Pepperoni has long been the go-to topping for many pizzas and other Italian dishes, but have you ever paused to wonder what is Old World pepperoni – or where it originally came from? After all, its traditional name of “old world pepperoni” implies that there must be a story behind it. Well, if you’ve got some time on your hands and an earned appetite for knowledge about one of the meaty components of pizza goodness, then read on. This blog post will tell you all about old world pepperoni – its heritage, structure, preparation methods, and more.
The History Of Pepperoni
Before knowing what is Old World pepperoni, you should know the history of pepperoni. Pepperoni, while it may appear traditional, is not actually a type of Italian cured sausage. It was created by Italian immigrants who arrived in the United States during the early 20th century. The pepperoni sausage made its debut in Lower Manhattan, New York City, in 1919. These Italian immigrants modified dry salami by incorporating paprika, a blend of chili-pepper-based spices, and nitrates commonly found in Italian cured meats. The spices not only contributed to its distinctive flavor but also gave the sausage its red color.
What Is Old World Pepperoni?
Now, let’s answering the question “what is Old World pepperoni?”. Old World pepperoni is a type of dry sausage made from pork and beef. Its name comes from the Italian word “peperone,” which means pepper, and it has been enjoyed as a pizza topping for centuries. This type of pepperoni is usually spicy, thanks to its addition of traditional Italian spices such as paprika, fennel, garlic, and cayenne pepper.
Watch this video to know what is Old World pepperoni.
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Difference Between Old World And American Style Pepperoni
After knowing what is Old World pepperoni, you should explore the difference between Old World and American style pepperoni. The main difference between old world pepperoni and American-style pepperoni lies in their preparation methods. Old World pepperoni is cured and then air-dried, giving it a firmer texture and intense flavor. On the other hand, American-style pepperoni is cooked in a smokehouse or oven, which makes it softer and fattier.
How Is Old World Pepperoni Made?
Old world pepperoni is made by combining cured pork and beef, a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages when Sicilians preferred these meats. Due to the scarcity of pork fat, the Italians salt-cured it to create the pepperoni we know today. Although it incorporates mixed meats, old world pepperoni was initially derived from ground pork used in Italian salami. This flavorful creation also consists of a blend of spices such as black pepper and mustard seed, as well as herbs like rosemary and thyme. The addition of garlic further enhances its traditional Italian salami heritage.
What Does Old World Pepperoni Taste Like?
Old World pepperoni has a distinctive taste that comes from the combination of cured pork and beef. It originated from the Sicilians’ preference for these meats during the Middle Ages when pork fat was scarce. The Italian salami’s ground pork was used as a basis for old world pepperoni, resulting in a unique flavor. Additionally, it is seasoned with a blend of spices including black pepper and mustard seed, as well as herbs like rosemary and thyme. The inclusion of garlic further adds to its traditional Italian salami taste.
Tips On Buying Old World Pepperoni
After knowing what is Old World pepperoni, here are some tips on buying Old World pepperoni:
- Look for pepperoni that is made with traditional Italian spices and herbs such as paprika, fennel, garlic, and cayenne pepper.
- Pay attention to the fat content of the pepperoni. Old World pepperoni typically has a lower fat content than American-style pepperoni.
- Consider purchasing from reputable brands or specialty delis to ensure the authenticity and quality of the old world pepperoni.
- Look for natural casing rather than synthetic casing, as it adds to the traditional flavor and texture of old world pepperoni.
- Experiment with different brands and types of old world pepperoni until you find your favorite. You can try sliced or diced, hot or mild, cured or uncured options.
Brands That Make Old World Pepperoni
Bridgford, Battistoni, and Margherita are brands that specialize in making old world pepperoni, offering a variety of different types.
Where To Try It Old World Pepperoni?
If you’re looking for a taste of old world pepperoni on your pizza, there are several recommended places to try it. In New York, the birthplace of American pizza, numerous pizzerias would be delighted to serve you. Just ask for a “Roni Cup” pizza, and they’ll know exactly what you mean.
If you’re outside of New York, finding old world pepperoni might be a bit more challenging. However, if you happen to be near Marco’s pizzeria, you’re in luck. They offer the highly acclaimed Pizza Magnifico, topped with generous servings of delicious, curled old world pepperoni. In 2019 alone, Marco’s served over 230 million slices featuring this remarkable ingredient.
In Ohio, Plus One Pizza is another fantastic option. They provide the choice between American style or old world pepperoni and have branches throughout the state.
Making Your Own Pizza With Old World Pepperoni
To make your own pizza with old world pepperoni, you have a few options. One option is to purchase generous sticks of old world pepperoni from the Bridgford store, which can be conveniently purchased on Amazon. Each stick weighs 16 ounces and can be purchased individually or in packs of three, four, or six. Another option is to visit local Italian delis or upscale grocery stores, as they often carry old world pepperoni.
Once you have the pepperoni, you can either make your pizza from scratch or buy a ready-made crust and add the sauce, cheese, and toppings. If you decide to order a whole pizza from your regular pizzeria, keep in mind that you will need to cook the pepperoni separately before adding it to the top of the pizza. Otherwise, the pizza that’s already cooked through may end up burning when you put it back into the oven.
Tips For Making Your Own Old World Pepperoni Pizza
- Allow the pizza dough to rise properly. Check the recipe for the recommended time and consider making the dough in advance and storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Preheat your oven and use a heavy surface like a pizza stone, an upside-down cast-iron skillet, or a heavy-duty baking sheet to achieve a crispier pizza crust.
- Place parchment paper on the baking surface before adding the pizza to ensure smooth transfer once it’s cooked.
- Set your oven temperature as high as possible, preferably around 500 degrees Fahrenheit, to get a similar high heat as wood-fired pizza ovens used in pizzerias.
- Pre-cook the old world pepperoni, but make sure to leave it slightly underdone to allow it to cup and crisp up during the final bake. You can easily do this by placing it on a paper towel in the microwave for 30 seconds before adding it to the pizza.
Bobby Kelly is a bartender at Molly Magees, an Irish pub in Mountain View. He’s been working there for two years and has developed a following among the regulars. Bobby is known for his friendly demeanor and great drink specials. He loves interacting with customers and making them feel welcome. When he’s not at work, Bobby enjoys spending time with his friends and family.
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