Did you know that pizza is one of the most historic foods available today? People were eating flatbread with toppings back in the time of the Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks.
But the birthplace of the pizza we know today was in Italy’s southwestern Campania region. This is the home of Naples.
So the next time you have a craving for pizza, try the original. Use this Neapolitan pizza recipe and give your family a delicious homemade treat.
Origin of Neapolitan Pizza
This simple and fresh pizza originated in Naples, Italy. It’s meant to feature the flavors of a few quality ingredients.
No fancy toppings are meant for this pizza. All you need are dough, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil.
One of the most defining characteristics of this style of pizza is that there is more sauce than cheese. This tends to make the middle of the pizza soggy, so you’ll find them offered in smaller sizes.
In the 1700s, people commonly ate a type of flatbread. It wasn’t until the 1800s when people began to put tomatoes on it. Many Europeans believed tomatoes were poisonous, so the poor peasants of Naples began eating them.
It wasn’t until 1889 when King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy visited Naples that the first Margherita pizza was made. In honor of the queen’s visit, a pizza was created to celebrate the colors of the Italian flag.
Tomatoes for the red, mozzarella for the white, and basil leaves for the green. This creation is what we know as a Neapolitan pizza today.
To create an authentic Neapolitan pizza, you have to start with the right foundation. You need a crust that uses the right ingredients to create the right texture.
First, you need to use highly refined wheat flour. Find an Italian type 0 or 00. You will then mix it with fresh brewer’s yeast. This is not the same as dry yeast.
To finish the dough add water and salt. Mix your dough by hand or in a mixer at low speed. Do not use a rolling pin on your dough.
Once you have your dough formed, you’ll need to add the toppings. The tomatoes are raw San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. You’ll puree them into a paste and spread it over the dough.
There are only two options when it comes to cheese. It can either be fior do latte that is made from cow’s milk or mozzarella di Bufala, which is made from water buffalo milk.
The final step is to top the cheese with fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Once you’ve created your pizza, it bakes for 60 to 90 seconds at a minimum of 800 degrees in a stone oven or wood fire.
Make a Neapolitan at Home
Making an authentic pizza sounds all well and good, but let’s be realistic, not all of us have access to special flour, tomatoes, and cheese.
Even fewer of us have access to an 800-degree oven. So we are going to provide you with an at-home alternative.
The main goal is to have a thin, soft crust that you bake for a short time at a very high temperature. You want the crust to bubble and char in spots.
To make your dough, you will need to mix warm water, active dry yeast, olive oil, kosher salt, and 00 flour.
- 2 cups warm water
- 7 cups 00 flour
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 packet dry active yeast
Combine the water, yeast, and olive oil and leave alone for ten minutes. Then combine with the flour. Knead dough until it is smooth. Form it into a tight ball and leave it to sit at room temperature until you see it double in size three times.
The dough is ready when you punch it down, and it doesn’t bounce back. You’ll then portion it out and roll out your first pizza.
To make your sauce simmer the olive oil, garlic, and bay leaf. Soften the garlic but don’t brown it. Then add the tomato and water. The final step is to add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low for 30 to 45 minutes.
- 128 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 small pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp salt
Make Your Pizza
Start by preheating your oven to 500 degrees and placing the oven rack 4 inches below the broiler. Another option is to heat your grill up to 500 to 600 degrees.
The beauty of grilling your pizza is that you get a more authentic flavor, and it is easier. Heat a pizza stone for grill preparation when you preheat the grill. This way, the stone can heat up at the same time.
You’ll need to move quickly when it comes to assembling your pizza. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and form your pizza shape by hand.
Then ladle your sauce and arrange your mozzarella and basil leaves. Remember that less is more with this type of pizza. Pile on too many toppings, and you won’t be able to move your pizza from the weight.
Once your pizza is assembled, throw it in the oven or on the grill for about three minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the bottom is crispy, and the top is beginning to blister.
Remove for the heat, let cool, and you’re ready to enjoy some delicious homemade Neapolitan pizza!
Try this Neapolitan Pizza Recipe
If you and your family are craving pizza, why not give them the delicious treat of a homemade pie? This Neapolitan pizza recipe is sure to please, as it has been pleasing pizza lovers for centuries.
Check out my other recipes section of our blog for more great recipe ideas like this one.
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