Growing up in Chicago, I had to know my pizza lingo like a pro. Deep dish is different than stuffed, thin crust is different than Neapolitan style and everything in-between. Many Americans aren’t fortunate enough to grow up in one of the pizza capitols of the United States, so I’m here to answer all the pizza-related questions you were too embarrassed to ask.
Neapolitan style is the first type of pizza to make an appearance in the mainstream market. Although there are discrepancies about the real origin of pizza, no one can contest to the fact that Italy does it best.
In the 1800s, an Italian chef was cooking for a Queen named Margherita. He created what we know today as the “Margherita pizza,” with tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella – mirroring the colors of the Italian flag. The pie was cooked in a piping hot stone oven to achieve a crisp, chewy crust while the toppings barely cooked. This was the original style of modern pizza as we know it today – and boy, is it tasty.
New Haven Style
While close in taste to Neapolitan style, New Haven is its bad ass American cousin. New Haven has far more toppings, and its crust is slightly thicker which makes it better to hold the extra toppings. The new time you see New Haven style pizza, be sure to check it out – it’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
Thin Crust aka New York Style
Many people don’t understand the difference between Neapolitan style and thin crust, but there are many important differences to note here. First of all, the first Italian immigrants to the United States didn’t have the same ovens they did in Italy, so they had to make adjustments.
Also, the earliest thin crust pies were traditionally a smorsgabord of different ingredients Italians had available to them – like cheese and tomatoes. Meat was not introduced until later since it was pricier.
Thin crust as we know it today is usually baked in an oven, with many toppings, and those who prefer this style usually fold their pizza (ew…). Therefore, the main difference between thin crust and Napoletana style is that thin crust is crispier, but not smoky and charred like its close cousin.
Thick Crust/Pan Style
Thick crust is slightly thicker than thin crust, but slightly thinner than deep dish. There’s no good story behind this one, some people just prefer to not fold their pizza, like me. Pan style has all of its ingredients in the traditional order: crust, sauce and cheese, unlike deep dish. But when you’re ordering pizza, remember that thick crust/pan style does not always mean deep dish.
Deep Dish/Chicago Style
Deep dish pizza is the trend-setter of all styles of pizza, as the layers go out of order. Instead of the traditional crust/sauce/cheese/toppings, deep dish goes crust/cheese/toppings/sauce, with the last two being interchangeable. The reasoning behind the sauce being on top is that because the crust needs more time to cook, the cheese would burn.
Depending on the topping, it will either go under or on top of the sauce for the same reason. Deep dish was created by two immigrants, one Italian and one German to create a heartier version of the Neapolitan classic. Thus was born deep dish, the greatest pizza of all time.
Don’t get stuffed confused with stuffed crust, because they are two very different things. Stuffed crust usually means that the crust itself is stuffed with cheese or meat. Stuffed pizza is similar to deep dish, but instead of putting sauce on top of the cheese, a thin layer of dough is put between the layer of cheese and tomatoes. This creates a seal for the cheese, which makes it ooze out of the pizza.
Roman Style Pizza
Roman style pizza is cut into squares and has a thick, focaccia-like crust to hold its toppings. Many places in Italy carry this style pizza, where you can pay by the ounce. They’ll chop a slice off of a larger piece– you just let them know how much you want.
Whether you’re eating deep dish in Chicago, thin crust in New York, or Neapolitan in Naples, make sure you have your pizza lingo down like a pro. It’ll impress your friends, guaranteed.