We filmed in at one of Naples oldest pizzerias, called Mattozzi. The place was heaving producing averaging some 300 pizzas per day. Paolo the son cooks most of the pizzas now, but his father Lello Matozzi has been on site for 50 years.
They stick to the basic Marinara and Margherita pizzas and the occasional Calzone with salami, and use only ingredients local to Naples. Tomatoes from Vesuvius, local Mozzarella, basil and olive oil all from the Campagnia region.
The basic dough is relatively simple and made from ‘00’ flour with only salt, water and yeast added. It is then left to prove for 8 hours. Its then rolled into large balls and left chilled for a further 1 hour, to re prove. The end result is a really soft pliable dough. Once ready, the dough is rolled by hand with all the traditional spinning and twisting.
The toppings for me were nothing like I have seem before, a very watery tomato passata, rather then a triple tomato paste, was topped with a little shredded Mozzarella, basil and very small amount of extra virgin olive oil, that’s it. Whilst we filmed an American gentleman arrived and asked Paolo if he could get a Hawaiian pizza. Paolo basically told him that all they do is the traditional pizza. The American argued with him, but only until Paolo told him to F…O…
- The Italians have been making flat bread since the stone-age.
- After tomatoes were brought to Europe by the conquistadors, Neapolitan peasants initially thought they were poisonous.
- Eventually in the 17th century they discovered tomatoes weren’t lethal and began adding it to bread dough and called this dish “Pizzaioli.” At the same time they began eating mozzarella.
- Tomatoes & mozzarella didn’t meet on a pizza until 1889 when Queen Margherita of Savoy ordered Raffaele Esposito, a Neapolitan pizza chef, to make a pizza for a royal party.
- In an act of patriotism, chef Esposito combined red tomatoes, white mozzarella and green basil to match the colors of the Italian flag. Not only was this pizza visually appealing but Pizza Margherita, as it was called, was a gastronomic hit.
The wood fired pizza oven here is never left to die out, and kept at a constant 450 Degrees C!!!!!! very, very hot!
Five pizzas will cook in, wait for it, 2 minutes, and for you non-believers, I timed it myself. The result was very good indeed, but if I had to gripe, the base was slightly soggy.
All in all a good film to make, great fun and well worth a visit.
Interestingly enough the pizza now a worldwide phenomenon, originally came from Naples and was invented in 1889 by a chef for a Royal visit.
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