“Quasi Autentico” Neapolitan Pizza

 

Yeah, that’s right…almost authentic.

 

 

This pizza is magnifico!  I dream of going to Italia and trying the real thing!  I even studied Italian in college so that I could be ready to go!  Needless to say, that was 17 years ago.  Bear with me as I dig out the Italian somewhere in that brain of mine.

 

I was inspired to make this pizza when skimming through my signed copy of Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day.  Strudel and I each received one while attending the Foodbuzz Festival last November.

 

Not only did I learn how to make Neapolitan Pizza from this book but I also learned that in Italy there are strict criteria to call a pizza Napoletana…

 

UnoThe pizza must be baked in a wood-fired oven at 905 degrees F.

My oven tops out at 550, so that’s what I did.

 

DueThe flour must be Italian type “00”.

“00” is a low protein flour which gives a nice crisp to the pizza but difficult to find in the US.  The book taught me that you can mix all-purpose with cake flour to lower the protein ratio.

 

TreThe dough cannot have olive oil in it BUT must have it on it.

Done!

 

QuattroPatrons cannot take home leftovers from the pizzeria.

OK, that one is just weird.

 

CinqueNo rolling pin is to be used, just your hands.

Well, that’s easy enough.  This dough is lovely and was easily manipulated into a wonderful round.

 

Seithe classic Margherita is topped only with tomato, basil and mozzarella.

I prefer my pizza to have fresh tomatoes versus pureed.  I didn’t have fresh basil so I used a dried italian herb blend.

 

I have always wondered where Margherita came from, you?

 

This cookbook (and a little of wikipedia) informed that this was the name of Italy’s queen, Margherita of Savoy (from 1878 to 1900) and this pizza was developed in 1889 in the three colors of the Italian flag.  She was born in Turin and is buried at the Pantheon in Rome.  A fellow hiker, she climbed to what is still considered the highest hut in Europe (inaugurated in her honor) at the top of Punta Gnifetti.

 

The Best and Easiest Pizza Ever

(this will make 4 small pizzas)

 

1 2/3 c. warm water

1 T. yeast

1 T. coarse sea salt

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. cake flour

 

With the paddle attached on a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and salt in the bowl of the mixer.  Add the flour and mix on low-speed just until the dough starts to pull away from the bowl.  Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a shower cap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours or until doubled.  Once risen, put the dough in the refrigerator (this dough can be used for up to 14 days) for at least 2 hours (for good flavor).  Once ready to make the pizza, pre-heat oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit (or as high as your oven will go).  Pull the dough out of the refrigerator and pull off a 1/2 lb piece (approximately the size of a softball).  Form into a ball on a floured board and let sit, covered with a bowl, for about 20 minutes.

 

 

 

During this time, prepare the toppings.  I chose Bel Gioso rolled mozzarella, cut into chunks; a fresh roma tomato sliced, dried italian herbs, fleur de sel and olive oil.

 

 

 

Once the dough has rested, press with fingers into a ball and then stretch gently around the edge of the dough and then stretch on your knuckles while gently rotating the dough until it is pretty thin.

 

 

 

Place the dough on a peel or parchment paper, add the toppings and place in the oven on a baking stone.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

 

This pizza was so good, I made one for my neighbor too…

 

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