Deep dish pizzas are not an easy feat.
One-to-two inches thick, this giant of the pizza world often requires a fork and knife to handle. From Chicago, the deep dish features a flaky and buttery crust (yum!) with hearty toppings and is more like a tomato pie than other pizza styles we’re familiar with.
There’s a couple things you need to know when you’re thinking about sitting down in front of a deep dish:
- You’re probably not going to be able to eat a whole one by yourself.
- Your stomach will thank you for ordering meat and vegetables in your pie (otherwise, there may be a little too much cheese).
- Order ahead, so you won’t have to wait too long.
A follow up to the infamous pineapple-on-pizza debate, there are apparently another two kinds of people: those who put ranch on pizza and those that don’t.
Ranch me up, baby: The tangy & mellow flavor of ranch makes everything taste better. It rightfully belongs on pizza.
Don’t you dare: Pizza is already perfect. Dipping pizza in ranch is like putting ketchup on steak.
So… who’s right? Besides looking at taste buds, it depends on where the pizza is from. Fast food pizza? Who cares if you add ranch to it. Dining at the fabulous Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles? Blasphemy, probably.
Fun fact: New York pizza makers are serious about the pizza craft (curious about what makes New York pizza different? Check out our blog post What’s that Pizza Style? Breaking Down the Signature New York Slice). This means that they don’t put ranch on their pizzas and most pizzerias don’t even carry ranch — unless it’s for the tossed salad.
Should you put ranch on pizza? You’re probably okay… unless you’re in New York.
New York didn’t create pizza. But they do have their own delicious version.
Side note: if you haven’t read our first post in our What’s that Pizza Style? series, then check it out here: What’s that Pizza Style? Breaking Down the Classic Neapolitan.
The first United States pizzeria was opened by Italian immigrant Gennaro Lombardi in New York’s Little Italy in 1905. Since it’s birth, New York pizza has become one of the most iconic foods in the city (besides bagels). So what makes New York pizza different from other pizza styles?
New York pies are defined by large, wide slices that can be folded. Most of the time, they’re light on sauce and heavy on cheese and will leave grease stains on clothes for those who aren’t familiar with how to eat it. The crust is crunchy yet still flexible, due to its baking in coal or deck ovens.
Pizza enthusiasts go farther along to say that the minerals in their water is what makes New York pizza stand out from the rest. Chefs nationwide even ship New York water to their own establishments in attempt to achieve the same texture and flavor of the crust.
Considering the profoundness of New York pizza, there is only one way to eat it: folded in half, drained of excess grease, and on the go. Leave your knife and fork at home.
We’re familiar with pairing beer & pizza. But what about coffee & pizza?
Coffee’s flavor notes can be brought out by food flavors, and vice versa; it’s nuances can even enhance the flavors in savory dishes. Here’s two different things to consider when pairing coffee with pizza:
1. The Roast Style of the Coffee
Coffee roast styles range from light to dark, and the roast affects all aspects of a coffee’s flavor. For example, lighter roasts are usually bright and crisp, making them work well with lighter and breakfast-like foods (breakfast pizza, anyone?). A darker roast tends to pair better with richer, indulgent foods like any tomato-based pizza.
2. The Region of the Coffee
Central/South/Latin American coffees usually have a great balance. They’re light to medium in body and have medium to high acidity. What does that mean? Bright and tangy notes. This kind of coffee will pair well with sweet and tangy pizzas, like a fig pizza.
African and Arabian coffees have fruity, spicy flavor and crisp acidity, making an exciting pairing. These coffees go well with savory dishes with rich flavor.
Asian and Pacific coffees are earthy and full-bodied, making the perfect pizza pairing a savory Neapolitan margherita with an extra pinch of salt or a hot soppressata ‘za.
What’s your favorite kind of coffee and pizza?
In our current foodie Renaissance, we’re being introduced to an astounding variety of pizzas. Stuffed crust, Chicago style, etc. How many different styles of pizza can there possibly be? To kickstart this Friday blog series, we’ve decided to start with the good ol’ Italian classic: the Neapolitan pizza.
Originally from Naples, Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito created a “Pizza Margherita” in June of 1889 to honor the new Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. On this pizza was tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil: the national colors of Italy.
Since then, the 4 simple ingredients of the traditional Neapolitan pizza have remained:
- Flour (usually “00” or all-purpose)
- Freshly picked basil
- Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (from the Italian water buffalo in Campania)
- A San Marzano tomato base (San Marzano is an Italian plum tomato that grows in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius. They’re sweet and low in acidity. Containing a low seed count and easy to remove skin, the tomatoes are crushed and used alone as the fresh sauce).
Because of the lightness of the dough and freshness of the flavors, there are usually fewer toppings used but pepperoni, hot soppressata, and fruity flavors make for an outstanding and customized Neapolitan.
Neapolitan pizza is known for its signature poofy charred crust: The dough ferments anywhere from a few hours to several days for a soft, low-gluten digestible crust full of airy pockets. The more leopard print spots — the better! The result is a warm, gooey (sometimes soupy) pie that melts in the mouth. Fun fact: in Italy, Neapolitan pizzas are eaten with forks and knives.
What’re your favorite pizza toppings?
“And over all these beers drank with pizza, which binds them both together in perfect unity.”
Colossians 3:14 (mostly)
In perfect unity, pizza and beer meld together to produce one of the most universally adored meals. Sure, all beer goes with pizza but what pairing will enhance the subtle flavor nuances? How do you create the ultimate pairing based off your favorite beer? Or your favorite type of pizza? What’s the best beer for a pepperoni pizza? A fresh magherita neapolitan?
The couple makes sense: beer and pizza are both communal victuals that unite friends and strangers. Delightful on their own, but majestic combined, let’s find that flavor-filled nirvana in San Diego.
Complement the charred crust of a neapolitan margherita and sweet sauce with the light, subtle fruit notes of Mikkeller’s Bloody Show Blood Orange Pilsner.
Balance the slightly spicy, meaty notes with the saturated hop flavor of Modern Times Orderville IPA.
Full of variety, complete the full-circle of flavors from the pepperoni and green peppers with the balanced flavors of AleSmith San Diego Pale Ale.
Accentuate meaty goodness and controversial sweetness (check out last week’s look at the Pineapple Pizza debate here) with the crisp body and light hop flavor of Saint Archer Blonde Ale.
Full of flavor, this pizza deserves a beer that can match the hearty mouthfeel: The Pupil from Societe Brewing Co.
Meld earthy rich flavors from pesto’s pine nuts with a smooth hint of honey from the Amplified Ale Works Treble Tripel Belgian Golden Strong.
What’s your favorite beer and pizza pairing?
“Don’t take her swimming on the first date; Take her to get pizza and see if she chooses pineapple.”— Any chef with their own television show, apparently.
When it comes to pizza toppings, pineapple is the most controversial. There isn’t much of a grey area, either: you either don’t mind it or you vehemently abhor the fruit-pizza combination.
Grecian-born, Canada-based pizza maker Sam Panopoulos created the Hawaiian pizza in 1962 through an experiment: putting fruit on pizza “just for the fun of it.” The “Hawaiian” name came from the brand name of pineapples he was using that day. He loved it. But what do others in the food and pizza industry think?
British chef, restaurateur, and television personality (Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen, Masterchef)
Later, when finally trying a slice for charity, Chef Ramsay states “this isn’t a pizza… it’s a mistake […] You don’t put f*cking pineapple on pizza”
Host of Cutthroat Kitchen, Good Eats, Iron Chef America
In response to Chef Ramsay: “If I want pineapple on my pizza, I’ll by God have it.”
Host of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
“I’ve heard there’s been some controversy surrounding my favorite pizza topping: pineapple. Some people say pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza, but they’re just party poopers! […] Pineapple pizza is off the hook! Alright!”
American celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and television personality (Parts Unknown, No Reservations)
“People who live in hard absolutes with pizza have no fun in their lives [… everything] is an acceptable pizza topping as long as it is balanced and not overpowering.”
Chef-Owner of New York’s Emily (Pizzeria) and Emmy Squared
“Pineapple roasts up nicely and tastes good when cooked, so I think it makes sense.”
Owner and head baker of Portland’s Ken’s Artisan Pizza, and author of The Elements of Pizza Cookbook
“When it’s baked the flavors concentrate and its sweetness delivers a hit of tropical.”
American chef (Pizzeria Mozza, La Brea), baker, and author
“Whenever we would go out, Ben [Silverton’s son] would ask for pineapple on his pizza. I would kind of cringe. It was embarrassing.”
Owner of and head pizzaiolo at Brooklyn’s Paulie Gee’s
Giannone began with a ‘no pepperoni, no pineapple, and no potatoes’ on his pizzas but now features pineapple pies on several of his menus, loving how the fruit accentuates the flavor of the meats he pairs it with.
Italian Chef (and youngest three-star Michelin Chef)
“I understand it’s a provocation. I am open to trying new things but it’s not really within my sense of pizza. If you ask if I prefer a pineapple or marinara pizza, I would say marinara because this kind of flavour is part of my history and memory.”
Owner of New York’s Scott’s Pizza Tours
“To those who say pineapple isn’t an acceptable pizza topping because it’s not Italian … it existed in Italian food culture long before pepperoni ever did, but nobody complains about that. So many of the popular toppings we argue about are not Italian. Corn on pizza? Buffalo chicken on pizza? Ranch dressing on pizza? Not nearly as much noise about those, but they’re absolutely not Italian items and when they’re treated right, they taste great.
To those who say pineapple isn’t an acceptable pizza topping because it doesn’t taste good, they probably haven’t had it done right. Raw chunks of pineapple thrown around a pizza? No way. Roasted and pulled pineapple with a honey glaze paired with a fatty pork is delicious. No need for tomato on that pineapple pizza, there’s enough acid to go around.
I am absolutely pro-pineapple and I think about it the same way I think about most food arguments. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it.”
So, what do you think about pineapple on pizza? Love it or hate it?
Today the world mourns a revered badass, Anthony Bourdain.
Being a world traveler, the famous chef, author, & television personality thrived off meeting new people & experiencing their cultures. A reformed drug addict, Bourdain took the minimalist approach on consumption: exploring the full range of human experience and delighting in its true flavors. His colorful commentary speaks for itself:
“That without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, moribund.”
“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life —and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often though, they hurt.”
“It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after,you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and whats happened. In the end, you’re just happy you were there – with your eyes open – and lived to see it.”
On immigrants & America:
“No one understands and appreciates the American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than a non-American.”
“The idea of America is a mutt-culture, isn’t it? Who the hell is America if not everybody else? We are-and should be-a big, messy, anarchistic polyglot of dialects and accents and different skin tones…. We need more Latinos to come here. And they should, whenever possible, impregnate our women.”
On the transformative nature of food:
“For a moment, or a second, the pinched expressions of the cynical, world-weary, throat-cutting, miserable bastards we’ve all had to become disappears, when we’re confronted with something as simple as a plate of food.”
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.”
“The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.”
On pineapple pizza:
“Fuck you, Guy Fieri. Fuck you and your pineapple fucking pizza.”
Okay, maybe not that last one (we love our pineapple). Thank you, Anthony Bourdain, for sharing your wisdom with the world.
There is nothing more iconic in the food gadget world than the circular pizza cutter. And, much like pizza’s origin, the pizza cutter’s was created through acts of repurposing.
Born out of Silvio Pacitti’s need for cutting vegetables and herbs in a very Italian 1708 was the mezzaluna (Italian for “half moon”). Its name describes its shape: a large knife with a curve in the shape of a half moon. The mezzaluna works by rocking back and forth, perpendicular to the top of the pizza.
The mezzaluna is still used today, mostly for chicago deep dish-style pizzas and crack-thin crusts: pizzas where larger tools or precise cuttings are needed.
From there, it took a while for what we officially call the pizza cutter to be created.
In 1862, an American wallpaper-ist, David S Morgan, looked one of his wallpaper cutters and decided that the round handheld wheel may work for pizza.
The next blip in the history of the modern pizza cutter was in 1922 by another American, Carl A Frahm, who borrowed design from a cake cutter. The intent of this circular cutter was for separating dough pre-baking.
Since then, these more American versions of pizza cutters were built upon to bring us what we picture when we hear “pizza cutter” today.