There’s no other Italian word known in the world better as “pizza”, this is, without doubt, our national dish. Personally I never met an Italian who doesn’t like pizza… at least the real italian pizza. I say real italian pizza because the diffusion of this dish around the world has meant that every country has customized the original recipe according to their tastes.
But, first of all, let’s jump back in the past to discover the origin of real italian pizza and some interesting curiosity. Someone wrote that pizza comes from ancient times, before the rise of Rome, and also before Etruscans. In my view, until pizza is mainly made of the same ingredients of loaf of bread it can be easy to derive it also to the ancient Egypt. But in truth there is no pizza without tomato, so it cannot have been a pizza before tomato’s plants began to be common in Italy.
The first diffusion, in late XVIII century, was around Napoli, where the poor people started to add some tomato juice (later “pommarola”) to the loaf of bread. Quickly pizza become the most traditional dish in Napoli and from there to all Italy, Tuscany included.
In Napoli they are very proud of their pizza, and they want to preserve its original recipe like a sacred ritual and with a lot of rules to respect, starting from the dough that is hardly influenced from the damp of air and from the limestone in the water etc etc. Furthermore, the most “talebans” of pizzamakers in Napoli say that there are only 2 kind of pizza: Marinara and Margherita, and that’s all they will serve to you. Also in Firenze there is some pizzeria like Caffé Italiano, that serve just pizza Margherita, Marinara o Napoletana. They say you don’t have to add ketchup, mayonnaise or whatever to pizza, or you will cover the original taste.
Infact, I saw many foreign people looking at a pizza Marinara, which is made just with tomato, garlic and oregano, like something was missing out, but I can ensure you Italian pizza Marinara is very good and it’s perfect to make you discover the “real” taste of pizza.
This type of pizza, Marinara, takes the name by use of Neapolitan sailors to eat it coming back from fishing in the early morning. Instead, Pizza Margherita is with tomato, mozzarella and basil and the legend told that a pizzamaker in Napoli created it in honor of the Queen of Italy Margherita di Savoia and the 3 ingredients remind to the Italian flag (green, withe, red). But this is just a legend because these ingredients were present in pizza many years before the visit of the queen. Pizza Napoletana adds to Margherita some anchovies and capers to make the flavour “perfect”.
In XX century almost all Italian regions added other ingredients, making new kinds of pizzas that are now also very common, like Capricciosa, Quattro Stagioni, Quattro Formaggi and so on… up to some pizzeria that offers 100 different kind of pizza!!
In Firenze if you want to try a good Neapolitan pizza, you can go to Caffé Italiano or to Pizzaman (they also have a school for pizzamakers). If you prefer the Sicilian pizza, you can go to Finisterrae (very good), but you also have to try the tuscanian pizza (more thin and a bit crispy) going to I Ghibellini or to Antica Porta.
While the original pizza has few ingredients, you can guess it’s not easy to make a good pizza, but there is no reason why we should not try. After all, with the recipe and our tips, and a little practice, you will impress your friends with your homemade real Italian pizza!
Pasta (4 pizza, 30 cm width):
• 600 ml of water
• 6 spoons of olive oil
• 2 teaspoons of suger
• 20 gr fine salt
• 25 gr brewer’s yeast
• 1 kg of flour
• 800 ml tomato puree
• 2 teaspoons of oregano
• 800 g. mozzarella cheese
• 24 salted capers
• 16 anchovy fillets in oil
• 4 spoons of olive oil
• Pour the flour into a bowl and form a hole in the middle.
• Dissolve yeast and sugar in a glass of water, mix well and pour into flour.
• Dissolve the salt in another glass of warm water, add the oil, stir and pour into the flour.
• Gradually stir the flour with water, pour the remaining water, mix a dough by hand.
• Form a dough ball, place it in a clean bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave for an hour.
• Make four pizzas of 30 cm diameter.
• Mix tomato puree, olive oil, oregano and a little salt in a bowl. Remember that capers and anchovies are already salty.
• Spread on the pizza the mix, lay slices of mozzarella cheese, anchovies and capers.
• Bake for 15 minutes in the oven, preheated to 250°.