In case you have a chance to visit Italy, do it without thinking too much! It is a place to let your hair down and allow yourself to be swooned away with a unique lifestyle and beauty. Everywhere you look there are remains of one more artistic world. The art is reflected in the cuisine as well. What we know nowadays to be Italian food is far from its original flavors. In the West, we like to simplify things. This causes change in the original recipes. The saying goes: when in Rome, do as the Romans do.Although we may not be in Rome, we may as well do it right.
Pizza in Naples
Pizza originates from Naples. Therefore, we have to make one thing clear at the very beginning: it would be extremely difficult to duplicate the exact same taste. What we do in the West is trying to make similar flavors. Naturally, each person does it in accordance with his or her own preferences. However, the flour is not the same. Neither is the water.
As many of you know, Naples is situated in the Gulf of Naples, just 9 kilometers from the so-called “Campanian volcanic arc”. The term refers to several active and dormant volcanoes in that region, Vesuvius included. Regardless of constant danger of eruption and unpredictable nature of volcanoes, the city is largely populated. In the past, people have been living in regions near volcanoes in case their main occupation was agriculture.
Namely, the soil in regions near volcanoes is very fertile. It is rich in minerals that are scarce in some other parts of the land. Consequently, the water that runs through such landscape contains specific nutrients otherwise lacking in nature. Both vegetables and fruits that grow in the region are high-quality products.
All in all, the ingredients that local people use when making pizza in Naples are very specific. That is why it would be difficult to replicate the recipe in detail.
How Do Italians Do it
You should know what to expect when you order a pizza in Naples. Italians obviously know that less is more. The goal is in simplicity with utmost quality. Mostly eaten pizza in Naples is the Margherita. This flavor is usually followed by Marinara and Formaggio e Pomodoro.
So, they have this tremendous natural foundation to grow their own food. However, that is not the whole story. Devotion to doing things right is the key.
Italian chefs pay the same attention to making the dough as to making the topping. When making dough as the basis for a good pizza, you should make sure that you stretch it by hand. Naturally, this would be more difficult for beginners. Also, people who are used to buying frozen pizza dough will probably experience some stumbling. However, making doughs can be really fun and entertaining. Especially if you do it in someone’s company. Furthermore, when you become a master at stretching and rolling the dough in your hands and throwing it around and upwards, you can boast about it. You can consider throwing a pizza party for your loved ones.
The Ingredients They Use When Making Dough
Italian recipe insists on “OO” type of flour. This may come as a barrier for some people. Personally, I met people who can clearly distinguish the taste of such flour and who dislike it. You will never know unless you try it out.
Secondly, the yeast should be fresh. It is one of the essential ingredients in making a dough and you should not mess around with it.
As for the water, use the same water you usually do. It would be ungrateful to insist on specific volcanic enriched water. Add some salt, as per your own taste. You should then bake the dough, allowing for the edges to form a crust.
Making the Topping
As stated above, Margherita is one of the simplest and most common recipes in Italy. When choosing tomatoes, make sure you pick the fresh ones. Regardless of the fact those tomatoes would be crushed, they should be fresh in order to release the rich flavor.
The same goes for basil and oregano which they add at the end. Consider buying fresh spices instead of dried ones. Planting a few of your favorite spices is also a good idea.
Olive oil should, without a doubt, be Italian. And now, for the best part – cheese. Italians use local mozzarella cheese. It has a creamy structure and very profound mild taste. As most people think pizza is all about the cheese, they usually prefer stronger tastes of cheese. However, this is how Italians do it.
Enjoying the Meal
Italians do not share pizza. Each meal should be a ritual. The least you can do is sit at the table and eat from a plate, not the box. In case you like to fold a slice of pizza, there is a name for that as well. It is called “libretto”. It means “a small book”. We take pizza seriously, the same as Italians. We also take ice-cream seriously. But we will get to the subject of Italian ice cream in one of the future posts.
What is your favorite type of pizza?