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Pizza is a popular dish all over the world. Italians are not the inventors of pizza at all. But the Italians have already designed pizza in its modern form.
It is believed that the first such dishes in the familiar form, based on flour with olive oil, herbs, tomato and bacon, appeared in Naples in the 16th century. And in the next century, pizza gained popularity throughout Italy. There were masters for its preparation, pizza makers. This dish was loved by both commoners and noble people. But only two hundred years later pizza began to conquer the whole world. America was introduced to the dish by Italian immigrants, and from there the dish spread further.
Today, pizza is not even as popular in its homeland as it is around the world. They also fell in love with her in Russia. Italians themselves are quite jealous of this dish, believing that only they can cook it correctly. However, modern pizzaioli from other countries have long surpassed the arrogant ancestors in their skill. We can also cook delicious pizza, we will tell you the most interesting secrets of creating this dish. And let it turn out to be not quite "Italian", but tasty and original, a real decoration of the table.
Choice of flour. To prepare a dish that best suits the classic recipes, you will need two types of flour at once. This is the most common white wheat flour, as well as durum flour. It will not be difficult to find the first one, but durum flour is not a frequent visitor in domestic stores. Your best bet is to go to a specialized store for Mediterranean food. There will probably be the right flour, made in Italy. But this option is suitable for those who live in large cities. And the prices for imported products are high. But you shouldn't despair. Durum flour is also produced by the Russian industry. We call it flour of the second grade from durum wheat, in accordance with GOST 16439-70. If such a standard is indicated on the flour, then you can be sure that this is exactly what is required for a classic pizza.
Dough preparation. It's no secret that there are a great many options for pizza. Here the restrictions are imposed only by the imagination of the cook. Classic dough is made from a mixture of the above two types of flour, water, yeast, salt and olive oil. The dough must be kneaded with your hands, and then let it stand in a warm place. Then a thin cake is rolled out, no more than a centimeter thick. But when preparing dough for homemade pizza, it is quite possible to experiment without adhering to strictly canonical rules. Many people add sour cream, eggs, milk or cottage cheese to flour. The perfect pizza dough recipe will help you create your own imagination and taste.
Baking. In the canonical version, Italian pizza is baked in a special Pompeian wood-fired oven. It looks like a dome or a hemisphere. But at home, an ordinary oven, preheated to 200 degrees, is perfect for baking. It is best to cook pizza in a heavy-bottomed skillet or baking sheet. In any case, the bottom and walls of the dishes must first be greased with oil, preferably olive oil, and then sprinkled with flour. For those who bake pizza in a frying pan, you can not roll out the dough, but stretch it right in it with your fingers. In this case, the edges of the dough should be left hanging out of the mold. Before putting the filling on the dough, it must first be allowed to stand for 10 minutes. Sometimes the dough is even baked until half-cooked so that a crust appears. Then they already put the filling. This option is perfect for novice cooks who are not yet confident in their capabilities and are afraid of the dampness of the dough in the finished product. It is believed that the average baking time for pizza is 30-40 minutes, but it can vary greatly depending on the filling and the type of dough.
Closed pizza. Not only open pizzas are becoming popular, but also closed ones. In this case, the filling is placed between two layers of dough. To prepare this option, the dough must be divided into two parts and both rolled into flat cakes. The bottom one should be greased with sauce and put the entire filling on it, leaving a couple of centimeters to the edge. They must be moistened with water. And on top, you can sprinkle the filling with cheese. From above it will be necessary to cover with a second cake, carefully connecting the edges with pinches. Then the pizza must be greased with oil, a small hole in it for the steam to escape and placed in the oven. When the dough turns golden, the dish is ready.
Tomato sauce. The classic and most popular pizza sauce is tomato sauce. And there are many options for its preparation. Typically, sauce recipes vary in the herbs and spices used. You can get a can of ready-made tomato pizza sauce in any supermarket, but wouldn't it be better to make it yourself? A kilogram of tomatoes should be cut into quarters and placed in an enamel container. Tomatoes should be salted and left for a day. The resulting juice is to be drained, and the pulp should be boiled over low heat to separate the skin. All this must be passed through a colander or sieve. The puree should be cooked slowly, stirring constantly, until it thickens. The next step is to add your favorite spices and cook over the fire for a few more minutes. After that, you need to add fried onion or garlic, pre-chopped finely, to the sauce. It remains to season the puree with salt and boil for another ten minutes. Delicious and natural sauce is an excellent substitute for even simple, but banal ketchup.
Other sauce options. Who said that pizza sauce must be tomato sauce? The use of creamy and mushroom options, based on milk and butter, thick and liquid, is quite allowed. Each such sauce is able to perfectly highlight the advantages of a certain filling. White English sauce is an interesting option and is also easy to prepare. Put half a liter of kefir in a saucepan and add 75 grams of white bread grated on a sieve, 60 grams of butter and a whole peeled onion. The saucepan must be put on fire, let it boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, remembering to stir. The onion can be removed, and the resulting sauce must be whipped with a mixer. At the same time, cream will be gradually added to it, with a total volume of 120 milliliters. English sauce will perfectly harmonize with pizza, which contains white boiled or poultry meat.
Marine filling. A skilled chef will never tire of coming up with new toppings for his pizza. There is also an option for fish and seafood lovers. The classic red tomato sauce is not always added to such pizzas; white sauces are also excellent for them: bechamel, creamy sauce. Boiled, smoked and salted fish can be used as the filling of the dish. Pizza is often prepared with fresh, finely chopped fish. Other seafood, such as crustacean meat, shellfish, and even caviar, work well as a filling. The option with canned tuna is popular; you can even make it yourself. Mix finely chopped tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese, ground pepper, salt and chopped garlic. This mass is put on the dough, and on top are spread small pieces of canned tuna in oil, halves of olives, onions cut into half rings. Sprinkle all this on top with grated cheese and herbs. This pizza should be baked for about half an hour in the oven.
Japanese pizza. If we talk about pizza with seafood, then it is difficult to ignore the Japanese version of pizza, okonomiyaki. In its authentic form, such a dish, of course, can only be tasted in Japan. But guests can be surprised by an unusual version of pizza, besides, few people will be able to compare it with the original. To prepare okonomiyaki, you need to take 200 grams of boiled and chilled Japanese noodles, cabbage and squid, then cut them into small pieces. After that, also finely chop 100 grams of shrimp and onion. These ingredients, along with grated cheese, are placed in a saucepan, mixed there and tuna chips are added to them. In our conditions, canned fish can be crumbled, and in Japan, fresh carcass is taken for this, which is cut into small slices. Then, with a mixer, you need to mix the egg, three tablespoons of flour with a glass of water, adding the resulting dough to the chopped products. This mixture is poured into a hot frying pan, thin strips of pork are placed on top of it and fried on both sides. Ready-made pizza is cut into squares, nori is sprinkled. Serve this dish hot and with soy sauce.
Sweet pizza. Pizza is a kind of hot sandwich that includes vegetables, meat or fish. However, it can be sweet as well, being a delicious dessert. These options are especially popular with children. The filling is usually the most delicate mascarpone cheese, dried or sweet fruits, nuts. The base of the pizza should be yeast dough. It must be divided into several parts, creating cakes 10 centimeters in diameter. Each of them should be greased with cheese, and on top put pre-soaked and squeezed figs. Sprinkle it with chopped nuts and brown sugar. Let the pizza rise in a warm place and then bake it. To do this, a semi-prepared dish must be placed in an oven preheated to 220 degrees for 20 minutes.
The queen of pizza. Among the whole variety of pizza, one option stands out. He is called the queen of this dish. Pizza "Margarita" was first prepared back in 1889 especially for Queen Margaret of Savoy. The author of the dish was, of course, the Neapolitan, the owner of the pizzeria Rafaele Esposito. He selected the toppings for his pizza to match the colors of the Italian national flag. Tomatoes are red, mozzarella is white, and basil is green. To make such a pizza yourself, you need to start by placing finely chopped peeled tomatoes in a deep frying pan. Crushed garlic and coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves are also added there. Then all this must be stewed for several minutes, adding black pepper and salt there. The resulting puree must be allowed to cool. With this sauce, you can grease the prepared pizza base, and pour mozzarella and parmesan on top. And then the dish is placed in the oven and baked until the classic golden brown crust appears.