From Europe to Asia, South America to Antarctica, there's always an establishment that serves the world's number one food: pizza. As much as you eat this, do you really know the food's history or the fun facts attached to its creation? Chances are, you don't know much. You simply enjoy every bite, but there's something about knowing about the food you eat that makes you appreciate it even more. Well, here are some fun facts you'd never expect:
Strange Pizza Toppings
Indians include paneer (a type of cottage cheese) while the French have their own flambÃ© pizza to boot. Japan, on the other hand, make things as interesting as their menu by including eels, mayonnaise, or squid on their list of toppings. You can definitely expect something different in every country you visit, and if your adventurous enough, many of them, as you'll find, are a delight to your palate. So, don't hesitate because you could come up with your own delicious recipe and have your friends appreciate what you've created. Surprisingly, however, not too many people appreciate anchovies. In a survey done, people would rather try other flavors rather than have this fish on their pizza.
More and more Americans are starting to appreciate the taste of cold pizza. Whether this stems from sheer laziness or from being adventurous, there are people out there who eat the slice straight out of the fridge. As for restaurants, 17 percent of these establishments are actually pizzerias. Each one offers something unique. This actually gives people a chance to explore and see which pizza they love most. In fact, the average person consumes around 46 slices of pizza per year. Sadly, many people blame this for the problems related to obesity, when in fact, you can still create your very own healthy pizza recipe. It's all about choosing the right kinds of toppings.
The first known pizza actually came from ancient Greece where they covered their pita bread with olive oil and a variety of herbs. It was only in the later part in history that the pizza we know today reached the city of Naples in Italy. This became the Italian meal because very first pizzeria opened in Naples in 1738.
Everyone loves their pizza, and in honor of this world's favorite food, the US government declared October as the national pizza month in 1987. Surprisingly, however, the highest consumption of pizza isn't on this month or during special holidays. Pizza establishments go haywire with the amount of orders during Super Bowl Week (which happens in the earlier part of the year).
Men love the meat-lovers pizza while most women opt for the vegetarian variety. And of all the Americans that order pizza, 72 percent of them prefer to gobble down their meal with Coke.
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 (12-ounce) bunches fresh spinach, stemmed, coarsely chopped (about 12 cups), or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed and drained
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
4 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
Pastry Dough, recipe follows
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1.) Position the rack on the bottom of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2.) Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausages and saute until golden brown, breaking the sausage into pieces, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
3.) Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until the spinach wilts and the juices evaporate, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Squeeze the spinach to drain as much liquid as possible.
4.) Into a large bowl, add egg yolks and beat lightly. Stir in the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. Add the sausage, the spinach and prosciutto to the mixture and stir to combine.
5.) Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 17-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan. Trim the dough overhang to 1 inch. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dough-lined pan. Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round. Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges of the doughs together to seal, then crimp the dough edges decoratively. Brush the beaten 1 large egg over the entire pastry top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top. Bake on the bottom shelf until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.
6.) Let stand 15 minutes. Release the pan sides and transfer the pizza to a platter. Cut into wedges and serve. 6 to 8 servings
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Blend the flour, the butter, the shortening and salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Blend in the eggs. With the machine running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, with 1 piece twice as large as the second piece. Flatten the dough pieces into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes.
Yield: 2 dough pieces (enough for 1 Pizza Rustica)