When Did We Start Folding Pizza?

It’s easy to understand why someone might think folding pizza started in New York City. Most of Italy eats pizza with fork and knife, so it appears as though the tradition started after the dish left its native country. But we have to keep in mind that pizza is not necessarily Italian to begin with, it’s Neapolitan, and the culture of Naples is key to the understanding of pizza at its origin. Naples was an active port and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe at the time pizza was gaining popularity in the 19th century, but as a peasant food it was not often eaten by outsiders. Even today, the most common reason for visiting Naples is as a connecting point to go somewhere else (Capri, Amalfi, etc). Pizza was a street food enjoyed by the lazzaroni (peasants) thanks to its low price point. It’s unlikely these people were eating a meal at a table with fork and knife. But because of their circumstances and the culture of Naples, this method was isolated until its resurgence a century later in New York City.

To sum it all up, people were definitely folding slices of pizza before post WWII NYC, but it was only happening in Naples and never achieved the status of compulsory eating method the way it did in New York City. So your 20-something friend might want to be careful about using television programs as historical references.

Recipe of the Week: Sausage Ricotta Pepperoni Pizza

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 (13.8-ounce can) refrigerated classic pizza crust
  • 1 (8-ounce) can pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
  • 8 (1-ounce slices) fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet or pizza pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  3. Working on a surface that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, roll out the pizza into a 12-inch-diameter round. Transfer to prepared baking sheet or pizza pan.
  4. Using a small ladle, spread pizza sauce over the surface of the dough in an even layer, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
  5. Top with sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella and dollops of ricotta.
  6. Place into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheeses have melted.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with basil, if desired.

Recipe of the Week: Buffalo Chicken Pizza with Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing

Ingredients

For the Pizza:

  • 1 pound Pizza Dough, I love using my Perfect Garlic Agave Pizza Crust!
  • 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Red Onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese

For the Fried Buffalo Chicken:

  • 2 large Chicken Breasts, skinless, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Canola Oil, for frying

For the Buffalo Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Melted Butter
  • 2/3 cup Hot Sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • pinch of Granulated Sugar

For the Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing:

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/8 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Sour Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Lime Juice
  • 1/8 cup Chopped Italian Parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon Chives, chopped, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the chunks of chicken breast to a small bowl. Add buttermilk and 1 teaspoon of salt to the bowl and mix well with the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, blend ingredients for the blue cheese avocado dressing until smooth. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the buffalo sauce. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F and add pizza stone to the oven to preheat. Roll out pizza dough to desired shape.
  5. Add to hot pizza stone and pre-bake for 5 to 7 minutes until just starting to turn golden brown. Set aside.
  6. Combine flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and pepper for the fried buffalo chicken is a large sealable bag. Seal and shake the bag well to combine the dry ingredients.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, drain the chicken pieces over the bowl and then add to the bag with the flour mixture.
  8. Once all the chicken has been added to the bag, seal the bag and shake well until all of the chicken pieces are covered with the mixture.
  9. In a medium heavy saucepan, heat approximately 5 inches of canola oil over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F.
  10. Add the chicken pieces, frying about 5 at a time, for about 4-5 minutes until the chicken is golden brown. You may want to cut a piece open to make sure there is no pink inside or you can test the chicken with a thermometer, making sure it reaches at least 165°F.
  11. Drain on a pan lined with paper towels. Once all the chicken is fried, add to a small bowl with 1/2 the buffalo sauce.
  12. Mix until all the chicken has a good coating of sauce.
  13. Spread the remaining 1/2 of the buffalo sauce on the pizza crust.
  14. Top with mozzarella cheese and sliced red onion.
  15. Bake for 5 minutes, or until melty and bubbling.
  16. Remove from oven. Top with chicken, blue cheese crumbles, chopped chives and chopped parsley.
  17. Drizzle over blue cheese avocado dressing. Serve immediately.

Recipe of the Week: Meatball Sub Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 pack Cooked Perfect® Italian Style with Parmesan & Mozzarella Chicken Meatballs
  • 4 small hoagie rolls, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Take the meatballs out of the packaging. Set them aside.
  3. Spread Marinara on the hoagie rolls, top with meatballs, red onion and shredded mozzarella. Then place them on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  5. Top with grated parmesan and fresh basil.
  6. Serve immediately.

Recipe of the Week: Spinach Artichoke Skillet Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pizza dough, homemade or store-bought

Toppings:

  • 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (plus a bit more, to taste, if desired)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 13oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered, if whole
  • 1-1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • Shredded Parmesan, for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil + more for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Place 10-inch cast iron skillet in to cold oven and preheat oven to 500 F. with the skillet in the oven. Leave in the oven 5-10 minutes after the oven has preheated.

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, mozzarella, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside. Prepare the artichokes and set aside. On a well-floured surface, press/stretch your pizza dough out in to a roughly 10-inch circle and have ready.

  3. Carefully remove skillet from oven and brush with a bit of olive oil. Carefully fit the pizza dough in to skillet, pushing it up the sides slightly. Do be careful here! Skillet is hot!! Place skillet with dough only in oven and bake 2-3 minutes, or until it sets slightly.

  4. Remove from oven and top with cheese mixture, spreading to cover evenly (except raised sides). Top with artichokes. Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, toss spinach with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Remove skillet from oven, top with spinach and return to the oven for a final 7-10 minutes, or until topping is bubbling and crust is crisp.
  5. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Let cool a few minutes before serving, to allow it to set a bit.

KFC’s New Chicken-Pizza, The Chizza, Could Come To A Chain Near You

To set things straight, KFC‘s “The Chizza” isn’t something new. It actually debuted in the Philippines around 2015 and has been making rounds in the Asian fast food circles ever since. However, the popular food chain seems to be making a push for the chicken-pizza hybrid globally as it will now be available in Singapore.

To heighten the buzz, KFC’s Singapore social media accounts teased the menu item, resulting in a frenzy of responses that either loved or hated it. For the curious, “The Chizza” is actually made with a KFC fried chicken slathered in pizza sauce. Then there’s pieces of ham, mozzarella, and the brand’s own “KFC Cheese Sauce.” Also, it looks like pineapple chunks as toppings seem to be the default item when you order, but regular pepperoni could be out there too.

No word yet on when “The Chizza” will come Stateside or other places around the globe, but if you’re adventurous and in an Asian country at the moment, make sure to hit up a KFC near you.

Recipe of the Week: Sriracha Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

Ingredients

Pizza Dough

  • 250 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 7 g sachet Fast Action Yeast
  • 1 tsp Golden Caster Sugar
  • 170 ml warm water

Pizza Sauce

  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion – Chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – Crushed
  • 1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano

Toppings

  • 100 g Cooked Chicken torn into pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp Sriracha add more if you like it spicy
  • 150 g Mozzarella sliced
  • 4 slices Bacon cooked and chopped
  • Ranch Dressing for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Make the dough. Mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a large bowl. Mix together the sugar and warm water then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour the sugar and water into the well. Gradually mix the wet and dry ingredients together and then turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 10 minutes. Flour the outside of the ball of dough then place in an oiled bowl. At this stage you can either prove for about 15 minutes somewhere warm or put it into the fridge until you’re ready to use.

  2. Preheat the oven to 200° C. Make the sauce. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, plenty of salt and 40ml of water. Once the water has evaporated pour in the tin of tomatoes and cook down until it’s almost dry. Mix in the tomato puree, chilli powder and oregano and leave to cook a little more until it has a thick consistency. Tip out onto a plate and allow to cool.

  3. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll out until about 5mm thick then place on baking trays. Mix the chicken with the sriracha in a bowl then split between the pizza bases followed by the bacon and mozzarella. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Drizzle with ranch dressing and serve.

Recipe of the Week: Spicy Sausage Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1/2 recipe homemade pizza dough (or you can use store-bought dough)
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked spicy sausage crumbled
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mini sweet peppers
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil**
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

Instructions

  1. If you are using homemade pizza dough, make it according to the recipe instructions. If you are using store-bought dough, remove it from the packaged and shape it into a 12-inch circle. Spray your pizza pan with non-stick spray and dust lightly with flour and gently transfer the dough to your prepared pizza pan.
  2. Adjust the rack to the lower middle of the oven and preheat to 475ºF.
  3. Spread the marinara sauce evenly over the crust leaving a 1-inch bare rim around the edge. Sprinkle the sausage, onion, and peppers over the sauce. Spread the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.
  4. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Rotate halfway through the cooking time.
  5. Drizzle the chili oil over the top and sprinkle with red pepper. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

Recipe of the Week: Pizza Margherita Grilled Cheese

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 14.5 ounces fire-roasted canned tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil and garlic over a medium heat. Saute until softened, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, salt and sugar. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle to a medium heat.
  3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of sauce on each slice of bread. Top with four ounces of slices of cheese. Top with 4-5 leaves of basil.
  4. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place top of bread, sauce side down on cheese and basil. Brush tops with butter. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  5. Place sandwich butter side down in heated skillet (work in batched if needed), brush other side with butter. Cook until golden brown and crispy on each side and the cheese is melted. (If you are having a hard time getting the cheese to melt, pop into a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.

Coffee, Beer, And Pizza Are America’s Most Tweeted Foods

Americans love tweeting about what they eat, and what they tweet about has a lot to do with where they live in the United States. A new study examining tweets about food and physical activity found clear links between socioeconomic status and people’s likelihood to tweet about healthier foods.

Such environmental connections fit with past studies looking at how people in lower-income areas often struggle to get access to healthy options, which can be prohibitively expensive. This new study provides 80 million tweets’ worth of data to support that hypothesis, and the specific foods that attract the most Twitter attention could help shape future public health initiatives to improve people’s diets.

Researchers at the University of Utah Health Sciences looked at a random sample of one percent of geotagged tweets from April 2015 to March 2016, representing 80 million tweets from about 60,000 users. They matched the geotags to 2010 census data to see which parts about the country were tweeting about which kind of foods, and how tweets about food and health were linked with tweets about general well-being.

“We found that economic disadvantage was linked to fewer happy tweets and also fewer healthy food tweets,” lead researcher Quynh Nguyen told Vocativ. People living in low-income neighborhoods or areas with many large households were generally less likely to tweet about healthy foods, while people living in areas with lots of fast food restaurants were more likely to tweet about fast food.

There aren’t many nutritional staples among the most tweeted foods. Coffee, beer, and pizza lead a list that also includes wine, BBQ, ice cream, tacos, sushi, burgers, cake, chocolate, steak, donuts, and bacon, the internet darling of foodstuffs. The only top foods that the researchers considered “healthy” were chicken – which very definitely doesn’t have to be healthy, depending on the preparation – eggs, and salad.

People generally weren’t tweeting about fast food as often as they were foods in general. Starbucks did come in fourth on the list, but the next chain to show up is Chipotle, way down at the 21st slot. That Chipotle is the second most mentioned fast food place despite being behind a couple dozen other chains in terms of sales suggests not all restaurants are considered equally tweet-worthy.

The fact that Chipotle had a major E. Coli outbreak last year may skew those numbers, though other explanations are also possibly part of the story. Way more people are going to McDonald’s than Chipotle, but perhaps they don’t feel compelled to tell their followers about it nearly as often, or perhaps people who go to Chipotle are more likely to be on Twitter than McDonald’s customers.That speaks to a basic issue with the study, one that Nguyen is the first to acknowledge.

“With Twitter, it’s an imperfect data source because not everybody uses Twitter,” she said. Only about 20 percent of the U.S. adult population is on Twitter, and some are a lot more active than others. “It’s differently distributed across demographic groups, so younger groups tend to use Twitter more. And also, people don’t report everything they do and eat, so we’re only getting what they’re willing to share, the image they present.”

That last point might explain why so much of the list is dominated by treats, as people are less likely to tweet about a random Wednesday meal than they are a special occasion steak or chocolate cake.

All that makes for a lot of noise in the data, although Nguyen said she and her fellow researchers are optimistic that the sheer scale of 80 million tweets is enough to overcome that and provide useful data. She said the goal here isn’t to provide definitive answers to questions of health, but rather to offer new ways to look at American health trends that other methods can’t turn up.

“You have a really hard time getting good data for the U.S.,” she said. Previous attempts to find this sort of data have relied on household surveys or in-person interviews, but those are necessarily limited to individual cities or counties. “That’s what we wanted to get with this research: a new data resource.”