Neapolitan Pizza - The Pizza of Naples
Neapolitan pizza is one of the common varieties of pizza out there – you might even think of Neapolitan as the grandfather of our own New York-style pizza – but what is it exactly? Not everyone has an experience with it, especially if their only real intro to pizza is through the national chains. Neapolitan pizza might be considered by some to be a "bougie" pizza but that's not quite the case.
Too embarrassed to ask the waiter? Feel like you should already know what it is? Don't sweat it. This time on the Streets of New York blog, we're talking about Neapolitan pizza - what makes it Neapolitan and more.
What is Neapolitan Pizza
Neapolitan pizza is like New York pizza or Chicago pizza in that Neapolitan tells you where it's from, Naples. It's a style of pizza that is made simple with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese – though those ingredients are a bit more specific than you'd expect at first glance.
For real, true Neapolitan pizza it needs to be made with special San Marzano tomatoes or Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio – tomatoes that grow specifically in the volcanic plains south of Mount Vesuvius. The mozzarella meanwhile is specifically Mozzarella di Bufala Campana - mozzarella cheese from a water buffalo raised in a specific region of Italy. Cow's milk mozzarella is ok too. It's a bit like sparkling wine and champagne – it might be similar, but there's specificity in the making of it that makes it what it is. So much so that UNESCO has made it listed as an intangible cultural heritage. Pretty wild huh!
The Neapolitan Recipe
So since this is such a regulated thing we have to turn to the professional organization built exactly for it, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. According to them, genuine Neapolitan pizza needs to use a dough that's made up of wheat flour, natural Neapolitan yeast (or brewer's yeast), salt, and water. The higher the protein the better. The dough must then be kneaded by hand or a mixer on low-speed then left to rise. Afterward, the dough must be formed by hand (no rolling pins here) to a thickness of no more than 3mm. The pizza's then put in a wood-fired oven and baked for just 60-90 seconds but at an incredible 905 °F!
Of course, with any style of pizza, there are some offshoots and variations. The original being the pizza Margherita – using the same ingredients for tomato and cheese then adding some basil, olive oil, maybe a sprinkling of Parmesan depending. Different regions will have different versions of their Neapolitan pizza (of course) but now we know what makes that original what it is!
If you got a craving for Neapolitan pizza and you're ordering up from your local Streets of New York look to the Classic Margherita – it's not the classic Neapolitan but it's the variant that might just do the trick for you!