Uncovering The Secrets of Neapolitan Pizza | A Curious Journey 

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Pizza lovers rejoice! If you’re looking for a unique and tasty delight on your plate, then Neapolitan pizza should undoubtedly be on your radar. Originating in the Naples area of Italy, these delicious pizzas aren’t only enjoyable and have a rich and storied tradition behind them.

In this blog post, we’ll learn about the history of Neapolitan pizza so that you can enjoy it with an informed appreciation for its prestigious past – from tomato sauce to cheese and beyond. So get ready to treat your taste buds while learning more about one of Italy’s most beloved dishes!

What Is Neapolitan Pizza?

Neapolitan pizza style with cheese

Neapolitan pizza is a traditional Italian style of pizza that originated in the city of Naples, Italy. It’s typically made with simple and fresh ingredients, including dough (flour, water, salt, and yeast), tomatoes (usually San Marzano tomatoes), mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and basil. The pizzas are typically cooked in wood-fired ovens at a high temperature for no more than 60–90 seconds – any longer, and the pizza will become overcooked.

San Marzano tomatoes are a variety of tomatoes that are grown in the rich soils of Mt. Vesuvius near Naples, Italy. It is renowned for its sweet flavor and low acidity – two attributes that make it perfect for creating an authentic Neapolitan style.

The cheese used in Neapolitan pizza is Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (buffalo mozzarella). This particular variety of cheese is made with milk from water buffalo, and it has a creamier, milder flavor than regular mozzarella.

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The History of Neapolitan Pizza

It has been around for centuries, but its modern form began to take shape during the 18th century when tomatoes were added to the topping. The addition of tomatoes was made mainstream by Italian chef Raffaele Esposito, credited with creating the first “modern” pizza in 1889. This original pizza became known as the “Pizza Margherita,” named after Italy’s Queen Margherita and featuring the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella cheese), and green (basil). Esposito’s Pizza Margherita was an instant hit and eventually spread worldwide.

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This pizza style continued to grow in popularity over the years, particularly after being declared as a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed product by the European Union in 2010. This designation means that any product labeled as Neapolitan pizza must adhere to strict guidelines, such as using specific ingredients and preparing the pizza in a wood-fired oven.

What Makes The Neapolitan Pizza Special?

Neapolitan pizza cooked with brick oven

What makes this pizza so unique is the combination of its simple ingredients, cooking method, and history. The dough is made with only four essential ingredients that are combined together to create a light, thin crust. You should knead out by hand to maintain its airy texture.

The tomatoes used (San Marzano) are known for their sweet flavor and low acidity — making them perfect for creating a balanced flavor profile. And the cheese (Mozzarella di Bufala Campana) is made from water buffalo milk, giving it a creamier and milder flavor than regular mozzarella.

Cooking these pizzas in wood-fired ovens gives them an authentic taste and texture that can’t be replicated by any other cooking method. Also, its long history and strong cultural identity make them a treasured culinary tradition worldwide.

How Many Variations Of Neapolitan Pizza?

While the traditional Neapolitan pizza is made with simplicity, there are now numerous variations of the dish. Some famous examples include:

  • Pizza Margherita – A classic one topped with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, and basil.
  • Pizza Napoletana – This version of the classic Neapolitan style adds anchovies and capers to the topping.
  • Pizza Marinara – This version is made with olive oil, garlic, oregano, and tomatoes.
  • Pizza Capricciosa – Topped with mushrooms, artichokes, olives, prosciutto ham, and mozzarella cheese.
  • Pizza Quattro Formaggi – Topped with four types of cheese, usually mozzarella, gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano, and fontina.
  • Pizza Ortolana – This pizza is topped with fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

No matter what variation you choose, the key is to keep the baking time short – typically between 60-90 seconds in a high-temperature wood-fired oven. Any longer, and the pizza will become overcooked.

How To Make Neapolitan Pizza At Home?

The key to making a great Neapolitan pizza at home is to use the right ingredients and cooking methods. Start with your own dough with just four simple ingredients – flour, water, salt, and yeast. Then top the pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana cheese, and fresh basil. However, you can customize the toppings to your own preference.

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You should also invest in a high-quality wood-fired oven, as this is the most authentic way to cook Neapolitan pizza. This type of oven can reach temperatures up to 900F (482°C) and give your pizza the classic texture and flavor you’re looking for. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to its highest temperature and make sure it’s hot enough before adding your pizza. Cook the pizza for 60-90 seconds, and then enjoy the delicious results!

There are a few common mistakes when making Neapolitan style. First, the dough should be thin and airy and not too thick so it cooks evenly. Second, don’t overload your pizza with toppings, as this will prevent it from baking properly. You need to make sure to use high-quality ingredients for a truly authentic flavor and texture.

How Many Calories In A Slice Of Neapolitan Pizza?

A single slice of Neapolitan pizza typically contains around 300-400 calories, depending on the exact toppings. The calories come primarily from the dough, cheese, and sauce. You can opt for ingredients such as whole wheat flour, low-fat cheese, and light tomato sauce for a healthier version of Neapolitan Pizza. This will help to reduce the calorie count while still retaining that classic flavor.

FAQs

How Thick Of The Neapolitan Pizza Crust?

The Neapolitan style crust should be thin, typically at most 0,12 of an inch (3 mm) thick. This will ensure it cooks evenly in the wood-fired oven and give you a crispy yet airy crust.

Can You Roll The Dough With A Machine To Make Neapolitan Pizza?

No, you should not use a machine to roll out the dough for this pizza style. The dough should be hand-stretched to achieve the right texture and thickness. This will ensure your pizza has a crispy yet airy crust that is characteristic of the classic Neapolitan style.

What Is The Best Dough To Make Neapolitan Pizza?

The best dough for Neapolitan pizza is made with just four simple ingredients – flour, water, salt, and yeast. This basic dough will give you the perfect texture and flavor for a classic Neapolitan pizza. However, some traditional recipes will also add olive oil or sugar to the mix.

Is Neapolitan Pizza Healthy?

It can be healthy if you opt for high-quality ingredients such as whole wheat flour and low-fat cheese. You can also add fresh vegetables to the toppings to make it a more nutrient-dense meal.

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Is Neapolitan Pizza Vegetarian?

The classic Margherita version of the Neapolitan pizza is vegetarian, as it contains only tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. However, other versions may have meat or fish toppings, so you should check before ordering.

What Is The Difference Between Neapolitan Pizza And Chicago Style Pizza?

Neapolitan pizza is thin and crunchy, while Chicago-style pizza is thick and deep dish. A Chicago-style pizza is also typically cooked in an electric oven rather than a wood-fired one.

What Is The Difference Between Neapolitan Pizza And New York Style Pizza?

The main difference between Neapolitan pizza and New York-style pizza is its texture. A traditional Neapolitan style has a thin, crunchy crust and is cooked for a short period of time in a wood-fired oven. A New York-style pizza has a thicker, softer crust that is usually cooked in an electric oven.

How Long Does It Take To Make A Neapolitan Pizza?

It typically takes around 30-60 minutes to make a classic Neapolitan pizza. The time includes making the dough, shaping and topping it, and then baking it in a wood-fired oven. The actual baking time should only be between 60-90 seconds so that your pizza isn’t overcooked.

Can You Freeze Neapolitan Pizza?

Yes, you can freeze the pizza as long as it has been cooked first. Make sure to allow the slices to cool completely before freezing and store them in airtight containers for up to 3 months. Reheat the frozen slices in a preheated 300F (150°C) oven for 10 minutes before serving.

Is It Possible To Make Neapolitan Pizza With An Electric Oven?

No, making authentic Neapolitan pizza in an electric oven is impossible as they don’t reach the same high temperatures as wood-fired ovens. Also, the taste and texture will differ from a traditional Neapolitan pizza. However, you can opt for a New York-style pizza that is typically cooked in an electric oven.

Can You Use Alternative Toppings For Neapolitan Pizza?

Yes, you can use alternative toppings such as mushrooms, onions, peppers, and olives on your Neapolitan pizza. However, make sure to leave your pizza with enough ingredients so that it doesn’t become soggy or prevent it from baking properly.

Conclusion

We have uncovered the secrets behind the delicacy of traditional Neapolitan pizza. From its history to the way it is created today, by combining fresh ingredients, a hot oven, and skilled hands, one can easily see why it has become an international favorite. To make mouthwatering Neapolitan pizza, be sure to use the freshest ingredients and the best dough with an ideal thickness. With just a few simple steps, you can enjoy an authentic Italian experience in your own home!

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