Napolità pizza, or Neapolitan pizza, is a type of pizza that originated in Naples, Italy. It is characterized by its thin, soft, and elastic crust, its simple and fresh ingredients, and its wood-fired oven baking. Napolità pizza is considered the original and authentic pizza, and it has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. In this article, we will explore the origins, features, and varieties of Napolità pizza.
Origins of Napolità Pizza
Traditional Neapolitan Recipe
The original Napolità pizza recipe originated in the 18th century, when the city’s impoverished would whip up a batch of flatbread topped with cheese, tomatoes, and olive oil for a hearty and inexpensive lunch. “Pinsa” means “flatbread” in Latin, the origin of the word pizza. The word “pizza” was first mentioned in a Latin book from the town of Gaeta, close to Naples, in 997 AD.
Special Ingredients Used
The ingredients used for Napolità pizza are simple, but they have to meet certain quality standards. The flour has to be type 00, which is finely ground and high in protein. The water has to be pure and low in chlorine. The yeast has to be natural and fresh. The salt has to be sea salt. The tomatoes have to be San Marzano, which are grown in the volcanic soil of Mount Vesuvius. The cheese has to be mozzarella di bufala, which is made from the milk of water buffaloes. The olive oil has to be extra virgin and cold-pressed. The basil has to be fresh and green.
History of Pizza in Naples
Pizza has a long and rich history in Naples, where it evolved from different forms of flatbread over the centuries. The ancient Greeks and Romans used to bake bread with various toppings, such as cheese, honey, herbs, and garlic. The Arabs introduced the use of durum wheat, which is more suitable for making thin and crispy dough. The Spanish introduced the tomato to Europe in the 16th century, but it was not widely used until the 18th century when it became a staple food for the poor. The first pizzeria in Naples was Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, which opened in 1738 and still operates today. The pizza Margherita, which is the most iconic Napolità pizza, was created in 1889 by Raffaele Esposito, a pizza maker who wanted to honor Queen Margherita of Savoy, who was visiting Naples. He made a pizza with the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), white (mozzarella), and green (basil).
Unique Features of Napolità Pizza
Wood-Fired Oven Baking
One of the distinctive features of Napolità pizza is that it is baked in a wood-fired oven, which reaches temperatures of over 400°C (750°F). The oven has to be dome-shaped and made of brick or stone, which retains and distributes the heat evenly. The wood has to be dry and hardwood, such as oak, beech, or ash, which produces a clean and aromatic flame. The baking time has to be very short, no more than 90 seconds, which gives the pizza its characteristic charred spots and smoky flavor.
Specific Measurements of Ingredients
Another feature of Napolità pizza is that it has to follow specific measurements of ingredients and proportions, which are regulated by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), a non-profit organization that certifies the authenticity of Napolità pizza. The AVPN was founded in 1984 by a group of pizza makers who wanted to preserve the tradition and quality of Napolità pizza. The AVPN has a set of rules and guidelines that define the characteristics of Napolità pizza, such as the diameter, thickness, weight, and ingredients of the pizza. According to the AVPN, the diameter of the pizza has to be between 30 and 35 cm (12 and 14 inches), the thickness of the crust has to be between 0.4 and 0.8 cm (0.2 and 0.3 inches), the weight of the dough has to be between 180 and 250 g (6 and 9 ounces), and the weight of the toppings has to be between 60 and 80 g (2 and 3 ounces).
The third feature of Napolità pizza is that it has to use authentic and fresh toppings, which enhance the flavor and quality of the pizza. The toppings have to be simple and minimal, as the main focus is on the dough and the cheese. The most common toppings are tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and salt. Other toppings can be added, but they have to be compatible with the Napolità pizza style and tradition. Some of the toppings that are allowed by the AVPN are garlic, oregano, anchovies, capers, olives, mushrooms, ham, salami, and artichokes.
5 Most Popular Nepolitan Pizzas
The Margherita pizza, made by Napolità, is the most well-known and beloved pizza in Italy. The pizza cooked by Raffaele Esposito left such an impression on Queen Margherita of Savoy that she visited Naples in 1889 and the restaurant was named after her. Olive oil, basil, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and salt make up a Margherita pizza. It stands for the three stripes (red, white, and green) that make up the Italian flag.
The Marinara pizza is the oldest and simplest Napolità pizza, and it dates back to the 18th century. It is named after the mariners, who used to eat it on their boats, as it was easy to make and preserve. The Marinara pizza consists of tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, olive oil, and salt. It has a strong and spicy flavor, and it does not contain any cheese.
The Cossaca pizza is a variation of the Margherita pizza, and it is also known as the pizza Napoletana. It is named after the Cossacks, who were a group of people from Eastern Europe who fought against the Turks in the 16th century. The Cossaca pizza consists of tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It has a slightly spicy and peppery taste, and it is one of the most popular pizzas in Naples.
The Pizza Diavola is a spicy and hot Napolità pizza, and it is also known as the pizza Piccante. It is named after the devil, who is associated with fire and heat. The Pizza Diavola consists of tomato sauce, mozzarella, salami, olive oil, salt, and chili peppers. It has a fiery and intense flavor, and it is one of the most ordered pizzas in Italy.
The Pizza Nduja is a creamy and smoky Napolità pizza, and it is a relatively new creation. It is named after the nduja, which is a spicy and spreadable pork sausage from Calabria, a region in Southern Italy. The Pizza Nduja consists of tomato sauce, mozzarella, nduja, olive oil, and salt. It has a rich and savory taste, and it is one of the most trendy pizzas in recent years.
Pizza Prosciutto e Funghi
The Pizza Prosciutto e Funghi is a classic and delicious Napolità pizza, and it is also known as the pizza Boscaiola. It is named after the prosciutto, which is a cured ham, and the funghi, which are mushrooms. The Pizza Prosciutto e Funghi consists of tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto, mushrooms, olive oil, and salt. It has a balanced and satisfying flavor, and it is one of the most loved pizzas by children and adults alike.