America is a land of many cultures. Our ancestors came from around the world to settle here and that is what makes our country so unique and diversified. This diversity is also obvious in our food and I feel it is so important to preserve those recipes. It was one of the reasons I started my blog seven years ago because I had hoped to preserve my family’s Italian recipes for those who came after me.
Growing up in NJ, I took for granted the pizzeria downtown for Friday night dinner, the bagel shop for Sunday breakfast and the taco stand for a quick lunch. In just about any city in America, it is relatively easy to find: Lebanese, African, Ethiopian, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Indian, French, Japanese, Italian, Polish, Korean, Vietnamese, Jamaican, etc. food. Each wave of immigrants has brought a new level of food identity and traditions to our country.
Some of my past series have described the individual uniqueness of the regions of Italy, the food of America’s many Little Italies and the cuisines of the Mediterranean. In my new series, I want to celebrate the cuisine of the many cultures represented in America by preparing the dishes and sharing the recipes with you.
|Rank||Ancestry or race||Population||Percent of total population|
|2||Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||38,785,726||12.3%|
|3||Mexican (of any race)||34,640,287||10.9%|
|11||Puerto Rican (of any race)||5,174,554||1.6%|
|19||West Indian (non-Hispanic)||2,824,722||0.9%|
Italian American Pizza
Pizza became most popular in America after soldiers stationed in Italy returned from World War II. During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza became a dish of considerable popularity in the United States. The United States pizza restaurant industry is worth $37 billion and has an organized industry association. However, in my mind homemade makes best.
Makes one 16 inch round pizza. Prepare the dough one day ahead. This process makes the best pizza dough.
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
26 oz container strained or finely chopped Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pizza sauce, recipe above
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3 oz sliced pepperoni
Black pepper and oregano for sprinkling on top
One day before making the pizza:
Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.
Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.
Combine all the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
Mix the ricotta with ½ teaspoon salt. ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon dried parsley.
Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.
Top the crust in the following order: slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, pepperoni, ricotta cheese dropped by tablespoons, and oregano.
Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.