Naples and the Amalfi Coast: Pizza perfect

A new tome from the Italian food experts, the Silver Spoon, includes all things epicurean from the southern region of Campania

Italians are notorious for taking their food seriously, and perhaps even more so, are those from Naples, nestled in the region of Campania. This part of southern Italy was originally named by the Romans as campania felix (fertile countryside)– befitting for an area abundant in fruit and vegetables, from the apricots that grow on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius to the bittersweet San Marzano tomatoes that today provide the basis for much of the area's cuisine.

A comprehensive new tome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast – the latest addition to the series by Italian cookery experts, the Silver Spoon – takes a colourful tour through Campania, shedding light on the stories behind some of the most beloved local ingredients and the classic recipes, handed down through the generations, which make the most of them. Beyond the culinary delights, it offers a picturesque look at some of the most stunning areas, best discovered with a visit to one of the many varied food festivals that take place throughout the year.


(Image credit: Photography: Simon Bajada)

Perhaps Naples's most famous export is pizza, with Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, which opened its doors in 1830, widely believed to be the first dedicated pizzeria, following on from street vendors that originally peddled the savoury treat. It has, of course, multiple celebrations in its honour, most notably the nine-day Napoli Pizza Village that takes place in June. If you can't wait until then, try your hand at making it at home with the recipe below from the new book.

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Pizza Napoletana – Neapolitan pizza

Preparation time: 25 minutes plus 35 minutes rising time

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Makes 2 small pizzas or 1 large pizzaIngredients

For the pizza dough

1 envelope (7g) active dry yeast1 cup (240ml) warm water, plus more as needed2 1⁄3 cups (250g) 00 flour or sifted all-purpose (plain) flourPinch of saltOlive oil, for brushing the pan

For the topping

1 can (28 oz/ 795 g) San Marzano tomatoes, drained and seeded2 cloves garlic, thinly slicedPinch of saltOlive oil, for drizzlingDried oregano, for sprinkling


Make the pizza dough by dissolving the yeast in a little of the warm water in a bowl. Add five tbsps of the flour and mix well, adding more water if needed to turn the mixture into a paste. Leave to stand for 15–20 minutes.

Pile the remaining flour on a work surface and make a well in the centre. Add the salt and yeast mixture to the well and knead the mixture vigorously for about 2 minutes, adding the remaining warm water a little at a time to obtain a soft, supple dough. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, for about 20 minutes.

To make two small pizzas, grease two 8–9-inch (20–24 cm) pizza pans. Divide the dough into 2 balls and roll each out on a floured surface (or pan with damp hands) and line the pizza pans.

To make one large pizza, grease a 14–15-inch (35–38cm) pizza pan. Roll out or pat the whole ball of dough to fit it into the pizza pan.

Flatten the dough by hitting the surface with the palm of the hands until the dough covers the bottom of the pan(s), cover with a kitchen towel, and leave to rise in a warm place for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 475°F (250°C/gas mark 9).

For the topping, spread the tomatoes evenly over the surface of the dough and crush any large pieces with a fork or by hand. Add the garlic and salt and drizzle generously with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with oregano and bake until the crust is golden brown and crisp, around 8–10 minutes. Serve warm.

The Silver Spoon: Naples and the Amalfi Coast (£24.95, Phaidon);

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