Back home I would never dream of eating an entire pizza. Maybe a “personal pan” or one of the giant slices from Costco, but otherwise I usually keep it to a couple slices—maybe three pieces if it’s really delicious, I’m at a party, or if I’m just really lacking in self control. (Okay, it’s probably more like four slices in those situations, but who’s counting?)
It turns out pizza in Italy isn’t like pizza back home…go figure. When you order a pizza here you eat the entire 12—14″ pie. Luckily, it’s a very thin crust with minimal cheese and almost-always-fresh toppings, so devouring an entire pizza is a normal meal, and I rarely feel guilty about finishing it. There are still some days that I crave an American-style pizza (full of grease, loads of cheese and processed sauce), but they are few and far between. I think ordering pizza back home for the first time will be a definite culture shock.
|patate fritte e prosciutto, commonly known as the “Americana” on many menus.
I think it’s the toppings here that keep me from getting bored with eating pizza. If you can think of it, you can probably get it on a pizza. French fries on top? No problem! Corn, tuna, and olives? Coming right up! Zucchini flowers? Why not! Gorgonzola and walnuts? Absolutely! A perfectly cooked egg right in the center? Yes, please!
There are three pizza places within a five-10 minute walk from here. Three pizzerias, you guys, THREE. Talk about having a love/hate relationship with the food here! The one closest to us recently gave us a punch card—buy nine pies, get one free. Let’s just say the woman who works there now knows what kind of pizza my husband and I like.
In all seriousness, we really do try to keep our pizza-eating to a minimum. These days it’s more of an emergency meal when days are running longer than expected or when I’m up to my neck in dirty dishes and refuse to make dinner. (Making dinner means having more to clean. No way, Jose.)
So what do I like on my pizzas out here? Occasionally I’ll go for something simple like a
margharita or I’ll go the other extreme and pick something completely
random off the extensive menu. We’ve tried a good smattering of different toppings and I think these are my favorite combos:
This one’s called the “Messicana,” but I promise I didn’t pick it the first time based on the name. I picked it because the ingredients sounded good: pomodoro piccante, fagioli, mais, cipolle, salame piccante (spicy tomato sauce, pinto beans, corn, onions, pepperoni). Who knew beans and corn on a pizza would be so gosh darn good? Italians knew. They’re food geniuses.
The other pizza I get (from a different pizzeria) is called the “Maniago,” named after the town we live in. It has pomodoro, mozzarella, peperoncino, salame piccante, parmigiano, e rucola (tomato sauce, mozzarella, red pepper flakes, pepperoni, Parmesan, and arugula).
I love getting rucola (arugula) on top of my pizzas and I typically ask for it on top of whatever I’m getting. If I order it to-go (porta via) the steam from the box will sometimes wilt the leaves, which brings out their peppery flavor a touch more. So tasty, and it’s like having a mini salad on top of my pie!
I’m also drawn to any pizza with an egg (uovo). I usually only eat the kind with an egg in a restaurant, because you need to eat it with a knife and fork. There’s something so wonderfully simple and delicious about having the yolk run across the rest of the toppings. It’s so good! The picture above has more toppings on it (spinach, pepperoni, and onions) and I think it was a bit much. I prefer just the egg and asparagus.
And with all that said, you’ll have to excuse me; I need to pick up dinner next door 🙂