Pizza Napoletana is likely the most famous pizza style in the whole world. Otherwise known as “Neapolitan pizza,” this style of pizza is easily recognizable by its soft and fragrant dough. The external part of the crust should be fluffy and delicious, and sometimes it’s even stuffed with ricotta cheese to make the whole pizza even tastier.
Neapolitan pizza is on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. This pizza style was invented in 1715, and it is one of the most famous Italian foods eaten all over the world.
The classic version of this pizza style is the “pizza Margherita,” seasoned with tomato sauce, Fior di Latte, fresh basil leaves, and olive oil. It is usually served with a fresh small mozzarella and some basil leaves in the center.
In Naples, the only tomatoes allowed for making the sauce are San Marzano tomatoes and Pomodorini del Piennolo tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes are thin, pointed tomatoes that are often a choice favorite of pizza makers. They are a variety of plum tomato with thicker flesh and less seeds. Pomodorini del Piennolo tomatoes are a variety of small-sized tomatoes which grow only on the volcanic plains of the Vesuvius.
Fior di Latte is a fresh and juicy kind of mozzarella. The most famous variant of Neapolitan pizza is made using Mozzarella di Bufala (buffalo mozzarella), a mozzarella cheese made with buffalo milk, instead of the Fior di Latte.
The oldest pizza Napoletana seasoning is the “pizza alla Marinara,” otherwise known as “pizza marinara.” It was originally the food eaten by sailors. “Mare” means “sea” in Italian, and “marinara” translates to “sea style.” This kind of pizza is seasoned with tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, and sometimes chili pepper and chopped artichokes.
Where Is Pizza Napoletana From?
Neapolitan pizza is typical of the southern Italian city of Naples (in Italian, Napoli). It’s the city in which pizza was first created. The tradition of this pizza style is handed down through the generations of Neapolitan bakers, and each family has its own secrets, from the flour to the yeast and the proportions, and even the water used to make the dough. Pizza Napoletana is traditionally baked in a wood-fire oven for a very short time, from one to two minutes, in order to keep the Fior di Latte juicy and the basil still fresh.
Neapolitan Pizza is one of the first true street foods in history. Since the 1800s, in fact, people used to buy slices of pizza with cheese, tomato sauce, and small fishes or lard as a snack to eat during work breaks.
Pizza Napoletana is also one of the first historically documented example of food delivery. Since the 1800s, every bakery in Naples had its own busboys who went house to house wearing head gear in which they kept hot coal and pizza slices to sell.
How an Authentic Pizza Napoletana Should Be
In 1984, a small group of members of the most ancient baking families in Naples met to summarize and codify a list of the fundamental rules to follow in order to bake a perfect pizza Napoletana.
- Pizza must have a circular shape and it must not exceed 35 cm of diameter
- Pizza must have a raised rim around its edge – in Naples, it’s called “cornicione,” which means “big frame” – of about 1 or 2 cm
- The dough must be shaped using hands only, no rolling pins or machines are allowed, and the height must be at least 3 mm
Pizza Napoletana: Ingredients for the Perfect Dough
Neapolitan pizza dough is made with simple ingredients: water, salt, yeast, and flour. For the yeast, brewer’s yeast or sourdough are the most common. For the flour, it’s type 0 or 00 tender wheat flour, sometimes mixed with durum wheat flour. Some bakers add also olive oil or fat to make the dough even more fragrant, but these ingredients are not present in the historic tradition of this pizza style.
Variants: How To Use the Dough Differently
Naples is known all over the world not only for Neapolitan Pizza but also for “pizza fritta” (fried pizza) and the calzone. Both are dishes made with the same traditional pizza dough but cooked and shaped differently.
Pizza fritta is a typical Neapolitan dish made with pizza dough, and the shape reminds us of a smaller pizza that is fried in oil or lard instead of being baked.
The savory version is topped with tomato sauce, a slice of Fior di Latte, or buffalo mozzarella and some basil leaves, while the sweet version is sprinkled with white sugar and covered in chocolate cream or Nutella.
A calzone is made with pizza dough, stuffed, folded in half, and then baked or fried. The fillings are just like the toppings one would put on a pizza: Margherita (tomato sauce, Fior di Latte, basil, olive oil), cheese, pepperoni, prosciutto, and so on.
Where To Find Neapolitan in Vegas
If you’re looking for Neapolitan pizza, we’d recommend trying Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana. There are two locations in Las Vegas, well, technically one is in Henderson, but you get the point. One location is on W. Sahara Ave and the other is on Green Valley Pkwy. For more about Settebello, check out the Top Vegas Pizza review.