Whether you have an ‘I Love Pizza’ bumper sticker on your car and keep a running list of all the best pizza places in Phoenix, or are content grabbing the occasional slice when they are delivered to the office, everyone has their own preferences about what makes a “good” pizza. Some people love thin crust, dripping in sauce and heaped with meat and cheese while others prefer more simple and subtle flavors.
So, we ask, what do you look for in a good pizza? As self-appointed experts in the subject we have outlined the basics here, but we invite you to comment with the most important components to a great pie, from the spices in the sauce, the thickness of the crust, or the variety of available toppings.
The foundation of all pizza is one of the most debated options prior to ordering, from deep dish, to thick crust, whole wheat to gluten free there are many options to crust thickness and texture before you even begin piling on the toppings. Regardless of the style, a great pizza crust should all share some qualities: The outside should be crispy but the inside should remain soft and tender. The crust should be well browned but never burnt, giving it an overall smoky flavor.
The true secret to a high quality pizza crust does indeed rely on the quality of the ingredients; however what is more important is the skill and quick hands of the pizza maker. The dough should be stretched and shaped quickly without having the air pressed out of it which would cause a dense sticky crust.
Slightly less controversial than the crust, but still hotly debated – typically in reference to the quantity used on the pizza (though many pizza lovers have an opinion on sweet vs. tart sauce). The best pizza sauces are made with uncooked canned tomatoes, from either California or Italy, seasoned with salt and oregano. Pizza sauce should have a distinct taste from pasta sauce and the two should not be used interchangeably.
Finally something that everyone can agree on – Mozzarella! Everyone can appreciate the fresh taste of melted mozzarella on a pizza; it is after all the official cheese of pizza. The cheese ratio is an important part of ensuring the proper texture of the pizza, 4-6 oz of cheese will cover a 13” crust. While you may be tempted to use cheeses other than mozzarella to mix up the flavor, be sure to avoid processes or oily cheese, and add hard cheeses after the pizza is cooked to preserve their delicate flavors.
One thing we can all agree on is that there is no single set of criteria for what makes a “good pizza”. A simple Bianco (white) pizza can be just as satisfying as a Works which is loaded with toppings. In the end it comes down to getting the basic foundation (crust, sauce and cheese) just right, because if they’re good all the other flavors can work together seamlessly.
For pizza that is always great, visit Sardella’s Pizza and Wings, a leading pizza restaurant in Phoenix. Our menu offers five crust options and countless topping combinations all enhanced with our sauce, a secret family recipe. For the full Sardella’s menu, visit www.sardellaspizza.com.