The pizza is known and loved across the world. The modern, authentic pizza recipe that we know today originates from Naples, and in 2017, the Neapolitan pizza was even included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. However, the historic roots of the pizza dates back even further than Naples.
The history of the pizza
2000 years BC, the ancient Greeks were known to sacrifice large flatbreads baked with water, flour and mint to the gods. Later on, flatbreads topped with oils, fresh herbs, spices and dates became a popular dish, slightly resembling the early versions of the pizza. They called it pita, meaning pie.
The modern version of the pizza featuring tomato sauce and cheese originates from Naples, originally known as the food of the lower class. In the 1800’s, the Italian baker Raffaele Esposito was accredited with creating the first Neapolitan pizza during a royal visit from the Italian King and Queen. He topped the pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil. The colours of the Italian flag.
The royal family were deeply impressed by this new, tasty wonder and the word of the Neapolitan pizza travelled fast. This particular pizza became known as the official pizza of Naples and was titled Pizza Margherita,named after the Italian Queen.
The original pizza recipe
The original, authentic pizza from Naples is known for its simple and fresh recipe. A fluffy, crispy crust. Rich tomato sauce. Large chunks of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. Topped with fresh basil leaves and olive oil. The simplicity of the recipe was all characteristic of the Neapolitan pizza.
What you need:
- 10 dl Italian flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- 3½ dl water
- 1 can of whole peeled Italian tomatoes (preferably San Marzano, but others will do as well)
- 350g fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
How you do it:
- Mix flour, salt and yeast together in a bowl.
- Add water and mix it again.
- Knead the dough thoroughly in 5-10 minutes (if you have a kneading machine, knead it for 10 minutes on slow speed). Make sure that the dough does not stick to the bowl. Add extra water or flour if needed.
- Cover the bowl and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (up to 72 hours for the best result).
- Split the dough in 4 parts, brush them with olive oil and let them rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Blend the tomatoes in a blender.
- Preheat the oven to at least250°C (475 F). If you are using a pizza stone, preheat it as well in the middle of the oven.
- Roll out the dough on a baking sheet and cover it with plenty of tomato sauce.
- Tear the mozzarella in large chunks and place them on the pizza along with a handful of basil leaves. Top with 1 tbsp of olive oil. You can also add the basil and olive oil once the pizzas are baked.
- Move the pizza to the pizza stone or baking tray and bake for 5-7 minutes (the cheese should be sizzling and the crust turn slightly brown).