What Is napolità? Defining the Unique Neapolitan Pizza Style
napolità refers to the authentic style of neapolitan pizza that originated in Naples, Italy. This delicious pie is characterized by a thin, hand-stretched dough and topped with fresh ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil.
- The crust is soft, light, and foldable, not crunchy. It’s made from simple ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, and water. The dough is kneaded and shaped by hand, then baked in an extremely hot wood-burning oven for just 60-90 seconds.
- The tomato sauce is usually made from canned San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, crushed by hand and seasoned simply with salt. No herbs or spices are added so the fresh tomato flavor can shine through.
- Mozzarella di bufala, made from the milk of Italian water buffalo, is the only cheese used. It melts perfectly in the hot oven and adds a decadent creaminess.
- Fresh basil, olive oil, and sometimes parmesan or prosciutto are the only other additions. The ingredients may be minimal, but the flavors are maximized.
- An authentic Neapolitan pizza should be eaten immediately, folded in half, with your hands. The crust won’t support too many toppings, so keep it simple.
napolità is a culinary tradition recognized by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Once you taste an authentic Neapolitan pizza, you’ll understand why. The sublime combination of a perfect crust, flavorful sauce, and fresh toppings creates a pizza experience like no other. No wonder napolità has endured for over 300 years!
The History and Origins of napolità Pizza
napolità pizza originates from Naples, Italy and has a rich history dating back to the 16th century. According to legend, the first pizza was created in Naples when the local chef ran out of ingredients and had to improvise something for the hungry customers. He spread tomato sauce on flatbread, topped it with cheese and fresh basil, and the pizza was born!
The Classic Styles
Two classic napolità pizza styles emerged: pizza marinara with just tomato sauce, garlic, and oregano, and pizza margherita with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. The margherita was named after Queen Margherita, who fell in love with the pizza on a visit to Naples in 1889. These simple but delicious pies highlighted the fresh, high-quality ingredients of the region.
Over time, napolità pizza has gained worldwide fame and recognition. In 2017, the art of making napolità pizza was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. If you get a chance to visit Naples, you absolutely must try an authentic pizza from one of the historic pizzerias in the city – there’s nothing quite like it! The signature chewy yet crisp crust, made from dough fermented for 24-48 hours, and the flavorful San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese all contribute to the unique taste of napolità pizza.
No wonder this delicious delicacy from Naples has conquered the world. Once you’ve tasted real napolità pizza, you’ll never look at pizza the same way again!
The Ingredients That Make napolità So Special
napolità owes its distinctive character to several special ingredients.
Fresh, Quality Ingredients
The freshest, highest-quality ingredients are essential for authentic Neapolitan pizza. napolità uses ingredients imported directly from Italy, like double-zero flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and fior di latte mozzarella. These premium components, combined with fresh basil, olive oil, and other savory toppings, give napolità pizza its unmistakable flavor.
napolità’s pizzaiolos (pizza makers) employ an artisanal technique refined over generations. The dough is kneaded and left to rise for at least 24 hours to develop its distinctive chewy yet crisp crust. The pizzas are cooked for just 60-90 seconds in a 900°F wood-burning oven, blistering the crust while keeping the center soft. This combination of a long rise and quick bake gives napolità pizza its trademark light, airy cornicione (edge) and balance of textures.
napolità stays true to the authentic Neapolitan style, from preparation to presentation. Pizzas come in either marinara (tomato, garlic, and oregano) or margherita (tomato, basil, and mozzarella) versions, the classic Naples standards. They’re served uncut, so diners can fold slices in half, as tradition dictates. The casual, bustling atmosphere also evokes the feel of a typical Neapolitan pizzeria.
From its artisanal methods to premium ingredients to authentic Neapolitan spirit, napolità captures the essence of pizza as it was meant to be. One bite of its meltingly tender crust, tangy tomato sauce, and creamy mozzarella, and you’ll understand why Naples’ gift to the world has endured.
Where to Find Authentic napolità Pizza
When in Naples, the only way to truly experience authentic napolità pizza is to visit a traditional pizzeria. Look for places with a wood-burning oven, simple menu, and casual atmosphere. Some recommendations:
Pizzeria da Michele
This historic pizzeria opened in 1870 and still uses the original oven. They only offer two types of pizza: margherita and marinara. It’s all about quality over quantity here. Go early or expect a long wait, as this popular spot usually has a line out the door.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
If the line at da Michele is too daunting, head to its sister restaurant just down the street. They use the same recipe and ingredients as the original but in a larger space, so you’ll have an easier time getting a table.
Run by the Starita family since 1901, this pizzeria is known for its fried pizza and use of quality local ingredients. They were one of the first pizzerias to be awarded the True Neapolitan Pizza certification. The casual, lively atmosphere will make you feel like part of the family.
Pizzeria Trianon da Ciro
For over 60 years, Pizzeria Trianon has been serving classic Neapolitan pizzas from their wood-burning oven. They’re known for their pizza fritta, fried pizza dough filled with ricotta and salami. The restaurant walls are covered in photos of famous visitors, a testament to their popularity. Expect large crowds, especially on weekends.
Aside from pizzerias, look for pizza al taglio, pizza by the slice, sold at small kiosks and bakeries. Grab a few slices of whatever looks good and enjoy your snack on the go like a true Neapolitan. From upscale restaurants to hole-in-the-wall spots, pizza is everywhere in Naples, so do some exploring and buon appetito!
How to Make napolità Pizza at Home
Making authentic napolità pizza at home is easier than you might think. All you need are a few simple ingredients and some patience while the dough rises.
-4 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
-1 1⁄4 cups warm water
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- Mix the warm water, olive oil, and yeast in a bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
- Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If it’s too sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
- Punch down the dough. Knead briefly then roll out into circles, 1⁄4 inch thick. Place on a floured surface and cover with towels. Let rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450 F. Place a baking stone in the center of the oven.
- Top the dough with your favorite toppings: crushed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil.
- Carefully transfer the pizzas to the preheated stone. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
- Allow pizza to cool slightly, then slice and enjoy your homemade napolità pizza! The key is not to overload it with too many toppings so you can still taste the crust. Buon appetito!
Making pizza at home does require some work, but the rewards of biting into a slice of pizza right out of your own oven are well worth the effort. Give this recipe a try and you’ll be making pizzas as good as any pizzeria in Naples in no time.
Discover the hidden gems of napolità for yourself. Take a stroll down the cobblestone streets, soak in the vibrant culture around every corner, indulge in delicious food and wine, and make memories that will last forever. Let the beauty of napolità seep into your soul. Who knows, you just might find yourself booking another trip back before you’ve even left. The delights of napolità are calling your name. All that’s left to do is answer the call. What are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure and escape to the enchanting city of napolità. You won’t regret it.