Types of Pizza

There’s a perfect pizza for everyone!

There are many types of pizza in the world, but these are some of the famous. Aficionados are serious about their pizzas and insist that there are certain ways to craft a pizza, with the rest being inferior to their chosen favorite. New Yorkers can’t understand why you would need a knife and fork to eat a pizza, Chicagoans scoff at those skinny thin New York style slices, and everyone thinks the California style pizzas are a bit frou frou. Well, be that as it may, there is something to be said for their devotion–it makes for great pizza when you can get the real deal.

Neapolitan Pizza (Pizza Napoletana)
These types of pizza are subject to the rules of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletano, a prestigious school in Naples, which sets the standards for an authentic Neapolitan pizza. The dough of an authentic Neapolitan pizza is made of only wheat flour used for bread making, natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast, salt, and water. The dough is kneaded by hand or using low-speed on a mixer. To form the dough into a pizza shape, no rolling pin is used. Rather, they are formed by hand, with the crust no more than 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. These pizzas feature ingredients local to Naples, including San Marzano tomatoes, grown on the volcanic plains south of Mt. Vesuvius, and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, which is mozzarella made from the milk of water buffalo. When baked, these pizza are in the oven for only 60 to 90 seconds in a 905 degree F (485 degree C). The ovens are fueled with oak wood.

There are two official types of Neapolitan pizzas:

  • Pizza Marinara–These pizzas are made with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil. Basil is often added to the marinara sauce as well.
  • Pizza Margherita–These pizzas are made with tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, and basil leaves. If the mozzarella is made from the milk of the water buffalo, i.e. buffalo mozzarella, it is called a Pizza Margherita Extra.

Pizza Rustica (Pizza a Taglio)
This pizza is available in take-away shops throughout Italy, especially in Rome. It has a chewy crust that is one to two centimeters thick. It is baked in long, rectangular baking pans and is usually sold by weight. This style of pizza is made in the Lazio style.

New York Style Pizza
This type of pizza originated in New York and is sometimes called Neapolitan-American style. It is usually hand-tossed with moderate amounts of sauce and cheese. The crust is thin with a chewy crust and has a bready rim. These pizzas are served in large, thin slices. People enjoying these pizza slices often stack them or fold them in half, to make handling them easier. New York style pizza is available throughout the United States, but the genuine real deal is best found in the New York area.

Chicago Style Pizza
Chicago style pizza is a deep-dish pizza, with a biscuit-like crust and high, raised edges. It is baked in a high sided pan and reverses the typical order of ingredients–first there is the crust, then cheese, toppings, and finally the sauce on top. A pizza of this type with a top crust is called a “stuffed” pizza. Pizzeria Uno in Chicago is credited with inventing this pizza in 1943.

California Style Pizza
California style pizza is notable for its innovative use of unique ingredients, using nontraditional cheeses, meats like duck and chicken, and using a wide variety of vegetables, with even some fruits used. You’ll also find unique sauces, such as Thai peanut sauce and barbecue sauce.

Greek Style Pizza
Greek pizza is found mainly in New England, brought there by Greek immigrants. It is characterized by its use of olive oil and is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of a pizza oven. It usually has feta cheese and Kalamata olives. Other traditional Greek toppings include sliced tomatoes, bell pepper, gyros meat, and spinach.