Covid-19 and quarantine literally drove us crazy! It has been a strange period, full of deep changes. Officials have asked us NOT to do things and Not to go anywhere. So, there was just one thing left to do: cooking, cooking and cooking! According to statistics, in Italy, the most googled recipe was for home made pizza. Here you have it!
Covid-19 and quarantine: when your house is not home
It has already been almost two years, since the government announced a new global pandemic: Covid-19 was spreading all over the world! All of a sudden, our lives changed. “You cannot do this, you cannot do that. You cannot go there either”. One day, everything was absolutely normal and the next day, all of our freedoms had vanished.
Being at home has never been that hard. Usually, after a long day working, all we want is to go back at our place, to relax and why not, a glass full of wine. What a strange feeling when you hate being at home, because that house does not feel like home. It gets more and more like a prison, a trap you cannot escape. Four walls are no longer enough. The first days looked like holidays: no work, no responsibilities, no duties. Just your comfortable sofa and your favourite TV show.
As the days go by, it always got more complicated and harder to stand. So, many of us, thought that best way to make these new “prisons” more welcoming, was to start cooking new dishes. Statistics show that many Italians google the recipe for home made pizza. But first, let’s have a look at its history!
Pizza: the Italian emblem!
Pasta and pizza are probably the best known Italian dishes. But, if we think about pizza, we find out that it is actually something really simple: a rounded mixture of oil, flour, water, yeast and salt, with some ingredients on the top (no, pineapple is not one of them!). According to this definition, we can state that even ancient people used to make pizza. 5000 years ago, in Sardinia, people knew how to use yeast and for that reason we can imagine they had something pretty similar to our pizza. Even other cultures used to bake these flatbreads. It is not hard to imagine the reason why so many people from different parts of Europe used to have this meal: it is easy to make, quick and cheap! Moreover, the Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing grains, the main ingredient!
Still, the options above are just similar to the real pizza. According to the tradition, the very first pizza is from Naples, during the 16th century. This pizza was called Mastunicola and it contained ingredients such as: lard, cigoli, sheep’s cheese, pepper and basil. During the following centuries, people from Naples kept experimenting and making different variations, using different ingredients and modes of cooking.
But, who is THE inventor of pizza? The tradition crowns Raffaele Esposito. It was the year 1889, when he dedicated a pizza to Queen Margherita of Savoia: for this reason, Pizza Margherita is the most famous one! It was pretty simple! Esposito just used some tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. The ingredients link to the colours of the Italian flag: green, white and red. The phenomenon of pizza became viral quite soon: from the very beginning of the XX century, special restaurants, called “Pizzerie” started to appear outside Naples too!
We have gone through the history of pizza but now let’s have a look at the recipe!
Home made pizza: the recipe!
Here you finally have the recipe for the best home made pizza ever! Follow the steps and you will amaze all of your friends!
- 500 gr of flour
- 100 gr of water
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- salt at taste
- 15 gr of beer yeast
- 400 gr of tomato sauce
- 300 gr of mozzarella
- 6 leaves of basil
First, you want to take a bowl and pour the flour into it. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and salt. Combine the bear yeast with 50 grams of warm water. Add a teaspoon of sugar, if you want: it will help the fermentation process. Once the yeast is ready, pour it in the big bowl and give it a mix. Whilst mixing, keep pouring the rest of the warm water. Keep kneading with your hands, don’t be shy! When the mixture is elastic and soft, put it on a floured top and keep kneading for at least 10 minutes. Shape the mixture as a ball and put it back in an oiled bowl. Cover it with transparent film and let it sit for 2 hours.
In the meantime, take a pan and add some oil. Once it is hot enough, add the tomato sauce and let it boil for 2 hours over low heat. Add salt to taste and a teaspoon of sugar: it will counteract the acid in the tomato. If you are getting bored, have a beer or look for other recipes (here you have the one for Spaghetti with meatballs)! After 2 hours, switch off the gas and put the mixture back on a floured board. Knead it again for 5 minutes, then take an oiled tray and roll out the dough with your hands. Add the tomato sauce, some oil and salt at taste. Let it rest for 1 hour and a half. While you wait, cut the mozzarella in pieces: not too small or it will get burned!
Cook your pizza for ten minutes at 180°, then take it off the oven: add the pieces of mozzarella at put it back in for another 10 minutes. Now, your pizza is finally ready! Decorate with some basil leaves and … Buon Appetito!