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Naples Style Pizza at Home

Naples is considered the birthplace of pizza. It started in the late 1700’s. Early pizzas had things like tomatoes, cheese, anchovies and garlic on them. In 1889 after Italy became unified, King Umberto & Queen Margherita visited Naples. Chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a new pizza for the Queen and named it after her. It was to have the colors of the Italian flag: Red – tomato sauce, Green – Basil and White – Mozzarella Cheese.

This pizza was not known outside of Naples until around 1940’s. Today it can be found all over the world. The original style, still made in Naples, uses a wood burning oven (between 600 & 750 F), 00 pizza flour, live yeast, fresh basil, EVOO and buffalo mozzarella cheese. It is thin crusted and light. Each person gets a whole pizza, which is NOT sliced and eats it with a fork and knife or takes a slice in the streets of Naples in paper. It was street food for the poor.

 

ORIGINAL NAPLES PIZZA RECIPE:

Making the dough:

Mix flour, water, salt and yeast. Pour a liter of water into a dough making machine, dissolve 50-55 g of salt, add 10% of the total amount of flour you are planning to use, then dissolve 3g of yeast, and start mixing gradually adding the remaining 1.8 Kg flour until the dough reaches the desired texture and consistency, defined as “Il Punto di Pasta”, smooth to the touch and very extensible .

Rising:

Let the dough rest on a marble slab or a wooden surface for 2 hours covered with a damp cloth and then divide into individual ball-shaped portions of 180 grams each.

Set aside in a container to rise for a second time for 4-6 hours at room temperature.

Rolling:

Use your hands and with a round motion roll out the dough on a marble slab covered with flour until it becomes 3 mm thick with a 1-2 cm edge.

Filling:

Take about 60g to 70g of chopped tomatoes and using a wooden spoon place in the center of the disk of dough.  With a spiraling motion, spread the tomato over the surface.  Then add a pinch of salt on the tomatoes, 80 – 100 g of DOP buffalo mozzarella, cut into strips and some basil leaves. Again with a spiraling motion starting from the centre, add 4 to 5 grams of extra virgin olive oil.

Cooking:

Cook in a wood- brick oven at a temperature between 450C° to 480C°, rotating the position of the pizza frequently to make sure the heat is spread evenly.

Eating method:

Use your hands and enjoy the taste of Italy!

 

Our Pizza:

Often, we make our own dough, but today we were testing some prepared doughs from both Trader Joes and Publix Supermarket. We also make our own pizza sauce from marzano tomatoes, but sometimes you just have to have a quicker alternative:

Dough Balls from Trader Joes and Publix

Sauce – Premium Organic Paesano Tomato and Basil (available at Costco)

Buffalo Mozzarella from COSTCO

Fresh basil from our supermarket

We brought the dough to room temperature, divided it into two balls and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then on a floured surface, we pressed the dough out in all directions from the center to form a circle. You then grab a side of the dough and pull out and fold back over your hand to increase the size of the pie. This is continued all around the pie several times until it is the size you want (around 10”). The center should be paper thin and thicker around the edges. The Trader Joe’s dough was the best to work with and had the best results, forming a larger pie without tearing. The Publix dough was a bit more delicate, but also made a very good pizza.

Next ladle some sauce on pie in center and spread it out in circles around pie. Then season the sauce with Parmesan cheese and garlic (if desired). Next place the fesh basil and finally the Buffalo Mozzarella cheese. Then sprinkle some EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) over the top.

Pre heat your oven to 500-550 with a good quality pizza stone in it. After it reaches temperature wait another 15 minutes to allow stone to reach the temperature. Use a pizza Peel to slide the pie onto the stone. It should only take about 5-6 minutes to cook. The edges should be brown and check bottom so it doesn’t get to dark.

The crust edges should be crispy but the bottom center should be soft. Take pie out of oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing or serve whole like in Italy.

If you are doing a second pie, allow oven to reach temperature again before putting it in.

Enjoy…

 

Below is a video VLOG of us making this pizza …

 

– George & Jo Febish

Categories: BLOG, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Cheese, Cooking, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Naples, Pizza, Ristorante, Southern Italy, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Traveling by Train in Italy

Public transportation can be daunting in a foreign country but train travel in Italy is easy and common once you understand the basics. There are different types of trains from high speeds to locals and the cost changes accordingly. Having a ticket doesn’t always mean you have a seat. Some tickets require validation before boarding. If they are not validated a heavy fine may be imposed.

The rules are simple and train travel in Italy is relatively easy. You can go almost anywhere by train or get close enough to your destination. Trains even go to Sicily. The train is loaded on a ferry and travels to the Island of Sicily where it is put back on tracks and your journey proceeds. There are European trains that will take you to any major city in Europe.

Sit back and watch our short VLOG video on how to use the Italian train system.

– George Febish

Categories: BLOG, Europe, Ferries, General Travel, Italian, Italian Facts, Planning a vacation, Regions of Italy, Rome, Sicily, Trains, Travel Guides, VLOG, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Differences between America and Italy

Here are 12 differences between America and Italy. They are not all the differences but some to consider on your trip. Italy is a wonderful country with great people, food, wine, museums and countryside. It is a different country with different customs and ways. These are not good or bad just different. Be aware of differences and don’t be shocked.

The YouTube video below goes through the 12 differences:

– George Febish

Categories: BLOG, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Fish, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Shopping, Supermercato, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Campania, Italy

Campania is in southern Italy below Rome. It includes famous areas like Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Campania has wonderful Blue Flag Beaches and some very interesting mountain towns. You have everything thing here including: museums, beaches, mountains, great food & wine and friendly people.

We chose this area to have a second home and have fallen in love with it. Come walk with us through several towns in the great region.

– George

Categories: Agropoli, Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Anacapri, Ascea, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Benvenuto al Sud, BLOG, Blue Flag Beaches, Blue Grotto, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Castellabate, Cilento, Cooking, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Ferries, Food, Funicular, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lemoncello, Marina Casal Velino, Marina di Camerota, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Museums, Naples, Palinuro, Pioppi, Pizza, Positano, Regions of Italy, Romance, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Stairs, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pompeii, Italy

This is the famous city that was destroyed by the Mount Vesuvius volcano in 79 AD. It was originally an Etruscan city and then a Roman one. It is located in Campania south of Naples and north of Sorrento, Italy. It was buried in 13 to 16 feet of hot ash from the volcano. Years went by and people forgot about the city and the people who lived below the surface. It became a Roman colony in 80 BC. 1500 years passed until the city below was discovered.

Today it is an outdoor museum where you can see homes, stadiums, restaurants, houses of prostitution and bars. This is a stop well worth your time. As you walk around the streets of Pompeii, imagine the original occupants who lived here. Then imagine that fateful day when Vesuvius blew its top.

Come walk with us through this impressive ancient city that has been perfectly preserved in time. Click on the YouTube VLOG video below …

Ciao,
– George

Categories: BLOG, Eating Italian, Etruscan, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mount Vesuvious, Mountains, Naples, Pompeii, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Vesuvius, VLOG, Volcano | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why I love Italy

This is a different VLOG for me. In this one I talk about the reasons I love Italy and give tips to both first time travelers to Italy well as experienced Italian travelers.

The video covers several sections:

  • Why I love Italy
  • Top Reasons I love Italy
  • Museums
  • What to do in Italy
  • Finding Places to Eat
  • The Metro (Subway)
  • Time to go
  • Hotels
  • Currency (Euros)
  • Airfares
  • Hopper App
  • Driving in Italy
  • Put Italy on your Bucket List

If Italy is not on your bucket list, it should be. Watch the video below and see why so many people love and go to Italy.

– George

Categories: Air Fares, Autostrada, Beach Resorts, Beaches, BLOG, Church, Cooking, Dolce, Dolce far niente, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Exchange Rates, Ferries, Flights, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian Facts, Italian language, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Metro Travel, Money, Museums, Parking Garage, Parking Meters, Passegiata, Pasta, Pastry, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Romance, Shopping, Small Towns, Towns, Trains, Travel Guides, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, Walking, Weather in Europe, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuscany, Italy

Everyone wants to go to Tuscany, Italy. It is home to the greatest Italian wines, great food and majestic cities. Great cities like Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Cortona and Montepulciano are located here. The road system is a good one with Italy’s main Autostrada, the A1, cutting through its center. The A1 can take you out of Tuscany north to Milan or south to Rome and Naples.

A drive along the A1 reveals hill-top cities everywhere. I just want to exit the highway and find my way up to a new small city on a hill-top. Come walk with us through some of Tuscany’s major cities and some fun ones. What ever your plans  are: wine, food, old cities, museums, architecture or sheer beauty, it can be found here.

Click on the YouTube link below to visit Tuscany and some of its cities …

– George

Categories: BLOG, Chianti, Cortona, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, General Travel, Il Palio, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Museums, Regions of Italy, Romance, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to properly see Italy

I get asked all the time how to see Italy so you don’t miss anything? What should I see on my first trip? How is the food? Is it safe? So this BLOG is to answer these questions and state some rules:

  1. There are no rules
  2. I don’t believe in tours. They take you to the worst restaurants in Italy and move you along from site to site too fast. Most people take tours because they are afraid of getting lost, Can’t speak the language or don’t want to miss anything. Use your smart phones GPS to get around. Search on top things to see.
  3. The big cities are a must but the real Italy is in the small cities. Don’t miss these.
  4. Italy can’t be seen in one trip. Plan several trips and enjoy it more.
  5. If you are seeing 10 cities in 7 days, you have not visited or seen Italy.
  6. The food, outside touristy places is fantastic. Eat with the Italians in small Trattoria.
  7. Museums are important but the art in Italy is all around you everywhere you go.
  8. Stay in small hotels not big American ones. Don’t worry about your points, you are in Italy.
  9. Learn a few key phrases in Italian and use them.

OK you are on your first trip and don’t know where to go. Plan Naples and Rome or Florence and Venice. Spend time in each city. You win nothing by running from site to site and then moving to the next city. In fact you lose a lot! Italy is a country that moves slowly. Sit and observe it. Walk with the Italians at lunch time (la passeggiata). It is not enough to see the famous art and buildings but the people who live here. Communicate as best you can. Use simple 2-year old talk or charades.

Tours normally work against these goals. They force you to eat where they make the most money. They rush you from one site to the next. You see Italy through a bus window. This is not much better than seeing it on TV. If you must take a tour, find a small walking or biking tour. Find something in a van not a huge bus. Make sure you have a few days on your own to explore as you want to. Don’t be afraid to take trains between cities. They go almost everywhere. Within cities the metro is clean and efficient.

Rome is a city of architecture and history unlike any other in the world. Naples is old and many Americans came from this area of Italy. Florence is the capital of art and the Renaissance, Here you will find unbelievable art and the beginnings of modern thinking. Venice is the most unusual city in the world. Here you will explore a large city made up of sidewalks and canals. There are no roads or cars. Enjoy these cities but take time to understand the history, the people and the food.

Plan more trips to visit places like Verona, Bologna, Capri, Amalfi Coast and the millions of small wonderful sea port and mountain towns. We love driving south from Rome on the A1 to our home. We see an interesting town high up on a mountain side in the distance. We use our iPhones to identify it and plot a course to it. After exploring the town we have a café at a bar or lunch in a small local restaurant. This is enjoying Italy and getting to know it.

Food and wine are a national pastime in Italy. Everyone is an expert. The truth is most food comes from farms in the vicinity, wines and olive oil are made locally.  The food is made from ancient recipes handed down over time. No-one cooks pasta as good as an Italians mom!

Hotels are for sleeping after a long day touring. You don’t need a resort type hotel. Pick local small hotels. We always prefer a room with its own bath (not all come this way). These small hotels are often family run. You get to know them as friends if you take the time.

Learn how to say some Italian phrases like Buon Giorno (Good day), Buona Sera (Good Evening – at sunset and beyond). Arrivederci (Good Bye) and Ciao (Hello and Good Bye). You might also want to ask How much? (Quanta Costa?). Jo Anne’s favorite is Quanta costa le Scarpe? (How much are the shoes?). Simply saying Buon Giorno to someone you pass will bring a smile and a Buon Giorno in return. Italy is a friendly place.

This brings us to How safe is Italy? Italy is very safe. There is almost no violent crime. There are pick pockets in large cities. Beware of you purses and wallets. Italians drive very fast so beware of cars speeding by you. We are never fearful walking around large cities like Rome. You are in Italy to learn and enjoy life. Just do it and enjoy a gelato.

Italy is the most romantic place on Earth!

Ciao,

George

 

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, BLOG, Bologna, Cafè, Capri, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, GPS, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Metro Travel, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Pasta, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Maratea, Italy

Maratea is in Basilicata Italy. It is the only part of Basilicata that touches the Tyrrhenian Sea. The city is high on a mountain and has a peak above it with one of the largest Christ crosses in the world. The road up is twists and turns and hangs off the mountain in spots. This city is wonderful to walk around. It has a great main piazza with a beautiful old fountain. The shops and restaurants are fantastic.

Come walk with us around romantic Maratea Basilicata, Italy.

– George

Categories: Basilicata, BLOG, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Maratea, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Ristorante, Romance, sea, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pisciotta, Italy

Pisciotta is a small mountain town in southern Campania. It is high above its marina on the sea. This town is very small but beautiful with only about 3,000 people living there. The views of the sea are amazing.We walked around this town from the main piazza up the many stairs to see the views. We were rewarded by discovering a wonderful restaurant with the most amazing views. The owner allowed us to come out on their balcony and photograph the sea. Later we returned for a magnificent romantic lunch. The people at the restaurant, I Tre Gufi (the three owls), were so friendly and the food and wine was delicious.

As we entered the town we found a parking garage but there were no ticket machines to pay for parking. We had to leave the garage and go to the main piazza to find a bar that sold parking tickets (biglietto). After placing the biglietto in the car we were free to explore. At lunch we realized our parking tickets were about to expire. As I prepared to go buy another ticket, a man told me not to worry, the police were eating lunch as well and would not be issuing parking tickets. Italy is all about basic human needs like food. We love it.

Click on the YouTube video below and walk around Pisciotta with us. If you enjoy it, LIKE and SUBSCRIBE on YouTube. Thank you…

– George

Categories: Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, BLOG, Campania, Driving in Italy, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Parking Garage, Parking Meters, Passegiata, Pisciotta, Ristorante, Romance, Small Towns, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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