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Pizza in the United States

Pizza Recipes from AlansKitchen.comDue to the wide influence of Italian immigrants in American culture, the United States has developed quite a large number of regional forms of pizza, many bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza in the United States became an iconic dish of considerable popularity. The thickness of the crust depends on what the consumer prefers; both thick and thin crust are popular. Often, "Americanized" foods such as barbecued chicken and bacon cheeseburgers are used to create new types of pizza.

Ingredients
American pizza often has vegetable oil or shortening (often, but not always, olive oil) mixed into the dough; this is not as common in Italian recipes (for example, the pizza dough recipe in the influential Italian cookbook Il cucchiaio d'argento does not use oil). This can range from a small amount in relatively lean doughs, such as New York style, to a very large amount in some recipes for Chicago-style deep-dish dough.

In addition, American pizza (at least thin-crust) is often made with a very high-gluten flour (often 13–14% protein content) of the type also used to make bagels; this type of flour allows the dough to be stretched rather thinly without tearing, similar to strudel or phyllo dough.

Various toppings may be added, most typically:

In some pizza recipes, the tomato sauce is omitted (termed "white pizza"), or replaced with another sauce (usually garlic butter, but sauces can also be made with spinach or onions). In the Philadelphia area there are also tomato pies—sauce only, or sauce with ripe Roma tomatoes and spices but no cheese—and upside-down pizzas, i.e., the cheese on the bottom and topped with sauce. Pizza is normally eaten hot (typically at lunch or dinner), but is sometimes eaten as cold leftovers.

Variations

Brier Hill-style pizza is a popular style of pizza in the Steel Valley region. It is recognized by its thick "Sunday" sauce, bell peppers, and Romano cheese (in place of the typical Mozzarella). It originates from the Brier Hill region of Youngstown, located halfway between New York City and Chicago.

Buffalo, NY-style pizza is halfway between Chicago-style deep-dish and New York-style thin crust. The pizza is cooked at a lower temperature with more dough, resulting in a crust that is doughy in the middle (and sometimes slightly undercooked) but crisp on the bottom. The sauce is tomato-based but generally sweeter and more tangy than traditional pizza sauce. Pepperoni is a common ingredient, sliced thinner and smaller than on other types of pizza and generally cooked until it is crispy around the edges. As might be expected, Buffalo chicken wings are a common accompaniment, served in dozens or buckets of 50. Buffalo-style pizza is also commonly found in the Charlotte, NC area, as that city contains many people who have migrated from Buffalo.

California-style pizza refers to pizza with non-traditional ingredients, especially those that use a considerable amount of fresh produce. A Thai-inspired chicken pizza with peanut sauce, bean sprouts, and shaved carrots is a popular variant in California-style pizza restaurants, as are pizzas that use chicken and barbecue sauce as toppings. The style was invented by Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, and popularized by the California Pizza Kitchen chain, along with Wolfgang Puck's various fine dining and casual restaurant chains and retail products.

Chicago-style pizza, or Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, contains a crust which is formed up the sides of a deep-dish pan. It reverses the order of some ingredients, using crust, cheese, filling, then sauce on top. Some versions (usually referred to as stuffed) have two layers of crust with the sauce on top. The invention of deep-dish pizza occurred in America and transcends a single ethnic origin. Deep-dish pizza was invented by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo and first served in 1943 at Pizzeria Uno, which is still operating along with its twin restaurant, Pizzeria Due, in the River North neighborhood.

Chicago-style thin-crust pizza known in the Chicago area as a "Tavern Pizza", has a thinner crust than Chicago-style deep dish, and is baked flat rather than in a deep dish pan. The crust is thin and firm enough to have a noticeable crunch, unlike a New York-style pizza, yet thick enough to be soft and doughy on the top. The crust is invariably topped with a liberal quantity of southern-Italian style tomato sauce, which is usually quite herbal or highly spiced, and typically contains no visible chunks of tomato. Next, a layer of toppings is added, and a layer of mozzarella cheese which frequently separates from the bottom crust due to the quantity of tomato sauce. Chicago-style thin crust pizzas are cut into three-to-four-inch (8–10 cm) squares, also known as "party cut", as opposed to a "pie cut" into wedges. The small size of the squares makes it unnecessary to fold the slices. Chicago-style pizza is prevalent throughout the Midwestern US. In fact, most of the neighborhood pizza parlors in Chicago and the rest of the Midwest serve Chicago-style thin crust, not deep dish as is commonly assumed. Chains that are well known for Chicago-style thin-crust pizza are Aurelio's Pizza, Home Run Inn and Rosati's Pizza.

Detroit-style pizza is a style of pizza, developed in Detroit, and is also known as Sicilian Square Pizza. It is a square pizza, with a thick deep-dish crust with toppings placed under the sauce.

St. Louis-style pizza is a thin crust pie which is a variant to Chicago style, and is popular in and around St. Louis, Missouri and southern Illinois. The most notable characteristic of St. Louis-style pizza is the distinctively St. Louisan Provel cheese used instead of (or rarely in addition to) the mozzarella common to Chicago-style thin crust. The toppings usually consist of fresh ingredients sliced instead of diced. It is common for the pizza to be topped with large pieces of onion, round slices of bell pepper, and full strips of bacon. If ordered with sausage or hamburger, the meat is squeezed off by hand into marble-sized chunks. The crust is thin enough that it becomes very crunchy in the oven and is sometimes compared to a cracker. Even though the crust is round, it is always cut into small squares.

English muffin and French bread pizza and pizza bagels are common convenience pizzas made at home in an oven or toaster, usually with a simple topping of tomato sauce, sliced or shredded cheese, and perhaps pepperoni. French bread pizza is sometimes available commercially as a frozen meal.

Greek pizza is a variation popular in New England; its name comes from it being typical of the style of pizzerias owned by Greek immigrants. It has a thicker, chewier crust and is baked in a pan in the pizza oven, instead of directly on the bricks. Plain olive oil is a common part of the topping, as well as being liberally used to grease the pans and crisp the crust. Variations in other parts of the country include using feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and Greek herbs such as oregano.

Grilled pizza, invented in Providence, Rhode Island, uses a fairly thin crust cooked on a grill; the toppings are placed on the baked side after the pizza has cooked for a bit and been flipped over.

Hawaiian pizza has Canadian bacon (or sliced ham) and/or bacon with pineapple toppings with Mozzarella cheese. This type of pizza is especially popular in the western United States, and is also a popular topping combination in Australia, Canada, and Sweden, but notably not in Hawaii. This type is also common within the EU, where it is known as pizza Hawaii.

New Haven-style pizza, also known as apizza, popular in southern Connecticut. It has a thin crust that varies between chewy and tender, depending on the particular establishment. The default version is a "white" pizza topped with only garlic and hard cheeses; customers who want tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese have to ask for them explicitly. Apizza has a very dark, "scorched" crisp crust that offers a distinctive bitter flavor, which can be offset by the sweetness of tomatoes or other toppings. New Haven style pizza is traditionally cooked in brick ovens.

New York-style pizza is a style originally developed in New York City by immigrants from Naples, where pizza was created. It is often sold in generously sized, thin and flexible slices. It is traditionally hand-tossed, moderate on sauce, and moderately covered with cheese essentially amounting to a much larger version of the Neapolitan style. The slices are sometimes eaten folded in half, or even stacked, as its size and flexibility may otherwise make it unwieldy to eat by hand. This style of pizza tends to dominate the Northeastern states, and is very similar to the basic style common through the United States and known simply as pizza. Many pizza establishments in the New York metropolitan area offer two varieties of pizza: "Neapolitan", or "regular", made with a relatively thin, circular crust and served in wedge-shaped slices, and "Sicilian", or "square", made with a thicker, rectangular crust and served in large, rectangular slices. Another type of pizza, popular on Long Island as well as the five boroughs, is Grandma pizza. It is cooked in a square pan like Sicilian, but it is much thinner. It has a thin, crispy crust, usually has tomato chunks in addition, or in exception, to the sauce. Generally, it will contain less cheese than regular slices, and sometimes has extra spices or oils baked into the crust.

Pizza strips (also known as party pizza, strip pizza, or more commonly, bakery pizza) is a style of pizza common in Rhode Island. They have a somewhat thick crust and are topped with a thick tomato sauce. Pizza strips are traditionally made with no cheese or toppings and are served at room temperature. Most are sold at small local bakeries.

Taco pizza has ingredients usually associated with tacos, such as; lettuce, shredded beef or hamburger, chopped tomatoes, avocados, corn chips, cheddar cheese, sour cream and taco sauce.

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