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Neapolitan Pizza: The Original Pie
The pizza is believed to have originated as a savory, flat flour cake that was baked and eaten in Pompeii until the city’s fateful end in 79 A.D. Read on to learn more about the path pizza has taken to get to your plate.
Defined by its simple construction and carefully sourced ingredients, neapolitan pizza starts with dough made with soft italian flour, which is tossed and flattened into 10- to 12-inch-wide crusts. To make a traditional margherita pie, the pizzaioli will then brush on a thin layer of sauce, usually made from san marzano tomatoes. Crusts are then topped—sparingly enough to leave some sauce exposed—with broad basil leaves and rounds of buffalo mozzarella, which is made from the milk of the water buffalo that graze in the Campania region of Italy. After as little as two minutes in a super-heated wood-burning oven, the individually sized pizzas emerge piping hot and slightly charred along the crunchy, puffed-up edges of their crusts.
Though its signature pie diverges sharply from today’s standard American slice, Naples is actually considered to be the birthplace of all pizza. Adopted from the Greek word pitta—meaning cake—the dish supposedly originated in Pompeii. The pizza then spread to the nearby town of Neapolis, later known as Naples. It was there that, in 1830, the world’s first official pizzeria is believed to have opened its doors, serving up a “thin, crisp wheel of baked dough slightly bigger than a dinner plate,” according to the New York Times.