Since its rise in popularity at the start of the 20th century, pizza has been steadily evolving. Depending on where you live, it’s possible to find pizzerias serving five to 10 types of the dish. However, for that classic taste, it all comes back to the Italian and New York varieties. These styles are closely related, but there are still clear differences between the two.
What Separates New York Pizza From Italian?
1. Tangy Sauce
The sauce on Italian and New York pizzas is probably where they're most different. Italian pizza is made from olive oil, pureed fresh tomatoes, garlic, and oregano, which creates a very herb-centric flavor that most Americans aren't accustomed to. If it's a truly Neapolitan pie, then it must only consist of fresh Italian tomatoes and salt to highlight the tomatoes’ natural acidity.
A New York pizza sauce focuses more on creating harmony with the other ingredients. The sauce is often tangier and will consist of ingredients like slow-cooked tomatoes, sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a variety of herbs.
2. Soft Crust
Both Italian and New York pizzas feature very thin crusts to allow patrons to easily eat while on the go. However, the Italian version requires stretching the dough until it's cracker-thin to produce an airy yet chewy crust.
While New York crusts do have some crisp, the interior of the pie is still soft and pliable. The denser base provides adequate support for more cheese and toppings and allows patrons to fold their slices while eating.
3. Ample Amounts of Cheese
Traditional Italian pizza is cooked in high-temperature wood-fired ovens for 60 to 90 seconds. To maintain the integrity of the pillowy crust, fresh mozzarella is placed strategically around the pie before it's cooked.
When American pizzerias switched to gas-powered ovens, they discovered fresh mozzarella wasn't suited to the longer cooking times required, so they substituted it with low-moisture shredded mozzarella. A fortunate side effect was they could now add generous amounts of cheese, which before would have made the pies too soggy.
When you’re in the mood for classic Neapolitan, Margherita, or Sicilian pizza, head to Emilio’s of Morris Park in the Bronx. Since 1989, this Italian restaurant has been using the best and freshest ingredients to create delicious Italian dishes, including paninis, calzones, heroes, and their famous chicken vodka pizza. Visit their website to view their full menu. To place a takeout order, call them at (718) 822-6758 or text “Emilios” to 33733 to download their free ordering app.