How to Cook Authentic Italian Pizza at Home
Did you know that you can make a truly authentic Italian pizza right in your own home? Skip the takeout tonight and use our tips on how to cook authentic Italian pizza to recreate the flavors of Italy for dinner tonight! Whether you like your pizza classic with just mozzarella or you love it topped off with all sorts of tasty ingredients, learning how to make your own authentic pizza at home is a wonderful treat your whole family will enjoy.
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The History of Italian Pizza
The true origins of pizza are hard to establish because mankind has been heating pizza-like slabs of dough and covering them with toppings since the time of the ancient Egyptians. But pizza as we know it, a flatbread covered in tomato sauce and cheese, originated from the city of Naples in Southern Italy. The first “pizzas” were just flatbreads covered with garlic, lard and salt but eventually cheese and aromatics were added to make them tastier.
It wasn’t until the 1840s that tomato sauce was added to pizza. By the end of the 19th century, pizza had become famous all over Italy and abroad. While many variations of pizza have been invented across the world, the most authentic will always be the Neapolitan pizza made with fresh tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella.
Must-have Ingredients to Make Your Own
Get the dough right
All you need is flour, yeast, water and salt to make a good pizza dough, but unfortunately it’s not that easy! Neapolitan pizza makers study their craft for years to perfect the best pizza dough, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t recreate a tasty, authentic crust right in your own home. Traditionally, Italian pizza dough is light and crispy and thicker around the edges (known as the cornicione). Find a good recipe and practice it until you recreate a pizza crust you love. If you really want to master your dough, consider investing in a small, portable pizza oven.
Use quality tomato sauce
Quality tomato sauce is an absolute must if you want to enjoy an authentic pizza. If you’re making your sauce from scratch, Italian plum tomatoes are considered to be the best, specifically San Marzano tomatoes. If you’re strapped for time, premade Italian passata will do the trick.
Choose fresh cheese
What would pizza be without hot, bubbling cheese? While traditionally pizza was made with Italian buffalo mozzarella, you can use any cheese with a good meltability. In fact, one of the most popular Italian pizzas is called “quattro formaggi”, literally “four cheeses”, and it’s made with cheeses such as gorgonzola, parmesan, provolone and fontina.
Have fun with toppings
The toppings are where your pizza truly comes alive with flavor. Despite what the most ardent food critics say, have fun topping your pizza with whatever ingredients you enjoy best! Here are some popular choices from Italy to draw inspiration from:
- Capricciosa: Olives, artichokes, ham, mushrooms, mozzarella, and tomato sauce
- Marinara: Olive oil, oregano, garlic, tomato sauce
- Funghi e salsiccia: Sausages, mushrooms, mozzarella and optional tomato sauce
- Diavola: Spicy cured meat, mozzarella, and tomato sauce