Philadelphia Tomato Pie
Not to be confused with its neighboring tomato pie to the north, Philladelphia Tomato Pie is stretched and baked into sheet pans. The thick, bready crust is as thick as a Sicilian—about 1 inch tall. The tomatoes for this sauce are cooked down with lots of seasoning into a thick, heavy, sweet sauce. In his review of Conshohocken Bakery pizza, Philly correspondent Hawk Krall described this style as, “distinct from everyday pizza—the best Tomato Pies come room temperature from old-school neighborhood bakeries rather than hot from a pizzeria. No toppings and no cheese, save for a scant shake of Romano or Parmesan. For many who grew up in the area, this simple bakery style pie says "Philly" more than any other style of pizza." That makes these slices more like Italian bakery-style slices than the round Tomato pies from Trenton.
French Bread Pizza
While most people know French bread pizza as something boxed and placed in the freezer aisle by Stouffer's, the original version was sold out of a food truck in Ithaca, NY. Invented by Bob Petrillose, this half pizza/half sandwich creation was coined Poor Man's Pizza (PMP) but is also known as "Hot Truck" after the wagon from which it was vended. The original version, still sold today by both Hot Truck and Shortstop Deli, was summed up in this review as follows: "A third of a loaf of light, airy Ithaca Bakery French bread is halved horizontally, spread with a generous amount of pizza sauce and mozzarella, baked open-face until the bread is satisfyingly crisp, and then folded over to make the whole thing easily portable." Whether created at home, reheated out of a box, or bought off a truck, this crusty, sauce and cheese topped loaf is ever popular with the audience of cash poor students that it was created for.
The montanara is a type of pizza fritta. Specifically, it is a Neapolitan-style dough that gets stretched and then deep-fried. The golden crust, once extracted from its oil bath, is then topped. According to master pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio, his mentor Antonio Starita introduced the idea of finishing the montanara in a wood-fired oven in order to dry the oil; a technique that has since been emulated by other pizzaioli. Starita was the first pizza maker to bring the montanara stateside, where it premiered in 2007 at A Mano in Rdigewood, NJ. Traditionally, this fried pizza is finished with a hard cheese, like Parmesean or Romano, but restaurants like Don Antonio and Forcella are using smoked mozzarella and fior di latte. In his review of Forcella, Adam Kuban has this to say of his first taste of the montanara: "Imagine a very good Margherita pizza… but with a foundation reminiscent of one of those fried-dough wonders you only see at the state fair—at once crisp, chewy, moist, and puffy in only that way fried breads get."
Roman Pizza al Taglio
Roman pizza al taglio came into existence in the 1960s. These long rectangular pizzas, also called pizza al metro (referring to the one meter length of the pie) are sold out of take away shops by the weight. Pizza al taglio literally means "pizza by the cut", since scissors are used to portion off the desired amount. Toppings play a greater role on this style than on pizza bianca. And these large slabs of pizza are generally thicker and softer than bianca, as they are baked in a pan in an electric oven rather than directly on a stone or the floor of a gas oven.
Originating in Palermo, Sfincione is the Sicilian slice that Sicilians eat. The name literally means "sponge", which describes the way the dough behaves when soaking up the oils in the pan. The resulting texture is tall and spongy, never dense or doughy. The crisp olive-oil saturated bottom layer gives way to a moist, tender middle that is crowned with a thick tomato sauce made with anchovies and lots of onions. You won't find any mozzarella on this pan proofed square slice. A light grating of caciocavallo, a hard sheep's cheese, finishes this style, along with a crumbly crunch of breadcrumbs.
Pizza di Sfrigole
Editor Carey Jones encountered this style in Abruzzo, Italy and offers up this analysis of the style: "It's nothing more than lard, flour, and salt kneaded together extensively, then incorporating those luscious little pig bits (orsfrigole) before it's baked. Though different in composition, of course, it's not that far off from prosciutto bread, where the actual meat is apparent but the added animal fat's richness is what really makes it exceptional. The result is super-flaky and almost pastrylike, which makes sense when you consider how lard is so often used in pie crusts and such."