Red sauce being stirred in a pan with a wooden spoon
For Rhode Island's Pizza Strips, The Sauce Is The Featured Ingredient
Pizza strips, or red strips as Rhode Islanders call them, are a popular snack across the state. They lack cheese and toppings like pepperoni, putting the spotlight on the sauce.
Typically found at Italian bakeries, these strips are made of a rich tomato sauce on top of a focaccia-like bread. Some would argue that they aren't a form of pizza at all.
The sauce is the real star of this tasty treat. It's rich and thick and features garlic, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs like oregano and basil in addition to tomatoes.
Even Rhode Islanders aren't sure about the origin of pizza strips. Brian Boza, owner of Borelli's Pastry Shop, says they originated as an easy and convenient staple for bakers.
It’s possible that the strips are based on early pizzas from Naples, Italy that didn't have cheese. They're also similar to "tomato pie" found in areas of New York and New Jersey.
The lack of cheese makes long-lasting pizza strips a huge boon for bakers, as they "could be packed, served at room temperature, and you could eat it all day," as Boza says.