Pizza, queen of food
Neapolitan Pizza is maybe the meal that better represents the city. It is a disk made of pasta that is cooked in very hot ovens, which is stuffed with different ingredients. The true Neapolitan pizza must have two main characteristics: shape (thin at the center and tall on the borders) and it must be cooked in wood ovens. Today it's possible to taste pizzas with many ingredients, but the classical ones are Margherita, with tomato, olive oil, fresh basil and mozzarella, and Marinara, stuffed with tomato, oil, and oregano.
There is also a variety of pizza called a portafoglio (wallet-shaped), which is filled with oil, tomato, and basil and folded into four so that it can be easily eaten while walking. It is one of the oldest street food examples, which can be bought in every pizzeria in the historical center. You can also try the fried pizza, which is a pizza filled with ricotta and pork meat and then fried.
Mozzarella, the most imitated product in the world
When somebody talks about Napoli and Campania, they obviously refer to mozzarella as well. It is a dairy product, which takes its name from the typical shape that is cut off (mozzata) in order to divide one piece from another. Mozzarella is made with buffalo milk, meanwhile, Fiordilatte is made with cow milk. Furthermore, there is Provola, which is a smoked mozzarella.
All these products are considered as a second course and they are eaten separately, fresh made and accompanied by cold meats and vegetables. One of the typical Neapolitan and Campanian dishes is Caprese, which is made with mozzarella and tomato, cut and served with oil, salt, and basil.
Mozzarella, fiordilatte and provola can also be used to fill pizzas, pasta and other food, in order to make the dishes tastier.
Pasta specialties for all the greedy people
Pasta is the main course of Neapolitan cuisine, and it can't be missed on Neapolitan tables. For all the specialties of pasta, the durum wheat flour one is used (the most famous one is the pasta from Gragnano), which can keep very well the cooking. The typical dishes in Napoli are:
- pasta with potatoes, which has to be "azzeccata", meaning dry, enriched with provola or Parmigiano;
- ziti with ragù, a particular kind of pasta which is long, and it's cooked with tomato sauce and meat for over 5 hours;
- Genovese (even though the name comes from Genova, the pasta is typical of Napoli), which is made with meat and onions, that are cooked in the same pot for more than 4 hours;
- pasta with beans;
- omelet of pasta, which is a casserole made with pasta and whatever you have in the fridge, then fried in the boiling oil;
- and spaghetti with clams and seafood.
Second courses with meat, fish, and vegetables
The menu of second courses in Neapolitan cuisine is very rich, and it goes from fish to meat, but also "poor" dishes like vegetables. Among the meat specialties, you have to try the Tracchia, which is pork meat cooked in tomato sauce, that is then used to cook pasta. Another classic dish is Salsiccia e Friarielli, sausages with friarielli, that are a particular Neapolitan kind of broccoli.
Among the fish specialties, there's fried fish, or fish cooked with tomatoes and spices. There is also Polipetti alla luciana (octopuses in the "luciana way"), cooked with tomatoes or used for bruschetta.
Among dishes with vegetables, there is Parmigiana di Melanzane, that is a dish made with eggplants, that are first fried and put on different levels with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil, and then cooked in the oven. Another one is Gattò di patate, that is a pie made with mashed potatoes and filled with mozzarella, prosciutto cotto, Parmigiano and pepper.
Bread is good with everything
Bread must be on every Neapolitan table. In Campania, bread has its own cult, as it has to be bought fresh every day of the week, and it must accompany every meal of the day. There are many varieties, but the most popular one is the Pane Cafone: it is made with a mix of wheat flour and durum wheat flour. This mixture gives the bread more taste: it is very soft inside and very crunchy on the outside. Pane Cafone is cooked in wood ovens, just like pizza.
Panuozzo is another kind of bread that isn't eaten with other things, but as a separate dish: it is usually filled with many ingredients, and it is made with the same pasta as pizza.
A journey in the Neapolitan patisserie
The best of Neapolitan cuisine is expressed in patisserie because there are many desserts that can give flavor to your lunch or dinner.
The most known dessert is surely Babà, a soft dough filled with Rhum and sugar, cooked in the oven. Another one is Sfogliatella, invented in 1700 and it's still made with the traditional recipe: made of puff pastry base outside and filled with ricotta, vanilla, and orange. You have to try Caprese dessert as well, a cake made with chocolate and almonds, or Delizie al Limone, sponge cake filled with cream and bathed in Sorrento's limoncello.
During Christmas and Easter time, Struffoli and Pastiera must be on every table.