Pizza Napoletana

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Which Pizza is the Best???

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Total Votes : 2

Pizza Napoletana

Post by Admin on Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:13 pm

New Haven Syle Pizza from Pepe's (below):


There are many types of pizzas. The major types are New Haven or Napolitana style, New York style, Cicilian style, Chicago Deep-Dish, Greek style, and all others. All others includes Californian, pizza hut & dominos type chain pizza, and the neighborhood local joints.

New Haven style pizza (Sally's below),

is the style of pizza made famous in New Haven, CT. It is really just original Napolitana style pizza in the U.S. The things that make it Napolitana or New Haven style are that it is made from simple ingredients, it must be cooked in a brick wood or coal fired oven (absolutely nothing else) and it is thin, crisp and charred underneath,


on top and on the edges.


This charring is what separates it from all the rest. Simply put, nothing compares to New Haven style pizza. It is in a class all by itself.

New York pizza (below),

is the style of pizza made in the five boroughs of New York city. Basically it is a shortcut or lesser version of New Haven style pizza. It is a bit thicker (although not thick) and it is not made in a coal fired brick oven. Don't scream what about Coney Island's Totono's because let's be honest, it really isn't typical New York pizza, it is Napolitana style and Lombardo's ain't making the same pies that once made it famous.

Greek pizza,

is the type of pizza found it Greek-owned "Italian" restaurants. How do you know if it is greek-owned, look at the menu and if you see items like Greek salads, gyros, buffalo wing, fries that is the dead giveaway. Sorry, but this is the stuff that has no business being on the menu of a real Italian restaurant or pizzaria. Greek pizza is made in a pan, not on the oven floor, and is thick, and the crust tastes and has a texture like stale wonder bread. Unlike New Haven style pizza, the dough is allowed to rise in a pan before cooking (a sin that thereby disqualifies it in my book). It is almost like a thinner Cicilian pizza. Speaking of Cicilian pizza, Cicilian pizza is just a very thick doughed pan pizza and it is NOT to be confused with Chicago or deep dish. Chicago pizza is pure and simple, a bastardization of pizza. It is really "pizza lasagna." That is not to say it is bad, it just ain't real pizza. In fact, everything in the "other" category ain't real pizza either!

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How to make Pizza Napolitana/New Haven style:


First, there are some rules about this style of pizza. Obviously most homeowners don't usually own brick coal-fire pizza ovens ovens so a substitute must be used. Right away this means we can't make the real thing and that is true, but we can come close. This all depends on how good your oven is and how well you stick to the following rules. Cheating or modifying is NOT an option. Modifying is how we got all those other pizza styles and we ain't making ANY of those here. We are making 100% pizza Napolitana.


The Rules:

Rule number one, to make up for not having a coal fired brick oven you must have a very good oven and a pizza stone. A good oven is one that either has convection and/or it gets really hot. Ya, they all say 550 degrees on them but that really doesn't mean much. The oven has to provide that high heat evenly to give us what we ant. Also, cooking on a pizza stone or ceramic or terracotta tile is a necessity. Absolutely no cooking on screens or pans. If you do (again) you are making the "other" types of pizza and not pizza napoletana. We are making the genuine article here and NOT a substitute. The reason that a good oven is necessary is that the texture and flavor of the crust is very important and it must be cooked very quickly and with extremely high heat. This is so the bottom of the pie and the edges of the crust get charred and give the pizza it's characteristic rich flavor like this small mozzarella pie from Sally's in New Haven.
Most people who eat pizza Napoletana for the first time look at it and immediately observe that it is burnt. They are the uninitiated. They must learn.


Second rule, absolutely NO SUGAR or OIL in the dough. I don't care what EVERY OTHER COOKBOOK IN THE MODERN WORLD SAYS, in the old world, no sugar or vegetable oil was used when making real bread or pizza dough. Vegetable oil changes the texture to something we don't want and sugar, no, not in this pizza dough. Don't even use vegetable oil to coat the surface do it doesn't stick to the bowl! Don't do it! It changes the crust to something we don't want.

Third rule is about sauce. DO NOT USE spaghetti sauce, marinara or anything of the like, really! What is used in authentic Napolitana pizza is simply a good quality imported (from Italy) canned plum tomatoes and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE.
Don't argue with this rule. Don't compromise with this rule. Don't substitute. Don't change a damn thing. Don't add salt or oregano or sugar or oil or even basil. No, don't do it! NO! We are making tomato pies not lasagna or anything else.

Fourth, you must use the highest temperature your oven has, PREHEAT IT WELL, and use the bottom shelf.

Dough:

1 & 1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons salt
enough flour to make the dough the proper consistency.

Put warm (not hot) water in a bowl, add the yeast, add 2 or three cups of flour and start mixing, then add the salt and enough flour so that the dough starts to not stick on the sides of the bowl and NOT MORE than that.
The dough needs to have moisture to taste good so the dough should be a tad bit sticky. This moist consistency also allows the dough to be patted (not tossed) into shape easily by hand and creates the old world texture of crust we want unlike, say Greek style pizza.

Let the dough rise to double in size, at least an hour but the longer the better, and if it expands more then double in size you must punch it down and briefly knead it a bit to get the air out and let it rise again. You can make the dough, bag it, and immediately put it in the fridge to use the next day or the day after is fine too.

Sauce:
Simply Italian imported canned whole plum tomatos and NOTHING ELSE. Just put them in a bowl and take your hands (and not a machine) and crush them by squeezing them in your fingers. That's it! If they have tough bits in them that don't crush very easily then you need to re-read the first sentence in this paragraph. I told you absolutely no substituting. Any cut corners in this recipe relegate it to something less.

Constructing the pizza:

Flatten the risen dough on a heavily dusted surface with your hands (or a roller) till VERY THIN. Any holes just pinch together. Place on a corn-mealed pizza peal.
Add the crushed tomatoes, then mozzarella, then additional toppings (like pepperoni, onions, or whatever you want) and top with Romano cheese and a liberal amount of olive oil, and immediately shuffle it into an oven and bake for 5-10 minutes at the oven's hottest setting. Let it cook till the edges are charred and not less.

Some other things:

About toppings, there is a general rule. Not too much!
Good pizza, like all Italian food, is about balance. Go light on the toppings, including the cheese. In fact, go light on EVERYTHING. Do not use more than one meat or one vegetable. Less is more here.

Clam Pie:

Follow same instructions above making the pizza dough and place it on a cornmealed pizza peel. Add FRESH chopped clams (about a pound per large pie) and chopped garlilc, and some Italian spices (oregano & basil), olive oil and Romano cheese. NO tomatoes and NO mozzarella. Bake.

Sure, there are some place that add mozz to their clam pies, but it just takes away from the flavor and texture of the clams. Don't do it.

Pizza Margarita:
Follow same recipe above making the dough and placing it on a cornmealed pizza peel. Add mozzarella first, thinly sliced tomatos, garlic, basil, olive oil and Romano cheese. Bake.

Fresh Tomato Pie:
Follow same recipe above making the dough and placing it on a cornmealed pizza peel. Add thinly sliced tomatos, garlic, basil, olive oil and Romano cheese. Bake.
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