Ever since I can remember, my Grandpa Tony Varze (born in the Abruzzo Region of Southern Italy) taught me the traditional Italian cuisine. Pizza wasn’t any different. Most specifically how Pizza toppings are so different then North American Pizza.
Authentic Pizza Dough Recipe— Click Here
Grandpa Tony taught me these classics :
1. Margherita Pizza — tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil
2. Calabrese Pizza — tomato sauce, mozzarella, olives and spicy soppressata ( sliced enriched hot chilli peppers in salami )
3. Capricciosa — tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto cotto, mushrooms and artichokes
4. Diavola ( the Devil’s Pizza/ Spicy) — tomato sauce, mozzarella, peppers and spicy soppresata
5. Prosciutto Arugula— Olive Oil , arugula, bocconcini, prosciutto di Parma, fresh sweet Roma tomatoes and sprinkle of balsamic vinegar
6. Massimo— tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy sausage and capicollo
7. Boscaiola — Bechamel sauce, mozzarella, wild mushrooms ( cremini and portobello) truffle oil and Italian speck ( cured pork belly)
8. Fresco — tomato sauce, mozzarella, bocconcini, prosciutto di Parma and sweet sliced Roma tomatoes
Not Classics but common American Italian Style :
1. Vegetarian— Pesto, mozzarella, peppers, mushrooms, olives, fresh sweet Roma tomatoes and sprinkle of balsamic vinegar.
2. Pollo – pesto or tomato sauce,mozzarella, olives, chicken, mushrooms and artichokes.
3. Marinara — tomato sauce, mozzarella, sundried tomato, Italian sausage, onion, parmesan, roasted red pepper and spicy olive oil.
4. Pepperoni— tomato sauce, mozzarella, peppers and pepperoni ( Diavola Pizza is the closest you’ll find of pepperoni in Italy)
As said, my grandfather comes from the Abruzzo Region of Southern Italy. Even though you won’t find the traditional Italian— American meatballs and Spaghetti in Italy, you will find something similar, known as “ Chitarrine alla Teramana”. Being that my grandpa was from Abruzzo Region, the Chitarrine alla Teramana is a traditional Abruzzese pasta dish, said to “date back to 1600.” The dinner starts with Spaghetti alla chitarra, also known as maccheroni alla chitarra; a variety of egg pasta typical of the Abruzzo region in Italy, with a square cross section about 2–3 mm thick. Now, add traditional tomato sauce with mini meatballs, made with ground beef, ground pork, egg yolks, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. I remember the intense labour involved, when Grandpa Tony making these tiny meatballs. Of course, when it was my turn, somehow the meatballs became larger and larger – lol. Such a tedious labour intense process, when the meal was eaten up in lickety-split.
Interesting “Spaghetti alla chitarra” literally means “Spaghetti with guitar” which is the type of guitar tool used to make the spaghetti, giving the spaghetti its name, shape, and texture. This type of spaghetti soaks up the sauce, leaving a more satisfying taste of flavours.
So, next time you’re in the Abruzzo Region of Italy 🇮🇹, be sure to look out for “ Chitarrine alla Teramana”, the closet you’ll find to spaghetti and meatballs.
As well, the closest meat sauce we call “Bolognese” in North America is actually “Ragu’ alla bolognese” — see my recipe — Click here.
I dearly hope you enjoy my recipes and stories of Italy 🇮🇹 Please take a minute to support my efforts by either buying me a coffee