Why so small and with so few ingredients?

Because if Neapolitan-style pizza is about any one thing, it’s heat penetration. Crusts must be crispy and toasty on the bottom, which is a difficult effect to achieve if it goes onto the stone with much more on it than crushed tomatoes on the top. Toppings absorb heat, you see…heat the crust needs to bake up properly. Of course you could take the method to the extreme and wait to add your tomatoes, but in that case you get a crispy, bubbly top as well, one that’s difficult to apply sauce and toppings to. But as I said, experiment.

True Neapolitan pizzas are very thin and crispy on the bottom and rather moist and soft on the top, especially in the middle. This is of course the nature of a pizza that bakes up in only one minute’s time, and why Neapolitans eat pizza with a knife and fork versus by the slice. It’s just too floppy to pick up. And it gets increasingly so with the passage of time as moisture of the tomatoes starts to penetrate the crust. It’s the reason you won’t find much (if any) delivery at real brick oven pizza joints, because Neapolitan pizza is en ephemeral experience…it’s best when it’s straight from the oven.

Just after we moved here to Louisville I learned that there had been a brick oven pizzeria here, though it closed after only a few months in business. I couldn’t understand why until one day it hit me: delivery. They might not have had any, or if they did, people were probably receiving damp, cold pizza in a box. I can just imagine the reaction of someone who had never been exposed to Neapolitan pizza before. If this is real Italian I’ll take Papa John’s! Someday another brick oven pizzeria will probably open, maybe by then the folks here in town will be ready for it.

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