Pizza Margherita

Pizza MargheritaIngredients

1 pizza base:
Vine ripened tomatoes
150g mozzarella chopped
9 small basil leaves 1 tablespoon olive oil

Method

Scatter tomatoes and mozzarella over base. Cook in a hot oven (240 degrees, if using an indoor oven) for 2-3 minutes in a woodfired oven (12-15 minutes in kitchen oven).
Scatter with fresh basil leaves.
Tip: A grind of sea salt over a pizzas as it comes out of the oven makes the difference between “very good” and bellissimo!

History

Pizza began life as a fast food, eaten hot on the backstreets of Naples. Today
it is found all over the world. But it is still in Naples that skilled Pizzaioli use
wonderful local tomatoes, mozzarella and basil to produce the finest of pizzas.
A pizza has probably been around since the Greeks and Romans and many
regions developed their own versions. However, it is the pizza of Naples that
has come to be regarded as the true pizza.

The first Neapolitan pizzas were white, made with garlic, lard, salt and
anchovies. It was the tomato that was to transform the pizza and the
Neapolitans who were the first Europeans to embrace this new fruit,
successfully growing them from seeds brought from the New World. The first
tomato pizza was probably the classic marinara.

Pizza Margherita:

By the mid 19th century, pizzerias had opened in Naples and wandering
vendors sold slices to people on the streets. A way of life was born for the
Neapolitans and their pizza began to achieve wider notoriety, with visitors
venturing into poor neighbourhoods to sample this new food.
When Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889 she too wanted to try the
famous pizza. A pizzaiolo, Raffael Esposito, was summoned and created a
pizza of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil based on the colours of the Italian
flag. It was later named after her.

Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana:

The True Neapolitan Pizza Association has been set up to safeguard the pizza!
Their guidelines include that the dough must be made only from flour, yeast,
salt and water and not be worked by machine. Pizzas are to be cooked
directly on the floor of a brick or stone-lined woodfired oven and the
temperature must exceed 400 degrees Celsius. The cornicione (border) must
be high and soft and the whole crust not too crisp. A pizza should take only 2
minutes to cook and be brown and crispy with all the ingredients melted
together.