The Perfect Neapolitan Pizza
WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson
Greetings from amazing Capri!
I really do feel that I am eating and drinking my way around the coastline of Italy, but that’s what holidays are all about right? Our life is events, food, styling and giving our clients the best night of their lives, so travelling the world in search of delicious new tastes, sights and sounds is almost like a work trip. Well, that's my justification anyway!
This week in Capri has been fantastic, I have eaten my way through some pizza and am always surprised at how light, simple and deliciously fresh they are. The Italians certainly have the touch, and I have found the perfect recipe that will ensure even the most basics of cooks can get that traditional Italian pizza down pat.
Originating in Naples, the Neapolitan pizza is to die for. So simple it contains basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil, that is it! A quick 90second cook in a very hot pizza oven (800-900F) and it is done, ready to devour.
Did you know?
- The Margherita pizza was created to honour Queen Margherita of Savoy, with the colours of the pizza meant to mirror those of the Italian flag: red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella), and green (basil leaves).
- The marinara pizza was created the wives of the fisherman, using their daily catch to top a basic baked flatbread.
- If cooked correctly, the flatbread for your pizza will bubble and be charred in spots, it’s all about the firing temperature and making sure you cook it for no longer than the recommended 90 seconds.
What you’ll need…
- 500g strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10g salt
- 10g fresh yeast
- 325 ml lukewarm water
- Dried breadcrumbs, for sprinkling
- 300g tinned plum tomatoes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 25g Parmesan, freshly grated
- a few basil leaves or some dried oregano
- 150g mozzarella, roughly chopped
How to make it…
- Preheat the oven to 250°C/Gas 9.
- Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and gradually add to the flour, mixing well until you obtain a dough. If you find the dough too sticky, just add a little more flour. Shape the dough into a ball and leave to rest, covered with a cloth, for 5 minutes.
- Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes and split it in half. Knead each of the pieces for a couple of minutes and shape into balls. Sprinkle some flour on a clean kitchen cloth and place the dough on it, then cover with a slightly damp cloth. Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a bowl, crush them slightly with a fork, season and mix well.
- Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and spread the dough into a circle about 35-40cm in diameter, making it as thin as a pancake (being careful not to tear it), with the border slightly thicker. Repeat with the other dough ball. Sprinkle a few breadcrumbs on two large baking trays and place the pizza bases on them.
- Spread a little of the tomato evenly over each base, not too much, or the pizzas will be soggy.
- Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the Parmesan, add a few basil leaves or sprinkle over some oregano and top with pieces of mozzarella cheese.
- Place in the oven for 7 minutes (a couple of minutes longer if you prefer your pizza crisp).
- Remove from the oven, drizzle with some more olive oil and consume immediately.
Resting time 5 minutes/ Rising time 30 minutes
This is an extract from the book Two Greedy Italians by Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo. Supporting Capri images are via Pinterest.