In our current foodie Renaissance, we’re being introduced to an astounding variety of pizzas. Stuffed crust, Chicago style, etc. How many different styles of pizza can there possibly be? To kickstart this Friday blog series, we’ve decided to start with the good ol’ Italian classic: the Neapolitan pizza.
Originally from Naples, Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito created a “Pizza Margherita” in June of 1889 to honor the new Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. On this pizza was tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil: the national colors of Italy.
Since then, the 4 simple ingredients of the traditional Neapolitan pizza have remained:
- Flour (usually “00” or all-purpose)
- Freshly picked basil
- Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (from the Italian water buffalo in Campania)
- A San Marzano tomato base (San Marzano is an Italian plum tomato that grows in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius. They’re sweet and low in acidity. Containing a low seed count and easy to remove skin, the tomatoes are crushed and used alone as the fresh sauce).
Because of the lightness of the dough and freshness of the flavors, there are usually fewer toppings used but pepperoni, hot soppressata, and fruity flavors make for an outstanding and customized Neapolitan.
Neapolitan pizza is known for its signature poofy charred crust: The dough ferments anywhere from a few hours to several days for a soft, low-gluten digestible crust full of airy pockets. The more leopard print spots — the better! The result is a warm, gooey (sometimes soupy) pie that melts in the mouth. Fun fact: in Italy, Neapolitan pizzas are eaten with forks and knives.
What’re your favorite pizza toppings?