Pizza is probably one of the most famous and appreciated dishes all over the world. The queen of pizzas is certainly the Neapolitan Margherita: simple, tasty and traditional. Pizza Margherita is prepared with healthy ingredients: flour, tomato, fiordilatte (mozzarella cheese), fresh basil, salt and extra virgin olive oil. This is a perfect mix of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals which make it a complete dish. But who knows the true story of this traditional Italian dish?
The origins of pizza are very ancient. In the Neolithic Age man already created simple “pizzas” using only flour and water. But we find the first traces of the real Neapolitan pizza in a treatise by Vincenzo Corrado who explained that the Neapolitans used to season pasta and pizza with tomato.
In 1889 chef Raffaele Esposito of the “Pizzeria di Pietro e basta così” prepared some pizzas to pay homage to the Queen Margherita of Savoy. For the occasion he prepared three different pizzas: the first one was based on lard, basil, pecorino and pepper, the second one contained tomato, anchovies, garlic, oregano and oil while the third one was seasoned with tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil. This new pizza contained the ingredients which had the same colors as the Italian flag. Tomato stood for the red color, mozzarella cheese for the white color and basil represented the green color. Queen Margherita, who had never eaten pizza before, appreciated the dishes and sent a letter which stated:
“I confirm that the three qualities of pizzas you packaged for Her Majesty the Queen were found very good.”
Esposito named the Queen’s most popular pizza “Pizza Margherita“, which would soon become the most famous dish in the world!
The authentic Neapolitan pizza is cooked in a wood oven and must be soft, fragrant and elastic. It must have a raised, swollen and burnt-free edge (the famous “cornicione“) and a rounded shape of about 35 centimeters in diameter.
Pizza Margherita is without a doubt a complete dish from a nutritional point of view. It supplies the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins in a single dish. There is no fiber but you can easily add it by eating a portion of salad or fruit in the same meal. As for the calorie intake, a medium Pizza Margherita provides about 800 calories.