28 May La Vera Pizza Napoletana (The True Neapolitan Pizza)
La Vera Pizza Napoletana (The True Neapolitan Pizza)
28 May 2021
PREP. TIME: 20 min - Rest Time - 30 mins - Cook Time: 7 - 10 mins - Yield: 2 large Pizzas
When you are next in Naples - try an authentic Neapolitan pizza in one of the tiny, hole - in - the - wall pizzerias in the historical centre of the city. This is where you will get to experience La Vera Pizza Napoletana - the True Neapolitan Pizza.
When making pizza at home, follow their principals. The dough should not be too brittle and thin or too thick and spongy. It should have a chewy crunch to it so be sure to push it out relatively thin - not too thin - create a thicker rim around it and fight the temptation to drown it in topping ingredients.
At least 30 minutes before you plan to cook the pizza - heat a pizza stone or oven tray in the oven and turn up the oven as high as it will go. Assemble your pizza on a sheet of baking paper or breadcrumbs on a light tray or paddle that can be slipped into the hot oven onto the heated stone or tray.
The memorable flavour of Neapolitan pizza commonly comes from the firm, very ripe San Marzano tomatoes of the district. Look out for Mutti brand tinned San Marzano tomatoes, out of season. Whatever you end up with - gently squeeze out the juices and seeds and just use the flesh.
For the Base
500 g Strong (00 or Unbleached) plain flour - plus extra for dusting
10 g Salt
10 g dried yeast
325 ml luke warm water
A few dried bread crumbs for sprinkling
For the Topping
300 g Skinned, Tinned or Fresh San Marzano or Plum (Sauce) Tomatoes
Salt and Freshly ground black Pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling.
25 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
A few basil leaves or dried oregano
150 g fresh mozzarella - torn or roughly chopped
Measuring jug and spoon
2 clean Tea Towels
Small mixing bowl and fork
Step 1 Prep
Preheat the oven to 230C or as high as it will go.
Arrange a pizza stone or oven tray (not a rack) in the oven to preheat as well.
Step 2 Make the dough
Put the flour and salt in a large bowl, mix with the fork and create a well in the centre.
Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water .
Gradually pour the water mixture into the well, mixing as you go to incorporate all of the flour.
When all of the water has been absorbed, tip the contents of the bowl onto a clean work surface and gather it together, to shape into a ball.
Cover with a cloth and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Clean down the bench of all crumbs and flour.
Slap the ball of dough onto the bench and knead it for 8 - 10 minutes, pushing it away from you on the palm of your hand(s). The dough should become soft and manageable. If it is too sticky, lightly sprinkle a spoonful of flour onto the bench and carefully incorporate this to reduce the stickiness.
Divide the dough into 2. Cover the ball you are not working on and knead each piece of dough for a couple more minutes, shape each piece into a ball.
Lightly sprinkle some flour on a tea towel and place the balls of dough on it. Cover with
a slightly damp, clean tea towel.
Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Clean down the bench of all crumbs and flour.
Step 3 Make the Topping
While the dough is rising, place the tomatoes in a bowl, crush them slightly with a fork, season with salt and pepper and a little dried oregano if using, and mix well.
Tear or roughly chop the mozzarella.
Step 4 Assembly
Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface.
Spread the dough into a circle of 30 - 40cm in diameter, making it as thin as a pancake (being careful not to tear it) with the border slightly thicker. You are best to do this with your fingers - pushing the dough out from the centre to form a circle and keeping a thick border.
Repeat with the other ball of dough.
Sprinkle some bread crumbs on two large baking trays and place the pizza bases on them.
* If you do not have enough baking trays, make one pizza at a time, keeping the dough of the second pizza covered - prepare this base while the first pizza is cooking.
Spread a little of the tomato evenly over each base - not too much or the pizza will be soggy.
Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese, add a few basil leaves or sprinkle with dried oregano and top with pieces of mozzarella cheese.
Step 5 Bake
Place the pizzas onto the heated stone or trays in the oven and cook for at least 7 minutes but up to 20 minutes depending how hot your oven is. The pizza base should be crisp and the border well coloured.
Step 6 To Serve
Remove from the oven, drizzle with more olive oil and consume immediately.
Recipe by Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo, Two Greedy Italians.
Adapted by Elizabeth Peddey
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