Pizza (IPA pronunciation: [ˈpiːtsə] ) or pizza pie is the name of an oven-baked, flat, usually round bread covered with tomato sauce and cheese with other toppings left optional. While originating as a part of Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become extremely popular all over the world.
Various toppings may be added, most typically:
- sauce, traditionally tomato-based but pesto and BBQ sauces are also common.
- cheese, traditionally mozzarella but often Provolone or a blend of other cheeses
- herbs and seasonings such as basil, oregano, and garlic
- vegetables such as bell peppers, asparagus, eggplant, broccoli, spinach, olives, onions, and artichoke hearts
- meat or seafood such as sausage (especially pepperoni or salami), ham, bacon, ground beef, anchovies, chicken, tuna, and shrimp
- Other common toppings include mushroom, tomatoes, and pineapple
The crust is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with butter, garlic, or herbs, or stuffed with cheese. 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). Pizza is normally eaten hot (typically at lunch or dinner), but leftovers are often eaten cold for breakfast or as a snack.
Pissa is late Vulgar Latin (9th century) flat bread, and apparently came to mean a flat bread with a cheese topping by the 14th century in some Italian dialects. Pizzo, which means "point" in Italian, may have been an influence. Many languages around the Mediterranean have similar words meaning flat bread or unleavened bread, see pita.
The Italian word for a person with talent for making pizza is pizzaiolo. A restaurant that serves pizza is called a pizzeria (from Italian); the phrase "pizza parlor" is also used in the United States and Canada. Pizza can also be purchased in grocery stores or supermarkets (usually, but not always, frozen); in many countries, pizza can also be ordered by telephone (or, increasingly, via the Web) to be delivered, hot and ready to eat, to almost any address within range of the restaurant.