When you think of Italy’s most memorable dishes, its beloved pizza will most likely be among your top five, if not top three, favourites. It’s ultimate comfort food that has become an ever-growing obsession around the world.
Naples is, of course, the hub of the Pizza Napoletana (Neapolitan pizza), with generations of the same family groomed in the art of being a pizzaiolo (pizzamaker). And each family carefully guards its recipe variations and bakes pizza with a passion that’s matched perhaps only by the city’s love for its football team.
Like so many of the country’s most prized gastronomic delights like wine, olive oil and cheese, the quintessential pie from Naples, where pizza was born, has become so cherished that it’s now worthy of its own Designation of Controlled Origin (DOC). The city’s pizza-making tradition even received Unesco recognition in 2017 as an intangible cultural heritage item.
Ingredients to Prepare a True Neapolitan Pizza
And as with any pastime, pizza-making involves a bit of trial and error. Mistakes and all, the whole process – along with getting to enjoy the final result – is all part of the fun.
4 cups "00" flour (or bread flour, plus extra for dusting dough)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water
Cooking spray (or olive oil, to coat containers)
1 (14-ounce) can of San Marzano Tomatoes
12 ounces fresh buffalo mozzarella (or fresh cow's milk mozzarella (fior di latte)
Handful basil leaves
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Steps to Make It
Combine flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add water and mix to combine.
Then, knead the dough on low speed for 10 minutes. The mixture should come together into a unified mass that barely sticks to the bottom of the bowl as it kneads. If dough sticks, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time to the mixer while it is running, until the mass barely sticks to the bowl. If the mixture is too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time to the running mixer.
Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
When ready to make pizza, transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Divide dough into four even sections. With floured hands, form each section into a ball. Rest the dough again and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough balls should double in volume.
Make the sauce by either pushing the tomatoes through a food mill or simply pulsing them in a food processor until a chunky liquid is formed.
Heat oven to at least 475 F, or higher if your oven allows.
Onto a well-floured surface, stretch out each ball of dough into a 10-inch circle. Use a floured rolling pin if you need it. Don’t worry about the dough being a perfect circle!
Spread about 1/3 cup of sauce over the dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch edge without sauce.
Top the sauce with a quarter of the mozzarella slices. Tear a few basil leaves on top (according to your liking), and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. You can also add the basil and olive oil after the pizza is cooked. Bake about 5 to 7 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crust is charred in places. And Voila!
Source(s): BBC, Thespruceeats