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Taste the Authentic Flavors of Roman Pizza
If you’ve never tried Roman pizza, you’re in for a real treat. Unlike Neapolitan pizza, which is known for its fluffy crust and minimal toppings, Roman pizza is thin and crispy with a variety of toppings burst with authentic Italian flavors. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the history, characteristics, must-try pizzerias, and even how to make this delicious pizza at home.
A Brief History of Roman Pizza
Like many Italian dishes, pizza has a long and storied history. While the origins of pizza are somewhat murky, it’s believed to have originated in Naples, Italy, sometime in the 1700s. However, Roman pizza has its own unique history.
Origins of Roman Pizza
The first recorded mention of Roman pizza dates back to the ancient Roman empire, where it was referred to as “picea”. These early versions of pizza were typically made with just a few simple ingredients, such as olive oil and herbs, and were cooked in stone ovens.
As the Roman Empire expanded, so did the popularity of picea. It became a staple food for soldiers and peasants alike, as it was easy to make and could be prepared with whatever ingredients were available.
Evolution of Roman Pizza Styles
Over time, Roman pizza has evolved to include a wider range of toppings. Unlike Neapolitan pizza which traditionally has just a few toppings, Roman pizza can have meat, vegetables, and a variety of cheeses.
One of the most popular styles of Roman pizza is the “pizza bianca”, which is made with just olive oil, salt, and sometimes rosemary.
Another popular style is the “pizza al taglio”, which is a rectangular pizza that is sold by weight and can be topped with a variety of ingredients.
Other popular toppings for Roman pizza include artichokes, prosciutto, mushrooms, and truffles. In fact, Rome is known for its truffle pizza, which is made with fresh black truffles and a variety of cheeses.
The Role of Pizza in Roman Culture
Pizza has long been a staple of Italian culture, and Rome is no exception. Today, pizza is ubiquitous throughout the city, with pizzerias on nearly every street corner. But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that pizza gained widespread popularity in Rome.
One of the most famous pizzerias in Rome is Pizzeria La Montecarlo, which has been serving up delicious pizza since 1906. Another popular spot is Pizzeria Da Remo, which is known for its crispy thin-crust pizza.
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, no trip to Rome is complete without trying some of the city’s famous pizza. So why not grab a slice (or two) and experience the delicious history of Roman pizza for yourself?
The Distinctive Characteristics of Roman Pizza
When it comes to pizza, there are few things more satisfying than a good slice of Roman pizza. But what sets Roman pizza apart from other styles of pizza? Let’s take a closer look.
Roman Pizza vs. Neapolitan Pizza
The most noticeable difference between Roman pizza and Neapolitan pizza is the crust. Neapolitan pizza is known for its fluffy, chewy crust, while Roman pizza has a thin, crispy crust. This thin crust allows the toppings to be the star of the show, rather than the crust itself.
Roman pizza is also typically rectangular in shape, rather than round. This shape makes it easier to cut and serve, and also allows for a greater variety of toppings to be added.
The Unique Roman Pizza Dough
One of the things that makes Roman pizza so special is the dough. Unlike Neapolitan pizza, which is made with a high-hydration dough that’s allowed to rise for several hours, Roman pizza is made with a lower-hydration dough that’s left to rise for just a few hours. This shorter rise time allows for a crust that’s crispy and crunchy, but still light and airy. The dough is also typically made with olive oil, which gives it a distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with the toppings.
Another unique aspect of Roman pizza dough is that it’s often made with a combination of flours. While Neapolitan pizza dough is typically made with just 00 flour, Roman pizza dough may include a mix of 00 flour, semolina flour, and whole wheat flour. This combination of flours gives the dough a more complex flavor and texture.
Popular Toppings and Combinations
While the toppings on pizza vary widely from region to region, there are a few classic toppings that you’re likely to see on a Roman pizza.
One of the most popular is “cacio e pepe”, which features a cream sauce made with pecorino cheese and black pepper. This simple yet flavorful topping is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
Another classic Roman pizza is “alla amatriciana”, which features tomato sauce, bacon, and onions. This hearty topping combination is perfect for those looking for a more substantial meal.
Other popular toppings on Roman pizza include prosciutto, arugula, mushrooms, and artichokes. And of course, no Roman pizza would be complete without a generous sprinkling of fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Whether you’re a fan of classic toppings or more adventurous combinations, there’s no denying the unique and delicious flavor of Roman pizza. So the next time you’re in Rome, be sure to indulge in a slice or two (or three!) of this delicious pizza.
Must-Try Roman Pizzerias
Of course, no trip to Rome would be complete without trying some of the city’s best pizzerias. Here are some of our favorites:
This popular pizzeria offers a variety of pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) with unique toppings such as zucchini flowers and burrata cheese. The owner, Gabriele Bonci, is known as the “Michelangelo of pizza” and has been featured on various food shows and publications. The pizzeria is always crowded with locals and tourists alike, so be sure to arrive early to avoid the long lines.
Antico Forno Roscioli
This historic bakery is known for its traditional Roman-style pizza with simple toppings like mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil. The bakery has been in business since 1824 and has been passed down through generations of the Roscioli family. In addition to pizza, the bakery also offers a variety of freshly baked bread, pastries, and other Italian delicacies.
For a classic Roman pizza experience, head to Da Remo. This pizzeria has been serving up delicious pizza since the 1960s. The pizza is made with fresh ingredients and cooked in a wood-fired oven. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, with vintage decor and friendly staff. Be sure to try their signature pizza, the “Margherita con Bufala”, which is topped with buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil.
La Gatta Mangiona
This pizzeria is known for its creative toppings, like pizza with beer-braised sausage and smoked mozzarella. The restaurant has a rustic and charming atmosphere, with wooden tables and exposed brick walls. In addition to pizza, they also offer a variety of antipasti, salads, and desserts. The pizzeria is located in the Monteverde neighborhood, which is known for its picturesque streets and beautiful parks.
Making Roman Pizza at Home
If you can’t make it to Rome, don’t worry â€“ you can still enjoy delicious Roman pizza right in your own home. Here’s how:
Essential Ingredients for Authentic Roman Pizza
To make authentic Roman pizza at home, you’ll need a few key ingredients. Start with a high-quality flour (look for Italian “00” flour) and fresh yeast. The “00” flour is finely ground and has a lower gluten content than other flours, which makes it perfect for creating a crispy yet chewy crust. You’ll also need extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and water. The olive oil adds flavor to the crust, while the salt helps to activate the yeast and develop the gluten in the dough.
Techniques for Perfect Roman Pizza Dough
The key to a good Roman pizza is the dough. To make perfectly crispy, chewy dough, you’ll need to knead the dough thoroughly and let it rise for a few hours. Kneading the dough helps to develop the gluten, which gives the dough its elasticity and chewiness. After kneading, let the dough rise in a warm place for at least 2-3 hours. This allows the yeast to ferment and create air pockets in the dough, which will give your pizza that classic Roman crust. You’ll also want to bake the pizza on a very hot surface â€“ a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet works well. Preheat your oven to 500Â°F and let your pizza stone or baking sheet heat up for at least 30 minutes before baking.
When rolling out your dough, be sure to leave a thicker edge around the circumference of the pizza â€“ this is known as the “cornicione” and is a hallmark of Roman pizza. Brush the edge with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt before baking for extra flavor.
Tips for Baking Roman Pizza in a Home Oven
If you’re baking your pizza at home, try cooking it at the highest temperature your oven will go. This will help to mimic the high heat of a wood-fired pizza oven. You can also try using a cast-iron skillet to help mimic the heat of a pizza oven. Preheat the skillet in the oven for 10-15 minutes, then carefully place your pizza in the skillet and return it to the oven to bake.
Experiment with different toppings to create your own unique Roman pizza. Classic toppings include fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and fresh basil. You can also try toppings like prosciutto, arugula, and shaved Parmesan for a more gourmet twist.
Pairing Roman Pizza with Italian Beverages
Finally, let’s talk about what to drink with your delicious Roman pizza. Pizza is a staple of Italian cuisine and is often enjoyed with a variety of beverages. The right drink can complement the flavors of the pizza and enhance your overall dining experience.
Classic Italian Wine Pairings
For traditionalists, a classic Italian wine like Chianti or Barbera pairs well with most varieties of Roman pizza. The acidity of the wine cuts through the richness of the pizza and balances the flavors. For something a bit more bold, try a Super Tuscan red wine. These wines are known for their intense flavors and are a great choice if you’re looking for a wine that can stand up to the strong flavors of the pizza.
Another great wine to pair with pizza is Lambrusco. This sparkling red wine is a popular choice in Italy and is often enjoyed with pizza. Its effervescence and fruity notes make it a refreshing choice to enjoy with your pizza.
Italian Beers to Complement Roman Pizza
If you’re a beer drinker, look for Italian craft beers like Baladin or Napea, which pair nicely with the strong flavors of Roman pizza. Baladin is a brewery located in the Piedmont region of Italy and is known for its unique and flavorful beers. Napea is a beer made with spelt, an ancient grain that is commonly used in Italian cuisine. Its nutty and earthy flavors make it a great choice to enjoy with pizza.
Another beer to consider is Peroni. This light and crisp beer is a popular choice in Italy and is often enjoyed with pizza. Its clean flavors and refreshing finish make it a great choice to wash down the rich flavors of the pizza.
Non-Alcoholic Italian Drinks to Enjoy with Pizza
For a non-alcoholic option, try a classic Italian soda like San Pellegrino or Aranciata. These citrusy drinks provide a nice contrast to the rich, savory flavors of pizza. San Pellegrino is a sparkling mineral water that is often enjoyed with meals in Italy. Its effervescence and subtle mineral flavors make it a great choice to cleanse your palate between bites of pizza.
Aranciata is a classic Italian soda made with orange juice. Its sweet and tangy flavors make it a refreshing choice to enjoy with your pizza. Another non-alcoholic option to consider is Limoncello. This lemon liqueur is often enjoyed as a digestif in Italy and is a great choice to enjoy after your meal.
Now that you know what to drink with your Roman pizza, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the delicious flavors of Italy!
Whether you’re in Rome or at home, Roman pizza is a delicious and satisfying dish that’s not to be missed. With this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to create and enjoy this classic Italian treat.