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In The Family
What Is Neapolitan-Style Pizza?

And why it’s so tricky to make right at home.

The Italian definition for Neapolitan pizza is both incredibly vague and neurotically specific. According to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, it must be made with high protein 0 or 00 flour, kneaded by hand, be topped only with buffalo mozzarella, Vesuvian-grown San Marzano tomatoes, and basil, and bake in a wood-burning oven for no longer than 90 seconds. Got it? Good.

Now if you want to be less dictatorial about the whole thing, the important requirements to keep in mind are a soft, tender crust that’s still a little wet in the center, lots of black blisters around the rim, and pure, delicious ingredients on top.

Most of that is achievable at home, save for one important ingredient—an oven that can reach the 900 degrees required to cook a moist dough into a crisp-bottomed pizza. Though you can search around the web for ways to hack the recipe at home, this is one dish you shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving to the pros.

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Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz is a food and travel writer for The New York Times, Saveur, GQ, New York magazine’s Grub Street, and other outlets. He’s also the coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook with Helen You.