There’s no denying that pizza has undergone countless reinventions and iterations over the course of its long and storied history. This includes anything from breakfast pizza to stuffed crust pizza and everything in between. However, despite all of the constant changes and adaptations, your taste buds may take solace in tradition, namely in the form of authentic Italian pizza.
Let’s establish one thing up front, contrary to popular belief, what is considered “authentic” is not exactly concrete or written law. However, in this blog, we’ll be taking pizza back to its roots and exploring what a traditional pizza entails. If that sounds interesting, keep reading below for more information!
The Origins of Pizza & Neapolitan Pizza
The effective birth of pizza is surrounded by argument and a stark lack of certainty, as historians can’t collectively confirm where or when modern pizza was invented. There’s evidence to support that its more primitive form, better described as “flatbreads”, were around as early as ancient times – consumed by the likes of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. However, pizza as we know it started to take shape around the 19th century in Naples, Italy, a southern city in Italy’s Campania region.
In Naples, a bustling port city, the working-class solicited the need for food that could be easily eaten with bare hands. Fortunately, they found fulfillment in early visions of what would later become modern pizza. The food was favored by the working class given how portable it was in addition to the fact that it was easy to afford.
Enter Neapolitan Pizza
Most would say that the story of Neapolitan pizza begins in 1889, where – according to legend – a visit from the Italian royalty to Naples popularized what would come to be known as Neapolitan pizza. When King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited the city, they took interest in an early form of pizza that sported the colors of the Italian flag. Though it’s unclear whether this was intentional or by coincidence, the pizza nonetheless represented green (basil), red (tomatoes), and white (cheese).
To this day, the recipe for Old World or Neapolitan pizza remains mostly the same. This begins with a simple dough of water, yeast, and a pinch of salt for added flavor. Once kneaded, the dough is topped with a sauce of crushed San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di Bufala (cheese made from buffalo’s milk), and basil to finish.
Looking For a Slice in Boston’s North End?
We’ve got you covered! Come on down to Rina’s Pizzeria and Cafe for a proper Neapolitan pizza, in addition to our other delicious menu items like paninis, salads, and pasta. We are located at 371 Hanover Street in the North End – we hope to see you here!