The best place to get authentic Neapolitan pizza is Naples, Italy.
However, it may not be possible for you to go to Italy on your private jet and take a bite of freshly cooked pizza made in stone-fired ovens-unless you are Pete and want to impress Monica! So, Pizza Bien brings Naples to your dinner table with some of the best varieties of authentic Neapolitan pizza directly from Italian ovens.
Before you start ordering our all-natural authentic pizza, let’s take a look at why those pies from Naples are so special.
What is Neapolitan Pizza?
Neapolitan pizza, or Pizza Napoletana, is called in Naples, Italy, where the pizza style originated. The simplicity and freshness of this dish are what makes Neapolitan pizzas so popular: a basic dough with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil; no fancy toppings allowed!
One defining characteristic is that you will find more sauce than cheese. And so these pies often have wetter centers which means they're not for eating by-the-slice like other types of pizzas. Typical Neapolitan pizzas are 11”-12” in diameter, making them a large size.
Neapolitan Pizza History: Bridging Europe and America
By bringing Naples to your kitchen, Pizza Bien connects your pallets with Italy’s century-old craftsmanship. However, the history of Neapolitan pizza had already associated South America with Europe since the 16th Century.
You might be surprised to find that this famous American staple - pizza, was invented in Italy! The dish’s origins are traced back centuries ago when European explorers first brought over tomatoes from Peru in the 16th century.
When poor Napolitan peasants began topping their flatbread with the tomato-based sauce and cheese for sustenance as a food of last resort, it became an instant hit among locals and visitors alike. So much so that many travelers would even seek out more impoverished neighborhoods just to try some authentic Neapolitan cooking!
To Be Called Neapolitan, Certification is Required
Yes, it’s true. A pizza needs to meet specific criteria to be called an authentic Neapolitan pizza. Don’t worry; your favorite Pizza Bien pizzas have already fulfilled them all. The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) was founded in 1984 and is a world-renowned organization that certifies pizzerias around the globe.
To be certified by VPN, restaurants must meet stringent requirements such as using only certain types of flour, tomatoes from specific areas in Italy or Spain, Italian spices like oregano, or salt imported from Pompeii.
Neapolitan pizzas are also cooked at very high temperatures (800 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit) for no more than 90 seconds. The intense heat seals the dough and produces a perfect crust with an edge that slightly blisters but does not char or burn.
Currently, VPN has an American branch with fewer than 500 member locations worldwide.
Requirements For An Authentic Neapolitan Pizza?
To be considered authentic to the recipe, there are many requirements, such as using Italian Type 0 or 00 wheat flour and fresh brewer’s yeast which you cannot substitute with dry yeast. The dough needs to be kneaded by hand without any help from rolling pins or other mechanical devices. These ingredients combined will produce a fantastic dish that has never failed its fans!
Using highly refined Italian Type-0 Wheat Flour can yield you some delicious results since it brings out flavors better than other regular flour.
The Neapolitan pizza is the perfect embodiment of a traditional Italian dish. The dough, made from high-quality flour and water, topped with pureed San Marzano tomatoes from Italy’s Campania region before being baked to perfection in an oven heated at 800 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit for just 90 seconds!
Then on top, you have two types of mozzarella cheese: one is fior di latte made out of cow’s milk, and the other is mozzarella di Bufala made out of water buffalo milk (typically raised in Italy's Campania marshlands). Finally, topping off this incredible masterpiece? Nothing better than basil leaves sprinkled atop each.
Variations of Neapolitan Pizza
There are three variations of authentic Neapolitan pizza certified by the VPN worldwide. All of them are equally tasty but distinctly diversified in flavor.
This is perhaps the most classic version of Neapolitan pizza around the globe. All you need is a thin crust topped with sliced mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.
Marinara is the no-cheese version of Neapolitan pizza. The typical marinara pizza comes with garlic, tomatoes, oregano, and extra-virgin olive oil. The flavor is more robust than the Margherita and other conventional pizzas.
Pizza Margherita Extra
The main difference between this ‘extra’ and the original margarita is the amount and type of cheese. Unlike typical Margherita, pizza makers use more cheese and only pick the mozzarella di Bufala for a creamier and softer flavor.
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