It may be because it is a versatile dish, or because it recalls the street food so loved in the States, or because of the passion of Americans for the food of the country. The fact is that the pizza in the countries with stars and stripes it has conquered an anniversary, the Pizza day, which is celebrated on February 9th.
But we are sure that it is theoriginal? Looking at the dishes served in the States, variations on the theme and exotic adjustments make you shiver: cheddar or gruyere instead of local mozzarella, sauces of dubious origin to replace the italian pummarola, avocado, feta and chili in the fillings. It was just in front of a woody dough washed down with ketchup, that Walter Caputo e Luigina Pugno, respectively scientific popularizer and psychotherapist, have decided to explain in a book how pizza is a masterpiece of science and love.
"There are many ways to make an authentic pizza", explains Caputo in La pizza al microscope (Gribaudo). The most famous one is regulated by a precise disciplinary, by the true Neapolitan pizza association. "But pizzas that follow other traditions are also welcome or present innovative recipes », continues the expert. "The important thing is that they are not raw or burnt, “Biscottate” or slightly leavened, with ingredients of poor quality ".
The unorthodox variants
At home we are not so much better: 2 out of 3 pizzas hide ingredients of foreign origin and in restaurants the original recipe undergoes drastic transformations. Pizzas hidden by mountains of fries or disguised as kebabs, or even transformed into desserts with chocolate cream or dried fruit.
"The true Neapolitan it is recognized because it is soft and elastic, framed by a raised edge swollen and free of burns, with the alveolation (i "holes"In the dough) which testifies to correct leavening," he explains Angelo Iezzi, president of the Pizzerias Association of the country.
The original recipe? It includes only the base, tomato, mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil. Respect for tradition ensures a nutritionally perfect dish: light, digestible, because it requires the choice of quality raw materials, correct leavening and adequate cooking times.
In this regard, the rules for the premises become more stringent: from April 2021 restaurateurs and pizza chefs will have to respect a new European regulation for the choice of ingredients and cooking methods, to prevent theacrylamide, a toxic and potentially carcinogenic substance that is normally formed during cooking at high temperatures, exceeds the warning levels, scorching the pizzas and putting consumers' health at risk.
Versions that do well
Around 5 million pizzas are baked every day in the country. "It is a cheap dish, made at the moment, it does not require long waiting times", explains Caputo. "There simple pizza (margherita, marinara or with vegetables) can be admitted both in a weight loss and maintenance diet, once a week ", he assures Evelina Flachi, a food science specialist, president of the country's Food Education. «It is an excellent single dish. It also makes you feel good: it is a symbol of conviviality, of social gathering, and supplies tryptophan, precursor of serotonin, the neurotransmitter of well-being ».
There are even those who speak of addiction. «The 'fault' is of the casein, a protein found in cheeses », confirms Luigina Pugno. "Promotes the release of casomorphine, which stimulates the opiate receptors involved in the reward mechanism."
Meanwhile, in the menu of pizzerias, the old is back to the fore mother yeast and the cereals of the past, such as spelled and khorasan wheat, and even healthy ingredients, such as medical herbs, are added. "From a psychological point of view these returns to the past have something reassuring", explains the psychotherapist. "That ancient grains are better than modern ones, however, has yet to be proven."