Pizza in Scottsdale – What’s the Best

Scottsdale AZ pizzaWhen you’re looking for the best pizza in Scottsdale, your local authentic Italian Scottsdale Pizza parlor, is one great place for a slice of a great tasting pizza. Those with discriminating tastes will love everything about this New York pie. From the fresh tomato sauce, made from scratch pizza crust, and all the toppings…the mere thought of a slice of this pizza will have your mouth watering.

This pizza is authentic New York style pie.  Made just like the old days from Naples where the beginning of the history of pizza first began.

Whether you want a hand-tossed thin crust or  a Sicilian hand-formed thick crust pizza baked in a deep dish pan, we’ve got the one specially designed for you and your taste buds. Our traditional style include baking your pie in a stone oven.

Thin crusts pies come in a variety of sizes, from 10″-18″.  Thick crust Sicilians are available in half pan and full pan sizes.

This is award winning pizza made with dough that is made by scratch every day using filtered water.  Plus, nothing but the freshest ingredients are used in our delicious pizza toppings from vine ripened tomatoes to our exclusive whole milk mozzarella.

Your pizza is cooked to order when you come to dine-in…or made the moment you call in the order.

With this Scottsdale Arizona pizza, you’ll most certainly taste the difference!

The Beginning of Pizza – How it Got its Start in America

 

beginning of pizzaNow its time to get into the beginning of pizza.  In a previous post, I gave some information on the history of pizza.  Now it’s time to talk about pizza roots in America.  Where they started in order to eventually create the Scottsdale pizzarias.

Why, do you ask?

Well, as I see it, there are two kinds of pizza people in the world. There are those who like it…and then there are those, who LOVE it.   (I fall into the second category.)

Because of my passion for a great tasting pizza pie, I get a little “personal” about the subject. I’ve actually dove into some history of this great dish and now I want to pass along what I’ve discovered regarding the beginning of pizza.

Trying to trace the history of the first pizza is a surprisingly controversial subject.

Some claim that this popular food is based on early unleavened breads served in the early centuries in Rome. Others trace a connection from modern pizza back to the pita breads of Greece.

Regardless of either of the above, it’s fairly well established that the first pizza, as we know it today, was created by a man named Raffaele Esposito from Naples, Italy. Esposito’s creation was designed to honor the visit of Queen Margherita to Naples in 1889, and he decorated it with the colors of the Italian flag, using white cheese, green basil, and red tomatoes. (Tomatoes, which had arrived from the west about 60 years earlier, were originally thought to be poisonous, but by Esposito’s time they were already embraced by Italian cuisine).

Italian immigrants brought this recipe with them to America

As the years passed and the turn of the century came about, immigrants from the “old country” carried the pie mixture to the states. The first pizzeria was opened in America in 1905. It remained popular almost exclusively among immigrants until the end of World War II, when American soldiers returned to their home soil and brought back a love of the pizza they had discovered overseas. With that, the pizza boom in America began and this food became a mainstream meal instead of an underground Italian snack.

The concentration of Italian immigrants in New York in those olden days explains the fact that many people feel you must visit New York to get true pizzeria-style pizza. It’s the beginning of pizza in America, after all. And nobody who has experienced New York style pizza can disagree.

New York is famous for its pizzerias

A true slice of pizza consists of a thin, wide crust loaded with plenty of toppings and marinara and smothered in heady Italian seasonings. A side of garlic bread and some heady pastas and tortellinis usually round out the menu. Pizzerias in New York are not for the faint of heart.

It was in the early 1940s in the city of Chicago, IL that pizza went into a different direction. It is believed that the first pizzeria in Chicago was Pizzeria Uno, opened in 1943 by Ike Sewell.

Sewell’s pizza creation was a new twist on the old New York standard

He created what is known today as deep-dish pizza, where the pizza is sunk low into a deeper pan, and the crust is allowed to rise in thick bubbles around the edges. People flocked to Sewell’s pizzeria, and a whole new beginning of pizza and a way of looking at this favorite food was born.

To this day you can find yourself in some pretty heated debates if you argue with a New Yorker or a Chicagoan about what constitutes authentic pizzeria-style pizza. But whatever crust style you choose, pizza is a unique food with a foggy past and a definite appeal that has lasted through many incarnations.

So should you be fortunate enough to find yourself in Chicago or New York, or even any city in the western states such as Scottsdale for that matter, that has an authentic pizzeria, complete with checkered tablecloths and a large amount of garlic on the menu, feel free to indulge in and treat yourself to an old legacy and order a slice. Take part in America’s pizza tradition. Get back to pizza’s roots… at least as far as the American beginning of pizza pizza goes.

Can Pizza Be Healthy?

Is it true…can pizza be healthy for you? If I went to a Scottsdale AZ pizza restaurant would the food be good for me?

Actually, this news may come as a surprise, especially if your nutrition plan adheres to a healthy low fat diet…
Regardingcan pizza be healthy pizza, it’s the temptation and ultimate weakness of a lot of people…myself included. I’m a HUGE pizza fan, always have been. And while it is one of my very favorite foods, I still try to make sure I eat it only in moderation.

Now there’s good news for pizza lovers

According to Men’s Health magazine, research concludes that when it comes to the question, “Can pizza be healthy,” these answer is yes, pizza can be good for you. However, in order for pizza to be healthy, it’s important to point out that we’re talking about real pizza- not the kind you get from Pizza Hut, Dominoes, or the frozen food section of your supermarket. By real, that means pizza made with real crust, real tomato sauce, and pure olive oil.

According to Men’s Health, scientists writing in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating pizza can reduce your risk of a heart attack. In a 4-year study of nearly 1,000 Italians, those who ate pizza at least once a week were 30 percent less likely to experience a heart attack than the folks who didn’t partake of the pie.

Pizza is good for cardiovascular system

This is contributed to pizza’s cardio protective ingredients, including olive oil and tomato sauce. And here’s a way to make the pizza even healthier: top it with vegetables, part-skim cheese and use whole wheat crust. You’ll then have a meal that is actually good for you.

Another benefit of pizza made with these ingredients relates to the food groups. According to the Center for Disease Control, this kind of pizza covers 4 of the 6 basic food groups. (See http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/foodgroups.html) Throw in some grilled chicken breast meat and you’ve hit one more. Now, you can use pizza to cover some of your basic servings to meet your daily requirement.

Pizza pop quiz

Now the big question is…Can you get this kind of a pizza in a pizzeria? You might be able to find some that offer whole wheat crust, but I doubt you’ll find any thatman ordering pizza offer part-skim cheese. However, what you can do is buy the ingredients at your local grocery store and make the pizza yourself. Speaking from experience, this can be a fun thing!

Of course, I’m a big fan of hitting my local pizza parlor in Scottsdale. However, on those few occasions when I just want to hang at the house and yet still get my pizza fill, I make my own pie using healthy pizza recipes.

Take a look at the easy healthy pizza recipe below to try for yourself….

Whole Wheat Pizza Margherita
Recipe by Victor Casanova, executive chef of Culina in Los Angeles, California
Step 1: Craft your dough
What you’ll need:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup hot water
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

How to make it:
1. Combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse to mix. Combine the hot water and olive oil in a measuring cup. With the food processor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a soft, sticky ball, about 1 minute. If the dough is too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water. If it’s too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Process for 1 additional minute to knead.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place the wrap, oiled-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling. This will yield 1 pound of dough, or 1 large pizza.

Step 2: Create your pizza
What you’ll need:
1 can (6 oz.) San Marzano tomatoes, with liquid
3 oz. low moisture mozzarella, shredded
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A few basil leaves

How to make it:
1. Preheat your oven to 500°F.
2. For the pizza sauce, simply process the San Marzano tomatoes in the food processor until smooth.
3. Roll out the pizza dough to your desired size and thickness. Evenly spread several spoonfuls of the sauce onto the dough, leaving a 1 to 2 inch border without sauce around the crust. Sprinkle the sauce with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and salt. Then, sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the sauce.
4. Lightly dust a pizza peel with flour (Guy Gourmet note: If you don’t have one of these, you can use a lightly floured pizza box). Transfer the pizza to an inverted baking sheet and place the whole thing on the lowest rack of your oven to bake. Check the pizza after 4 minutes, making sure that all sides are cooking evenly. Rotate if needed. Bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 8 to 9 minutes. Finish the pizza with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and petit basil. Slice and serve immediately.
Taken from: http://blogs.menshealth.com/guy-gourmet/bake-amazing-homemade-whole-wheat-pizza/2011/01/04/

Another option I would suggest for cooking your pie is to throw your pizza on the grill

For those who prefer video…

Pizza – Pie Styles of Scottsdale

Scottsdale pie stylesThe Scottsdale pizza pie is an omnipresent symbol of both Italian cooking and Americana. Oven-baked, thin-crust or deep-dish, round or square, it is a common favorite throughout the United States and especially Scottsdale Az, with a wide number of regional variations.The most traditional pie is the pizza Neapolitan or Napolitano pizza. Made of strong flour, the dough is kneaded by hand most often and then rolled thin and flat without the use of a rolling pin.

The version, which is the most commonly served pizza in Scottsdale, is cooked in a wood-fired stone oven using extremely hot temperatures for only about sixty to ninety seconds.  Then it is removed when it is soft and fragrant.

There are many common varieties of Neapolitan pizza most which include marinara, made with tomato, olive oil, oregano, and garlic, and the Margherita, made with tomato, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and mozzarella cheese.

Not surprisingly, New York was home to the very first pizza parlor in the United States.  It was opened by Gennaro Lombardi in 1905 in an area known as Little Italy.  What is also not too surprising is that ever since then New York-style pizza has dominated the Northeastern part of the country.

New-York Style Pizza

New-York style pizza is thin-crusted, and made with a thin layer of sauce and grated cheese. The dough is hand-tossed, making the pie large and thin. As a result, it is served cut into slices, traditionally eight, which are often eaten folded in half. It can be served with any number of toppings, including the most popular in the United States…pepperoni.  Another variety is commonly referred to as a “white pizza”, which includes no tomato sauce and is made with a variety of cheeses, such as mozzarella and ricotta.

About the Chicago Style Pizza

Chicago is also home to a large variety of pizza. The Chicago-style pizza is deep dish, meaning it is made in a pan with the crust formed up the sides, or even with two crusts and sauce between, a so-called “stuffed” pizza. The ingredients are “reversed” in a Chicago pizza, with cheese going in first, and then sauce on top. This particular form of pizza was invented in 1943 at Uno’s Pizzeria in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

St Louise Style Pizza Pie

The Midwest also plays host to the St. Louis style pizza. This thin-crust delicacy is made using local provel cheese instead of mozzarella, and is very crispy. Heavily seasoned with oregano and other spices, with a slightly sweet sauce, it is difficult to fold because of the crust and is often cut into squares, instead of served in slices.

Other Pizza Pie Varieties

A Hawaiian pizza is an American invention that has nothing to do with Hawaii save that one of the main ingredients is pineapple. The pineapple is put atop the pizza, along with Canadian bacon, giving a rather sweet taste very different from pizzas closer to the Italian original. Hawaiian pizza is very common in the Western United States.

In fact, a number of esoteric pizzas are common on the West coast, and “gourmet” pizza is often referred to as “California-style” pizza. These versions of pizza are prime examples of fusion cuisine, expanding far beyond the typical pie made with the basic tomato sauce and cheese foundation.  For example the Thai pizza, may include bean sprouts and peanut sauce, while as the name implies, the breakfast pizza may be topped with bacon and scrambled eggs.

As a “gourmet” food or what I like to call “designer pizza”, California pizzas are often individual sized which ends up serving two people at most.  Plus, they are not cut in slices as most of the other common pizza types are.

Like America itself, Pizza is just as diverse, with almost an infinite number of variations, all of which are delicious in their own right.

Grilled Pizza?

grilled pizzaGrilled pizza is stepping away from the conventional and back into traditional from the Naples, Italy of old.  That’s because for a long time, America’s and a good majority of Scottsdale Arizona diners’ favorite food has been the pizza cooked in an oven, but is that about to change?  And while most Americans have probably never indulged in a grilled pizza, the true origins of the manner in cooking pizza are making a big comeback.

Now, there’s no denying that we love our traditional backyard barbeque.  But rarely if ever, has the barbeque included grilling a pizza. And actually, despite the seemingly odd combination of grill and pizza, the grill is the ideal tool for cooking pizza.  In fact, the concept of grilling pizza runs deep in the origin of pizza making.  And many of today’s Food Network stars like Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay and more have helped bring back that cooking style of old with their own take on how to grill a pizza.

The high, dry heat is ideal for a nice crisp crust and the flavor provided from your grill will open up a whole new world of backyard grilling when it comes to wood fired pizza.

History of Grilled Pizza

Before the word pizza was ever established, Greeks and Romans used wood-fired brick ovens to prepare what is considered to be the original version of pizza – flatbread. In ancient times each diner, in what we would refer to today as a “pizzeria”, was given a piece of flat bread along with a piece of meat on the bread. This food was eaten with the fingers with an occasional knife to cut the meat. Little did they know that this would eventually spark the creation one of the America’s favorite foods.

Pizza Dough Recipe

If you love grilled pizza and want to try grilled pizza, making it on your own barbeque, here is a tasty pizza dough recipe, pulled directly from one the list of recipes cooking shows on Food Network have used.  And to ensure a great tasting pizza every time, use these pizza grilling techniques:

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon dried yeast

1 tablespoon soy oil

1 teaspoon sugar

½ cup warm water (110°F)

1 ½ cup bread flour

1 tablespoon soy flour

1 teaspoon salt

 

Instructions:

Combine yeast, sugar and ½ cup very warm water in bowl, let rest for five minutes. Combine flour and salt in bowl. Mix yeast mixture with bowl containing dry ingredients. Add a little extra flour if dough is sticky. Knead for a good ten minutes. Put into a greased bowl and let rise for 60 minutes until it doubles in size. On a flat surface of flour, turn the pizza dough out and then knead lightly until smooth. Roll out into a ¼” thick, 12″ diameter circle. The thinner the dough is rolled, the better.

Before placing your crust on the grill, be sure that your grill is both clean and well oiled. This will help prevent the dough from sticking to the grill. You will need something large enough to transport your dough to the grill. A pizza spatula is one of the best tools for this task.

Brush an even coat of extra virgin olive oil on the side that will be facing down first. The oil will bring great flavor and help to keep the dough from sticking to the grill as well as give the crust a nice crisp finish.

Before placing your pizza on the grill, you may want to remove the top rack of your grill to make it easier to flip your pizza. Cook the first side from 1-3 minutes before flipping depending on the heat of your grill. During this time you will need to brush olive oil on the side that is facing up.

While cooking the first side, peak under the edge of the crust to monitor its finish. Cook until you are satisfied with the finish and then flip your crust over. After flipping, immediately apply any topping that you would like.

Favorite Toppings Suggestions for Grilled Pizzas

Some recommended toppings are the usual tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sausage, olives, roasted garlic, onions, etc.  Of course you could also make your own “specialty type of pizza.”  For example, you could combine tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves for an Old Italian favorite, grilled pizza Margarita.

It’s highly recommended that you keep the topping(s) very light, nearly paper thin, as they will not have a chance to cook on the grill without burning the crust.  (Because of this, you may consider precooking certain ingredients such as meats and thick vegetables.)  Be sure to lower the lid as soon as possible to trap the heat in and finish cooking the toppings.

Cook the pizza for an additional 2-3 minutes or until you are satisfied with the crust’s finish.

Another tool that can be used is a pizza stone.  It allows the surface the dough is place on to absorb the heat and cook the dough without setting the dough right on top of the grill rack.  An oiled cookie sheet is another option if a pizza stone is not available.

You are now ready to experience one great pizza with deep tradition. Cut your pizza into triangle shaped slices or try cutting them into 1” wide strips. This shape for your grilled pizza is great for a party snacks!

For a quick easy wood-fire pizza alternative, try a Scottsdale pizza joint that specializes in grilled pizza.

Pizza Trends are Changing

pizza trends for Scottsdale pizza parloursScottsdale Pizza trends are changing.  When you look back at the history of pizza, you can see how the ingredients, toppings and types of pizza have changed over the course of time.  Let’s take a look at how the Italian pie has developed through the years, while still holding true to its origins from Naples, Italy.

It’s not a secret the pizza has been a favorite food of American culture for years. And even against all time greats such as hamburgers and hotdogs, pizza has held its own.  And in that process it’s become somewhat of a staple on the dinner tables across America in the form of frozen pizzas, not to mention your local Scottsdale pizza restaurant and its menu.

Still, since its arrival to the scene in the category of favorite foods in the United States, pizza has come a long way as far as what is termed as ”great toppings” and what many of us would call just plain weird. Some new pizza trends have popped up in the way that pizza is made and topped that have made their way to the forefront.  In fact, some of the foods used for toppings today and considered to be very popular, would have been turned away as ridiculous back in the 1960s.

Over the past few decades, America’s tastes have changed.  And while many pizza lovers prefer traditional pizza styles and toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, onions, peppers, mushrooms and olives, pizza connoisseurs that are new to the scene are fond of trying the non-traditional “gourmet” pizza in order to find pizza topping greatness.

Granted, there are some newer toppings that indeed are not so radical that the traditional pizza fan can’t get past them.  Those pizza toppings are products such as chicken, ham and pineapple, and ground beef, just to name a few.  Having said that though, there have been pizza trends with some toppings which have utterly offended the sensibilities of that traditional pizza enthusiast.

One of the things that has definitely impacted this new wave of pizza traditions in the world of pizza is the fact that the wonderful people of the gourmet foods industry have begun to take a part in the pizza business, attempting to make it their own. Then before you know it, suddenly pizza is no longer only for the Super Bowl party or your kids’ birthday party.  Nor is it even the late night quick meal when the busy career woman comes home exhausted from a long day at work and doesn’t want to cook.  No, in addition to these things, it has even become the object of attention for society’s elite in the gourmet foods circuit.

These days more and more, the current pizza trends show gourmet restaurants and fine dining establishments are beginning to offer their unique take on the creation of pizza. They are made with a unique blend ingredients and toppings.  Heck, even the shape of the pizza is not necessarily round any longer.

Pizza Trends New Toppings Craze

The gourmet food industry brings flair to pizza by offering daring topping choices and letting taste and creativity come to the forefront.  And while some might say the toppings they choose are ridiculous, or even ostentatious, which some cases more of the daring topping ideas may be; some of the new pizza trends are really beginning to take off with the more elite crowd.

Some new toppings in these trends in pizza include seafood such as lobster, crayfish, and oysters. Other pizza ideas include new toppings of game meats like venison and duck.  And some of the even wackier types of pizza have toppings such as peanut butter and jelly and bacon and eggs.

The Undeniable Truth Regardless of the Trends in Pizza

Now while you won’t find most pizza lovers willing to try a mashed potato pizza, many are stepping out on a limb and out of their taste comfort zone and trying many of the new toppings the renovated pizza industry has to offer. Whatever your favorite toppings are, America is in agreement of one thing about pizza; regardless of what the current pizza trends are, this delicious Italian pie is nearly impossible to live without.

The History of Pizza – How it Came to be Before it Came to Scottsdale

history of pizzaThe history of pizza is not something too many of us are familiar with. Even Scottsdale pizza enthusiasts are not all versed in the origins of this dish.  And although there aren’t too many people who don’t thoroughly enjoy this Italian pie, the large majority of us couldn’t say exactly how this delicious Italian dish came to be. So to enlighten the variety of pizza connoisseurs, here is a bit of “pizza history.” Whether you’re you’re a deep dish pizza fan or simply have a taste for that Chicago style, here is some Italian pizza history you can…really sink your teeth into. ;0)

Pizza, in the way we all know it today, is a derivation from focaccia (which is the Latin word for fire).  The word pizza in Italian refers to any type of flat bread or pie that is fried or baked. According to the history of pizza, this food has been made since the beginning of time.  It is prepared in many different forms and is typically garnished with herbs, olives, fat, raisin, honey, and nuts.

Although you’d find many types of pizzas around the Mediterranean, it is in Naples that pizza in the form we know it today first emerged. It came when tomatoes began showing up on tables in the 1700s.

Naples, Italy has many records of pizza since around the year 1000.  The first mentions in the world call these flat breads laganae, but later they are referred to as picea. In those times, pizza dough was dressed with garlic and olive oil, cheese and anchovies, or small local fish.  Pizzas were baked on the open fire and sometimes were closed in two, like a book, to form a calzone.

It was also Naples where the first pizzeria was know to have opened up with many more to follow.  The pizzerias had a brick wood-burning oven covered with lava stones from the Mount Vesuvius.

The chefs of those times ignored pizza because was considered a poor people’s food.  However when the new combination with the tomato, entered the kitchen around the 1770s, it must have raised some curiosity, even in the royal palace.

The History of Pizza Takes a Huge Step Forward

The history of pizza took a turn for the better when Ferdinand I Bourbon, King of Naples, went to taste the pies made in the shop of Antonio Testa.  He loved the simple food of the people and when he tried the dish he liked it so much that he wanted pizza to be included in the menu at the court.  However, that attempt failed due to the opposition of his wife, Queen Maria Carolina.

The King’s son Ferdinand II also liked all kinds of the poeple’s popular food.  And in fact, he loved the pizza pie so much that he hired Domenico Testa, son of the now famous Antonio, to build a pizza oven in the royal palace of Capodimonte.

As a result, pizza became very popular, earning its place in Neapolitan folklore. Being that it was simple and economical, it turned into the food for all people.  Like the hot dog vendors today with their hot dog carts on street corners, Pizza was sold on the streets, as shown in many illustrations of the time.

Another huge step forward in the history of pizza came as a consequence of a famous episode that ultimately extended the popularity of pizza beyond the limits of the city of Naples. It was back in 1889 and Margherita, queen of Italy, was visiting the city. She was told about pizza and wanted to taste it.

A famous cook by the name of Don Raffaele Esposito, helped by his wife Donna Rosa, was invited to cook pizza at the royal palace. In doing so they prepared three pizzas, typical of that time.  One was made with cheese and basil and another with garlic, oil, and tomato.   The third was a mozzarella, basil, and tomato pie.

The queen, was so impressed by the colors of the last pizza, which by the way resembled the national flag, that she preferred that one. Since then, this pizza is known as Pizza Margherita and chef Raffaele Esposito is credited with its invention.  (This being the case even though we know that it already existed for a long time prior to this event.)

In the late 19th century, with Italian immigrants, the first pizzerias began appearing also in the United States, where pizza has become a huge phenomenon and extremely popular among the American population. Still, even today the best pizza is found in Naples, where it is rigorously made with buffalo mozzarella.

Superior pizzas are considered those obtained by moderate variations of the simplest and most popular: Pizza Napoletana with tomato, garlic, oil, and oregano; Pizza Margherita; Pizza Marinara with tomato sauce, anchovies, capers, and olives; and Pizza Four Seasons, divided in four quadrants, each dressed in a different way. Pizza with hot salami, the American pepperoni pizza, is instead found in the Calabria region south of Naples, where this type of hot sausage is produced.

Types of Pizza in the United States

Pizza dough combinations also accentuate the positive in taking the best ingredients and changing up the make up of the dough.  Whether it’s the deep dish, Chicago style, thin crust, or stuffed crust; they all become superior when you add your favorite toppings with moderate variations.

Pizzerias all around the world hold the same standard in style and taste as those did back then when the history of pizza began including your local pizzeria making pizza in Scottsdale.