Cheese

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

The Wonderful Foods of Italy

There is a lot to say about the food of Italy and its all good. Except for very touristy places, the food is fresh, well prepared and delicious. Italians love their food and so does the rest of the world. You may think you know Italian cooking because you eat in Italian restaurants in England or America or your parents were Italian but it is not the same as what is served in Italy.

Italy’s restaurants serve local fresh foods usually organic. The dishes are simple but extremely tasty. It may be a simply cooked meat or fish over a grill fire or a pasta cooked al dente with a wonderful sauce or fresh vegetables. You can eat well in any non touristy ristorante or Trattoria. These places pride themselves in the food they prepare and serve.

Come with us as we talk about the different foods around Italy. It is not just pasta and pizza. Our YouTube video below explores these wonderful foods.

 

– George J Febish

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Bars, Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Cave Restaurant, Cheese, cornetto, Dolce, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Florence, Food, Fruit, Gelato, General Travel, Grotta Palazzese, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lemoncello, Limoncello, Marina Casal Velino, Naples, Palinuro, Pasta, Pastry, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Pizza, Positano, Prosecco, Puglia, Regions of Italy, Risotto, Ristorante, San Gimignano, Southern Italy, Sweets, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Truffles, Umbria, Vegetables, VLOG, White Truffles, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Bari, Italy

Bari is a seaport city on the Adriatic Sea. It has a beautiful old town. As you enter Bari, it’s a large city. as you approach the old section, which is on the sea, you must park in lots at the edge of the old section and walk in. This area is pedestrian and Vespa only. The streets are narrow and wind around. It is easy to get lost but we used GPS on our phones to find our hotel.

Once we found the hotel, we were surprised to see it was closed until 4 pm. We had to walk our suitcases back out to the car. Then we explored and had some lunch. The city has a wonderful Piazza in the old section which comes to life at night. There are great restaurants here that can get very crowded.

After a good exploration, some lunch and some Limoncello, we retrieved out bags and headed for the hotel again. The owners of the hotel also owned a small restaurant across from the hotel. They gave us a plate of cheese and bread.

That evening we tried a restaurant in the Piazza and was rewarded with a great meal and a show of Italians parading by. This is what we love about Italy. Don’t rush! Don’t have a tight agenda! Visit a few places but get to know them well. Enjoy the local foods and wines. Observe the locals. Enjoy life more and be less stressed! This is Italy!

…Most of all be romantic!…

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– George

Categories: Adriatic Sea, Bari, Beaches, Bread, Cheese, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, GPS, Hotels, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lemoncello, Limoncello, Puglia, Ristorante, Romance, sea, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bufala Mozzarella

Bufala Mozzarella is a cheese made from the milk of the Italian water buffalo. It is a product of Italy, in the region of Campania and mainly from the provinces of Caserta and Salerno. It is a fresh delicious cheese that is soft and milky. It is typically stored in water to keep it fresh. It is never refrigerated. We have a home in the province of Salerno so there is a lot of Bufala Mozzarella around us. Along the road from the A3 Autostrada to Agropoli there are many places that make it. In every town there is someone who sells it.

IMG_2471 IMG_3057 Naples Pizza Bufala Mozzarrella

This is the way mozzarella cheese was meant to be. If you are in Campania, try it. Feel the softness of its texture, taste the flavor and enjoy a really great cheese. We love it with fresh picked tomatoes and a little olive oil but on a panini (sandwich) it is also great. It is one of the many things we look forward to when we arrive back in this region of Italy. It is the main these of Naples in Campania and is used on pizza in this region.

George

 

Categories: Agropoli, Campania, Caserta, Cheese, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Naples, Salerno, Southern Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why you really want to spend a night in Capri

Most tourists take a ferry from Naples, Sorrento or Positano to the Isle of Capri. They spend a day mostly waiting to get into the Blue Grotto and then return by ferry in the evening. This is a big mistake! After all these tourists leave, the natives of Capri come out. The streets of Capri City are much less crowded. You can enjoy your stroll without being knocked about by tourists. The island and the city become magical. The lighting is perfect for photographers. Restaurants gear up for the evening meal. Bars await customers looking for a drink.

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We had found a few small (alley like) streets off the main piazza. They had stores and restaurants. One store made custom sandals. You are measured one day and can pick up your shoes the next day. There were also small grocery stores. We decided to spend one evening eating at our hotel. We were able to get a bottle of wine, cheese, bread, olives and chocolate at one such shop. Our hotel with the fabulous view became a romantic restaurant for the evening. We dined on our private balcony overlooking Capri and the sea.

We tend not to like places were a lot of tourists gather. But these small streets were a real find. They are cooler in the summer, have fewer people on them and offer small cheaper shops that normally do not cater to the tourists. It would seem that tourists like to stick to the main piazza and streets. They shy away from small streets. Their loss!

Go to Capri and be romantic. Stay an evening or more. Make the island your island. If it is a special occasion, spend the extra money and stay at Villa Brunella. You pay once but will remember it for the rest of your life.

B-Capri ad B-Capri de

George

 

Categories: Bars, Blue Grotto, Bread, Campania, Capri, Cheese, Chocolate, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Ferries, Food, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Naples, Positano, Romance, Sorrento, Traveling without a tour, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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