Cooking

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

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

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

Capri, Italy

The Isle of Capri is a true place of beauty. This is why it became the playground of the rich and famous. Many people are confused by the isle’s name of Capri and the city of Capri on the Isle. The Isle has two main cities: Capri and Anacapri. This island is rugged with cliffs and a huge mountain near Anacapri. It has two beaches, the large and small beaches. The ferries drop you off at the large beach. There is a large marina there and porters will take your bags to your hotel. This is a great idea since you will be walking.

Once at the marina at the large beach you can take a bus up a windy road or a funicular up the hill to the center of Capri city.Take the funicular. it is fast and fun. At the top is the main piazza with its clock tower. In this area are many restaurants, bars, gelaterias and stores. Many of the small streets are alley like but take them and you will discover many interesting stores and shops.

So many tourists opt to come on a ferry in the morning and leave in the evening. This is the biggest mistake you can make! Stay at least one night. After the tourists have left, the locals come out. Be a local and enjoy life. This is what being an Italian in Italy is all about. Remember Italy is not a quest to visit as many places as you can in a week. It is about the food, the people, the life, the museums and the cities. You can not fully enjoy or understand Italy without sitting back in each city and being part of the life. Running through a city causes you to miss the life all together reducing Italy to just another tourist destination. Believe me, Italy is not just another tourist attraction!

Come walk with us through the cities of Capri and Anacapri and join us on a boat ride around the Isle. Be romantic in one of the most romantic places on Earth…

– George

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Firenze (Florence) Italy

We love Firenze! It is a big and beautiful city. It is Italy. It is the capital of art and architecture in Italy. From the duomo to the ponte vecchio to the views this is an interesting city.

Stop at a bar or small restaurant and enjoy life as it passes by you. Have a cafè, panini, gelato or a glass of wine as you observe life.

Come and walk with us in Firenze in our video below and see this wonderful city…

– George

Categories: Church, Cooking, David, Duomo, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Museums, Panini, Ponte Vecchio, Ristorante, Romance, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Florence, Italy

Florence is truly a city of art, beauty and intellect located in the Tuscany region of Italy. The Banking family, the Medici’s, Brought Florence, Italy and the rest of Europe out of the dark ages and into the Renaissance (14-17 century). This was the enlightened period of Michelangelo, da Vinci, Brunelleschi (architect), Raphael and many more. Humanitarianism, science, business and art prospered during this period.

Today you can see the architecture and art of Florence from that period. The beautiful Duomo with its baptistry and the famous Bronze doors created by Andrea Pisano. The works preserved in the Uffizi Museum are a must see.  The works of Michelangelo, including the beautiful statue of David, in the Galleria dell’Accademia is a must see as well. No visit to Florence is complete without a walk over the Ponte Vecchio.

This is a city with wonderful food, huge markets, more museums than you can visit and wonderful views. Come walk around Florence with us in our YouTube VLOG below. Click on the Play button below and visit Florence. See its wonders and plan a trip to Italy.

Be romantic and enjoy happy travels…

-George

 

Categories: Brunelleschi, Church, Cooking, David, Duomo, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Galleria dell'Accademia, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, Medici, Michelangelo, Museums, Planning a vacation, Ponte Vecchio, Raphael, Romance, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alberobello, Puglia, Italy

Alberobello is the best known and most touristy of the Trulli home cities. There is a large section that consists only of Trulli homes. The city is divided into two parts: 1) the main part of the city with its white buildings and the cathedral and 2) the Trulli section. The city is walkable as is the Trulli area. The Trulli area consists of small narrow streets that are pedestrian and moped only. This is a fairytale land worth spending time in.

Come see this enchanted city and walk with us through the Trulli homes. If you enjoy these VLOGs, please like it on YouTube and subscribe.

– George Febish

Categories: Adriatic Sea, Alberobello, Bari, Cooking, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Puglia, Shopping, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Italy and Health

Italy has one of the world’s most efficient healthcare systems. The World Health Organization  rates countries on their over all health. Italy’s healthcare system focuses on exercise, happiness and healthy food rather than drugs. The people of this country eat well and eat fresh organic produce that is grown or farmed near their own home. Fruit is seldom shipped but picked locally at the height of freshness and nutrients. It tastes better and is healthier for you.

The Healthiest Countries in the World

1. Singapore
2. Italy
3. Australia
4. Switzerland
5. Japan
6. Israel
7. Spain
8. Netherlands
9. Sweden
10. Germany

The Least Healthiest Countries in the World
1. Swaziland
2. Lesotho
3. Democratic Republic of Congo
4. Chad
5. Mozambique
6. Burundi
7. Malawi
8. Angola
9. Uganda
10. Cameroon

The USA was rated 33 on the least healthiest countries in the world.

We should take a lesson on this from Italy. Not only is it a country on everyone bucket list but it gives us a great example how to live a happy and healthy life.

George

 

Categories: Cafè, Cooking, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Fruit, General Travel, Health, Healthcare, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Ristorante, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Vegetables, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Reasons I Love Italy

Italy has a special place in my heart. I am not Italian but I did a lot of work there. I gained a respect and a love for the country, the people, the food and the wine. Italians seem happy with there life. They know what is important. Their families, their life , their food & wine are all very important to them. They have to work but it is not a important part of their lives. Walk any Italian city (big or small) and you will see the elderly and the young walking. They enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables. They love their cooking especially mamma’s cooking. Their coffee, wine, gelato and bread are a tradition to them. You can here them argue about how good or bad the pasta is at a restaurant. It will never be mamma’s pasta.IMG_3189
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As I walk through a city, I smell the cooking. I see the people outside all around me. I hear the language and the passion with which it is spoken. This is the Italy I so love. People are very friendly here. Just say Buon Giorno to a stranger and watch the smile appear and you will get a Buon Giorno back. If you are trying to speak the language remember there are informal and polite forms of speaking. The young are becoming less formal but the elderly still require a stranger to speak formally.

  • Come Sta – How are you (formal)
  • Come Stai – How are you (informal)
  • Ciao – Hello (informal)
  • Buon Giorno – Hello (Literally Good Morning – Formal)

Be respectful, smile and enjoy all that your senses are experiencing. I even enjoy seeing Italian laundry out to dry. No I don’t have a laundry fetish! I enjoy the colors and shapes against a backdrop of old buildings. It is one of my favorite photo op. In Italy you can buy a dryer but most people prefer the clean scent of drying their clothes outside.

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In the morning I enjoy being in the local bar for coffee and a cornetto. You are submerged in a group of Italians, all talking and quickly drinking their coffee and eating a small cake or cornetto.

sfogliatella IMG_2059

Cornetto

As you leave after breakfast, you are again engulfed in Italian life on the streets. Listen and watch how they talk and communicate with each other. Enjoy the scooters speeding by you. Take in the smells as you pass a restaurant. Later stop in a bar, pizzeria or trattoria for lunch. Bars are famous for eating standing up. It costs more to take a table. You will see Italians eating Panini (sandwiches) and drinking a beer or glass of wine. Between about 2 pm and 4 pm watch the Italian Passeggiata (walk). Families and friends stroll together to enjoy each others company.

Vino Volo IMG_2067 IMG_3057IMG_2985IMG_3178IMG_3122pizza

After your afternoon walking or visiting museums, look for a large piazza. Life really explodes in the Italian piazzas. You will find lots of bars and restaurants here as well. Pick a non touristy place for dinner. I always look for one with mostly Italians and few or no foreigners. You will have to eat late to see Italians as no one eats dinner early in Italy.

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Evening is my favorite time to walk, watch and have a gelato.

IMG_2071 Nocciola Gelato

Life here is much less stressful. Enjoy what you have and what you are. Be Italian for a short while.

George

 

Categories: Bars, Beer, Bread, Coffee, Cooking, cornetto, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Fruit, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italian language, Italy, Pizza, Trottoria, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tartufo Bianco

White truffles are a treasure from the Piedmont area of Italy. They are known for their therapeutic an aphrodisiac properties derived from the god Jupiter. In the Middle Ages, the discovery of white truffles was associated with the dance of witches. It was not until 1831 that the botanist Carlo Vittadini scientifically described and classified truffles in his book, Monographia tuberacearum. Alba is the best known city for these delicacies. Until you have eaten a white truffle you have not lived. No, you don’t eaten them by themselves but they are shaved or grated on eggs, pasta, risotto, meats, etc. They add flavor to a dish as a spice would. They are the second most expensive food in the world. Saffron is the most expensive by weight. Thank God you only need a small one and they do not weigh much.

To get one Fed Ex’ed to America will cost you around $100. They will last for a few days to a week at most. Italians use them on their dishes while they are fresh and store them in a jar full of risotto rice. The rice will eventually rob the truffle of its flavor. The good news is you now have a wonderful flavored rice to make risotto from.

Many countries, including America has tried to grow these wonders without much success. They grow like a mushroom on the roots of special Oak Trees. Since they are underground they are hard to find. Italians have used pigs to find them but pigs love them and usually win the fight. They now use special trained dogs to find them The dogs will not eat them leaving the farmer with his treasures.

Black truffles grow in more places and are the truffle used most in France. The white truffle is stronger and more of a treasure. To a person that has never tasted one, the smell is not a pleasant one. After you have eaten them the smell becomes an attraction. Don’t let your nose spoil a wonderful dish for you. Manga il tartufo bianco!

George

 

Categories: Alba, Cooking, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Truffles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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