The Secrets to Italian Pizza

Pizza is perhaps one of the most popular and beloved foods in the United States and it should be because it just tastes so incredible. With the combination of sauce, cheese, and toppings, it is pretty hard not to enjoy a slice of pizza, no matter who you are. But when it comes to the reasons and secrets of why pizza, specifically Italian pizza, tastes great, there is a little more to it. Authentic Italian pizza has specific qualities and ingredients that make it irresistible.

Naples is the birthplace of pizza and it began as an easy and cheap way to feed the sailors that visited the coastal city. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that pizza really became popular in the United States. Today, about 1 in 8 Americans eat pizza on any given day and it is interesting to explore why pizza is so popular. To start with, we as humans are able to distinguish between five different tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Each taste is caused by certain substances in the food that we eat and triggers our tastes buds. For example, sucrose in food makes it sweet and glutamate stimulates the umami sensation, which is savory. Glutamate is found naturally in certain foods and chefs utilize it as a natural flavor enhancer. Italian pizza is loaded with naturally occurring glutamate, which explains why it is almost impossible to stop after just one slice. Animal proteins, aged cheese, and tomatoes have high levels of glutamate.

There are some important differences between modernized American style pizza versus traditional Italian pizza. To start with, Italian pizza dough is always made fresh and hand stretched to reach the perfect thickness. The crust of authentic Italian pizza is a big part of what makes it so desirable. Once the crust is stretched out, it is baked in an extremely hot wood-fired oven for a very short time in order to achieve the perfect crust that is crispy on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside. The light crust is fresh, delicious and won’t weigh you down when you eat a few slices or the whole pie. The next big difference is that the toppings on an Italian pizza are much lighter and always fresh. A light layer of tomato sauce is spread over the crust and then topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and some basil (Margherita style) or a variety of other fresh toppings can be used. In the United States, we tend to pile on the toppings and overload the flavors but on an Italian pizza, each flavor is enjoyed from the perfectly fired crust to the fresh herbs. The saying, “less is more” definitely applies to authentic Italian pizza.

Ironside Kitchen in Miami has made a name for itself by serving up the best Neapolitan pizza in the city. Made according to Neapolitan Tradition, the pizzas that Ironside Kitchen crafts are cooked in a wood-fired oven and made using only the finest, freshest Italian and local ingredients. The dough must be made from “00” flour, which is the finest milled flour available, only San Marzano tomatoes, which are grown in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius in Italy and fresh mozzarella fiordilatte is used to top the pizzas. Ironside strives to provide the most authentic Italian pizza for the diners so that they are able to experience how pizza is meant to be. Some of their most popular pizzas are:

  • Margherita – basil, tomato and mozzarella fiordilatte
  • Funghi – mushroom, tomato and mozzarella fiordilatte
  • Formaggi – mozzarella, smoked provola, parmigiano and gorgonzola
  • Regina – cherry tomato, arugula, parmigiano, prosciutto crudo and mozzarella fiordilatte

To see their full menu, visit

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