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The Difference Between American Pizza & Italian Edition

Updated on April 1, 2018
Alessio Ganci profile image

I'm from Italy, country famous for its food. I love true Italian food... and yeah, also love to drink a Frappuccino when I am abroad!

A Popular Dish

Pizza is one of the most popular dishes all around the world. It belongs to the Italian cuisine (specifically to the traditional Neapolitan one) and starting from Italy, it gained great success all around the world. However pizza is not only a popular dish: it is also one of the most reinterpreted recipes, so that it is made in very different ways in every country of the world. Pizza can be served as a main dish or it can be sold in slices as street food variants you can eat as a fast meal. In addition, there are actually two big interpretations of pizza recipes: the traditional Italian one and the American one (which is the most popular in the world). This article will deal with the difference between American pizza & Italian one.

A Neapolitan style "pizza margherita" topped with tomato and mozzarella, cooked into wood oven.
A Neapolitan style "pizza margherita" topped with tomato and mozzarella, cooked into wood oven.

Pizza Outside Italy

The most popular type of pizza you can find in the world has been invented by American people. Outside Italy you can find several American food chains specialized in serving this dish: Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza are two of the most popular ones. Anyway the type of pizza produced by these and other chains is clearly different from the original you can eat in Italy. As I am an Italian person who sometimes travels abroad, I have the opportunity to compare pizza I eat in my country with the one I can usually find in an American food chain. The big difference starts from the food concept people have about this dish: in Italy pizza tends to be a relatively light dish (the most popular edition in Italy is the so called pizza margherita, which is topped with tomato and mozzarella cheese), so that a person usually eats one entire pizza for launch or for dinner.

An Italian pizza topped with basil pesto sauce and stracchino cheese
An Italian pizza topped with basil pesto sauce and stracchino cheese

Pizza in Italy is not considered as junk food: a pizza a week is included in most diet programs and it is definitely a complete meal everyone can enjoy without worrying so much about health. Instead the most popular American version of this dish is the pepperoni pizza (topped with a type of salami) and, in general, American people love to add several ingredients to their pizzas, so that they tend to customize them in very different ways. Sometimes you can also find variations in the crust: a popular Pizza Hut product, for example, is bordered by cheesy bites (instead of the traditional crust).

The American pizza recipes are obviously much more fat than the Italian ones, that's why pizza is generally considered as junk food in most parts of the world, but let's debunk a myth: the original Italian recipe is not dangerous for your silhouette, instead it is a very healthy solution you can eat every week without problems.

A Domino's Pizza box, containing Twisted Dough Balls.
A Domino's Pizza box, containing Twisted Dough Balls.

Many American pizzas are topped with various sauces and spices. In general, they tend to be more complex and caloric than an Italian version, so that an entire pizza is divided among different people: it is a fast food dish. Also in Italy we have various types of toppings, but they are lighter than the American ones. Talking about the cooking, pizza in Italy is traditional hand-cooked and baked into wood ovens, while American chains use industrial ingredients, kneading machines and electric owens. Finally there are sometimes little differences in the basic topping: while Italian "pizza margherita" is always made with Italian tomato sauce and mozzarella (traditionally the buffalo mozzarella, but also other types of mozzarella are used) or a soft cheese called "stracchino" (used in place of mozzarella), in American chains tomato sauce tends to be more spiced and sweet, while mozzarella is often mixed with other cheese types (sometimes it is even not present, while you can usually find cheddar).

A Neapolitan style pizza with addition of parmesan cheese and mozzarella in the crust.
A Neapolitan style pizza with addition of parmesan cheese and mozzarella in the crust.

Conclusions

As said before, the American type of pizza is the most popular in the world, basically because of the economic power of chains like Pizza Hut and Domino's. Personally, during one of my trips abroad, I had the opportunity to eat both in Pizza Hut and Domino's, and I can confirm that their pizzas taste very differently from the Italian ones. They are not best or worse than Italian pizzas, they are just a different dish, even if they are still pizzas technically, and so everyone can appreciate both types, or enjoy just one edition of pizza! I personally liked American pizzas when I ate them abroad (I even remember the Twisted Dough Balls I ate at Domino's, as I have enjoyed them very much), even if I prefer the traditional Italian pizza (which is also one of my favourite dishes), both for its taste and its simplicity. Here in Italy we have Domino's Pizza but it mainly makes Italian recipes (so we can say it started its activity here by adapting to Italian tastes), while abroad you can eat Italian pizza in specific restaurants (often owned by Italian people) and also chains (two popular Italian pizza chains you can find both in Italy and abroad, are Rossopomodoro and Fratelli La Bufala).

And you?

What type of pizza do you prefer?

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Did you already know the difference between American pizza & Italian one? What is your favourite type of pizza? Comment this article and share your preferences about this popular dish!

© 2015 Alessio Ganci

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