“Napoletana” – literally: “from Naples”.
Neapolitan pizza (or Pizza Napoletana)
It’s for sure the most copied, controversial, antique and famous style of pizza; also the one with specifics rules. Neapolitan pizza can be certified by the pizzaioli (pizza chefs) association called AVPN.
The art of the Neapolitan pizza making is part of the UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage since 2017.
The authentic Neapolitan pizza was born around 1600 from the undeniable Neapolitan culinary ingenuity. The main initial idea was to add flavour to the piece of dough that the baker was using to test the oven.
Pizza descends from “piezzo”
At one time, there were sharing ovens in the neighbourhood, and ordinary people used them to bake their dough. Every person prepared the loaves and uniquely cut it the surface before baking. By doing this, everyone could recognize his product, once cooked, from that of others.
There was a technique to understand if the wood-oven had reached the right temperature.
A piece of dough was quickly stretched and thrown into a corner of the oven. Then maybe another and another one, to test different areas. Depending on how the dough was baking, an expert person could determine the temperature of the oven. The piece of dough, in the Neapolitan dialect, was called “piezzo.”
Once the oven reached the right temperature, people started to insert their loaf. And the “piezzo” were stuffed and consumed like today’s pizza.
In the beginning, the “piezzo” was seasoned with garlic, lard and coarse salt, or, in the richer version, with caciocavallo and basil.
The arrival on the tables of modern pizza occurred with the discovery of the tomato imported from Peru by the Spanish colonizers.
Raffaele Esposito was not the inventor of the pizza. At that time, so many other chefs were doing that product. But Raffaele was the one to make it famous, by preparing an Italian flag coloured pizza for the Italian queen Margherita.
History tells us that Raffaele Esposito, the best pizza chef of that time, made three pizzas for the sovereigns.
– Mastunicòla (lard, cheese and basil)
– Marinara (tomato, garlic, oil and oregano)
– tomato, mozzarella and basil (it did not had a name to start)
The colours of all three pizzas deliberately recalled the Italian tricolour (Red, White and Green).
The Queen appreciated the latter so much that she wanted to thank and praise the pizza chef in writing.
For this reason, and to reciprocate, Esposito gave the Queen’s name to his culinary creation, which has since been called: “Pizza Margherita”.
The ingredients amount
On the AVPN disciplinare, you can find the exact amount of each ingredient:
Pizza MargheritaAVPN disciplinare
Canned peeled S. Marzano tomatoes 60 – 80 g
Olive oil (Virgin or Extra Vergin) 6 – 7 g (variance of +20% tolerated)
Mozzarella/Fior di latte 80 – 100 g
Fresh Basil – A few leaves
Hard cheese (grated) 5-7 g
Canned peeled tomatoes 70 – 100 g
Olive oil (Extra Vergin) 6 – 8 g (variance of +20% tolerated)
Garlic – One clove (3gr)
Oregano – 0.5 g (a pinch)