Napoletana Pizza

The best way to get closer to the local culture is the food. And 30th of October we experienced an amusing class of making traditional Neapolitan pizza.

We were very lucky to be taught by professionals of Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. Thus, in the beginning, we would like to thank Professor Paola Vitaglione, our FIPDes programme and friendly personnel of Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) for such a nice opportunity.
Traditional Neapolitan pizza has a very long history starting hundreds of years ago. This dish dates back to the 16th century as a food of working-class people. But the interesting and important fact is that it was flatbread without tomatoes because the tomatoes that were brought to Europe from Peru in the 16th century as a gift were considered a poisonous plant. But poor people accidentally started to use it as an ingredient and the story of tomato cultivation began in the 18th century.
In 1889, Raffaele Esposito created the Pizza Margherita for Queen Regina Margherita of Savoy as a gift for her feast. He topped it with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. The Queen and her guests liked the dish a lot and the Queen even awarded Raffaele a letter of gratitude.
Century later, while Neapolitan pizza became popular world widely, 17 Neapolitan families gathered together to save the most traditional recipe of the dish to preserve it as a national property. The National Municipality accepted the regulation that protects the original recipe of the Neapolitan pizza in 1984.At the same time The VPN Association was founded supported by the Chamber of Commerce, Handicrafts & Industry. 30 years later that regulation was accepted by European Union (EU) by the geographical certification "STG" (or "TSG", traditional specialty guaranteed).

Going deeply to the traditional recipe of Margarita pizza, it has plenty of nuances:
1. First of all, the flour must be "00" which is the finest one. Another important criterion is protein/gluten content that is 11,5%-13,5%/9,5%-11,5%.
2. Tomatoes must be San Marzano Tomatoes (and especially exact types from 12 different!) that have European protected designation of origin certification. But Roman tomatoes are also accepted.
3. Of course, EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
4. Fresh mozzarella.
The process is quite fast:
Dough: Mix 500ml of water and 5g of salt. Add a little bit of flour to create a barrier between salt and yeast and then add yeast. Mix with rest of flour (800g in general) and knead the dough very good to build gluten binds. Cover dough and give it a rest for 10 min. After "fold" the dough by special technique to make longer gluten binds and share for 5 pieces. 250-260g is perfect for one pizza.
Tomatoes: Mix peeled tomatoes with 1% of salt by hand (not by mixer because it changes the structure, colour and taste!).
Cheese: Cut mozzarella on strips to allow it to melt easily.
Before baking: Roll the dough, put one spoon of tomato sauce and 60-90g of mozzarella, pour olive oil in "6" shape and bake at 400-450 C in 60-90 sec turning once.
Buon appetito!
Amazing visit, great professionals, and tasty pizza. We became much closer that day to the local culture!

Iuliia Ishunkina, Russia, Cohort 11

- Updated November 2023 -