredients is without a doubt. EXCEPTIONAL!
The Pizza Effect
In sociology, it is called the Pizza Effect, a local phenomenon that is first successful abroad (and rather ignored in the country of origin) and only then returns to the forefront in its place of origin.
Pizza in the USA
According to US statistics, America's favourite pizza is the now famous Pizza Pepperoni. But don't be confused by the name, it's not actually seasoned with vegetables, but with spicy salami (the name Pepperoni was just that particular reddish sausage).
That's why in America the pizza is drawn with red dots (the salami slices).
3D printed pizza
NASA has funded the creation of a robot, called BeeHex, to 3D print food to accompany astronauts into space. Pizza is one of the first printed foods and will surely accompany astronauts on their next mission to Mars.
Before Google, there was pizza
One of the inventors of Google, Sergey Brin, before he set out to create the world's most famous search engine, tried to set up the first home pizza service ordered by fax. Fortunately, it was a complete failure!
The world's longest pizza.
Who else could hold this Guinness record but the Italians? The country that invented pizza presented a pizza in 2015 that was almost 1,600 metres long and weighed about 5 tonnes. 5 ovens, 200 volunteers, 80 members of the Italian national Pizzaioli team, 40 people to move the ovens and 3 minutes for each metre of pizza.
Our mouths are watering! We really need a good pizza right now.
So we decided to give you the recipe to make a perfect pizza in your kitchen and celebrate World Pizza Day.
Happy pizza to everyone!
HOME-MADE PIZZA 🍕
Ingredients for 3 / 4 blocks of dough for the pizza
- 450 g flour
- 250 ml water
- 12 g salt
- 1 g brewer's yeast
Ingredients for the classic margherita topping
- 400 g peeled tomatoes
- about 300 g of perfectly drained mozzarella
- fresh basil
- extra virgin olive oil
- Measure the water into a bowl and take a small amount of water in two different cups: dissolve the salt in one cup and the brewer's yeast in the other.
- Pour the water into a large bowl and add the small glass with the brewer's yeast.
- Start adding the sifted flour slowly and gradually, stirring it into the water, then when the flour is finished, add the salt dissolved in the water.
- Mix until you reach the "dough point". The specifications indicate that this phase should take about 10 minutes.
- Turn out onto the work surface and work for 20 minutes. Do not underestimate this time: it is extremely necessary to obtain a non-sticky, soft and elastic dough and a soft, dry pizza. Fold and crush several times, then as the 20 minutes approach, the dough will become soft and increasingly pliable and finally it will have a silky appearance.
- At this point, place it in a glass or porcelain bowl, cover it with the film and leave it to rise for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, cut the dough by hand. The specifications recommend getting doughs weighing between 180 and 250g.
- Put them back on an unfloured cloth and let them rise for another 4/6 hours at a temperature of 25°C.
- Almost at the end of the rising time, prepare the filling: mix the peeled tomatoes with an immersion blender, add salt, a few basil leaves and a dash of oil. Turn well to combine. Cut the mozzarella, press it into a cloth (even better is to drain it the day before) to avoid water settling on the pizza during cooking and set it aside.
- Once the dough has risen, place it one by one on a shelf, this time the wood can go well, sprinkled with semolina flour, without using the rolling pin but widening it with your hands, from the centre to the edge.
- Take the pan out of the oven, transfer the pizza disc, without oiling... Now you can season it.
- The pizza should be baked in a hot oven at 220 degrees for about 20 minutes.
- The trick to a perfect Margherita? Add the mozzarella halfway through the cooking time. 🍕