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Although it will always be identified with Italy, pizza is now eaten and enjoyed around the world. Pizza is a book for pizza lovers everywhere. It traces the history of this popular food, from its earliest form over 2000 years ago to the present. And, despite all the frozen, home delivered and microwave varieties available today, Buonassisi still argues for the simple integrity of the classic Italian style pizza. The roots of pizza go back before the Roman Empire when this nutritious 'one pan meal' was a favorite way to feed the legions who had neither knives, forks, plates or, in many cases, a table at which to sit down. A simple slice of dough covered with toppings provided the ideal meal to be eaten with the hands with a minimum of preparations or washing up.
Pizza concentrates on the great pizza cooking regions of Italy - Naples, of course, but the regions of Liguria and Sicily, among many others, have made great contributions to the development of pizza. After this fascinating tour through gastronomic history, Buonassisi offers wonderful, authentic recipes that allow you to create one of these authentic pizzas for yourself.
Along with the history and the local lore that surrounds each pizza in the area of its origin, Buonassisi also gives us some personal reminiscences about each pizza - how he discovered it and his impressions of the great regions of Italy. There is also a section on how to select the appropriate wines to accompany each variety and recipe.
Chapters on the correct way to make your own pizza oven, predictions about the future of pizza, and even what beer and wine to drink with which pizzas, complete this fully illustrated history of Italian pizza-making and its spread around the world. Pizza is not to be missed by pizza lovers and anyone interested in food, wine and cooking.
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Rosario Buonassisi is a professional chemist, who worked and traveled for thirty years and lived on four continents. He returned to Italy in 1980 and began a new career as a writer. He has written on many subjects: popular culture, sailing, computers, and especially, food and wine. He is also an expert in archeology and is the vice president of the Associazione Lombarda Archeologia. He teaches the history of food at the Università della Terza Età in Milan.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
When trying to define pizza, one sets out on a sea of troubles. And though these apparently idle musings on the exact definition of pizza may seem insignificant compared with deeper questions about existence, to food-loving persons such as myself they are of crucial importance. The history of food is and integral part of the history of humanity. So let's give pizza its due. Let us look for its humble beginnings and trace its long life to the present, where it has almost become its own food group. But that is rushing ahead. We shall begin humbly. And what's more humble than a rather acrid and technical definition? It will help us discuss both the Neapolitan pizza--pizza par excellence--and its lesser but still delicious cousins scattered all over the world. My definition runs as follows:
Pizza: a thin layer of leavened dough, ideally disk-shaped, made by thoroughly kneading wheat flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and water and then covering with various ingredients before being baked in an oven. The different ingredients employed determine the taste and smell--and the name--of the various kinds of pizza.
Pizza Napoletana--Neapolitan-Style Pizza
1 pettola [Basic Pizza Dough, a recipe and long explanation also included in the book]
1/4 cup/50 mL sliced tomatoes
1/3 cup/75 mL mozzarella
4 tsp/20 mL olive oil
1 garlic clove (optional)
Arrange the tomatoes on the pettola. Cut cheese into small cubes and distribute on crust, then sprinkle with oregano, to taste. Cut the anchovies into small slices, and lay them out in a radial arrangement, dividing the pizza into sections
If you wish, add some chopped garlic. Spread it evenly across the entire surface of the pizza. Finally, dress it with olive oil, and put it into an oven at 450 deg F (230 deg C) for approximately 15 minutes.
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