Classic Neapolitan Pizza

Classic Neapolitan Pizza

The very first pizza restaurant to open its doors is in Naples.  Pizzeria Port’Alba began making pizza in 1738.  It was the original fast food.  Bought at the door and ate on the street.   By 1830 Port’Alba became a full-fledged pizza restaurant.  What is amazing is Pezzeria Port’Alba is still open!  Called Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba today, it is considered one of the best places for pizza in the world.  Although great pizza can be found all over the world today, simplicity is the key to a great Neapolitan pizza.  A round of flat bread topped with only tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil is considered a classic.  Originally a poor mans dish, which is evident by the ingredients listed.

Classic Neapolitan Pizza

For the Crust

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet of dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup war water

For the Topping

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ( 1 kilo) ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 10 ounces (280 grams) fresh mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil leaves

Instructions:

Place the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm water. Put the flour on a work surface.  When the yeast is dissolved, make a well in the center of the flour and add the water with yeast and salt.  Gradually incorporate th flour and liquid with your fingers: adding more water if needed: producing a dense, slightly sticky dough.  Form the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl, cover with a tea towel or plate and let it rest for 30 minutes.  After the dough has rested, dust the work surface lightly with flour and knead the dough until it is soft and pliable.  Shape it into a ball and let it rest as before until it has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

While the dough is rising make the sauce. Trim the stem from tomatoes; scrape out the seeds.  Place in a food processor and swirl until chunky but not smooth.  Warm the oil in a heavy fry pan.  Add the garlic and cook until slightly golden but not brown.  Add tomatoes and cook over medium heat for approximately 30 minutes until sauce is thick.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 500F (260C).  When the dough is ready, punch if down and let it rest for 5 minutes.   On a floured surface, divide the down into 2 equal parts and form into balls.  Work each into a thin circle 10 to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter with a rolling-pin.  Place the dough into a pizza pan.  Thinly spread tomato sauce over the top.  Lay sliced mozzarella over tomatoes and top with fresh basil leaves torn into small pieces.

Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes until the curst is golden brown and the topping is bubbling.  Serve immediately.

Prepared pizza for oven

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yields: 2 pizzas

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