What is Neapolitan Pizza and how did it develop?
True Neapolitan pizza was developed in the late 1600s in Naples, Italy. The pizza began as a poor mans food, on merely a flat bread with very few toppings (such as oil and garlic) that street vendors would pedal through the city of Naples. Over the centuries, flat breads slightly evolved and a few more toppings were added. But the simplicity of the pizzas, and the way they are cooked remains the same.
At il Lazzarone, our wood fired ovens are Acunto Marios, made on the main street of Naples, Italy by a fifth generation oven builder. Why this oven? For true Neapolitan pizza you must have a wood fired oven capable of achieving over 800 degrees constant temperatures. The mouth of the oven and the oven dome height must all be constructed within specific ratios to achieve a true pizza Napoletana. Our oven is constructed of all hand laid brick made from the soils of the Campania region of Italy. In our opinion, there is absolutely no oven in the world capable of producing a better product. We are very lucky to have received the first one imported into America which is in use at our Saint Joseph location.
Neapolitan pies are traditionally 11 inches round. For an average appetite, you’ll likely want one pie per person.
Due to the extreme temperatures and the craftsmanship of the oven, the pizza will cook between 50-90 seconds.
Less is more. A good Neapolitan pie is minimally topped with the freshest natural ingredients to strike the perfect ratio of flavor.
The dough is made simply of water, flour, yeast and salt with no added preservatives or additives
San Marzano tomatoes are a very rare tomato native to Italy. At il Lazzarone, we use only DOP certified San Marzano tomatoes which ensures the tomatoes have been grown in a specific historical region outside of Naples. The magic of the San Marzano comes from the soil which they are grown in. These specific tomatoes are considered the richest and sweetest in the world and are grown around the base of Mt. Vesuvius in a soil extremely rich in minerals. This very soil is where the material for the oven is harvested and made into bricks for our oven’s hearth and dome, creating a symbiotic relationship between ingredient and oven.
Our flour is a 00 flour which holds an 11.2% protein ratio. This 00 flour refers to the size of the mill. 00 is the finest mill on earth and creates a soft silky crust. 00 grade flour is also a requirement for true Neapolitan pizza.
For our cheese, we hold true to Neapolitan standards as well using only fior de late (fresh mozzarella) or mozzarella de bufala. All of or cheese hold true to the artisan roots of old and are completely hormone free.
Also due to the high temperature cook time, the crust has a slight charring on bottom and edges characteristic to Neapolitan pizza giving it another depth of flavor and texture.
Wet or Soupy
Unlike typical American pizza, a delicious pool of flavor forms in the middle of a Neapolitan pie during its short time in the oven making it what one might call wet or “soupy”.
Knife and Fork
As to not disrupt the “soupy” middle (thereby making the crust soggy on the way to the table) these pies are meant to be served whole, uncut, and eaten with a knife and fork. While we automatically slice each pizza in fours, feel free to eat it most authentically and request your pizza unsliced!