Introducing: Neapolitan Cuisine

What do you know about neapolitan cuisine?

Neapolitan cuisine was usually defined as essentially poor, as it was the everyday cuisine of the common people. The bourgeoisie and a considerable part of the aristocracy forced the common people to save on food to be able to afford to create meals that matched the popular Naples saying "ca si no pare brutto" which means “the food must taste great”. To make up for the bread, vegetables and modest condiment consumed for most of their meals, the Neapolitan common folk created with great passion rich cuisines during Easter, Christmas, Carnivals, Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms and Birthdays. They took inspiration from the sumptuous cuisine of the rich aristocrats and especially the reigning court of the time. These elaborations reached such extraordinary levels that it convinced the reigning houses to force the cooks to repeat such creations, oftentimes refining the recipes to produce meals that were of great value and superb workmanship.

Neapolitan pizza base

Pizza has always been recognized as one of the best creations of Neapolitan cuisine.The pizza creators used crushes made of water and different flours cooked on burning stones to reinforce the flavor of the few meats or vegetables that the common folk could afford to add in their meals. The genius of the Neapolitans was to cover the surface of the dough with the seasonings before cooking so that the dough could absorb the flavors and aromas of the seasonings themselves. Initially, they used lard, cheese and pepper. However, with the advent of the tomato, the pizza was tinged with bright colors and was ultimately wonderfully captivating. These creations got even better and ultimately, Chef Raffaele Esposito created the Pizza Margherita, which incorporated the colors of the Italian flag in honor of the Italian Queen, Queen Margherita Savoy.

What types of pasta do you know?

One of the basic components of Neapolitan cuisine, which was both popular with the common folk and the aristocrats, is pasta. It was so loved by Neapolitans that they earned the title of "mangiamaccheroni" due to the pictures featuring Neapolitans on the streets eating pasta with their bare hands. Pasta was introduced during the reign of Frederick II of Swabia at the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries from Sicily, thanks to the Arabs who had imported it mainly as vermicelli (itrya) in the eleventh century. With the introduction of tomatoes in the seventeenth century, pasta based meals experienced an explosive development. In fact, before the tomato advent, the Neapolitans were popularly known as "leaf eaters" for their predominant consumption of broccoli and vegetables.

What are the different types of pasta?

In the popular cuisine, pasta has a thousand combinations because the Neapolitans have been able to combine it with products obtained from the land and sea of Campania. Among the simplest and tastiest dishes are Vermecielle aie e uoglio (Vermicelli garlic and oil), Nemmicule cu' 'a pasta (Pasta with lentils), Tagliatelle a sapunariello (Tagliatelle oil and onion), Paternustielle 'nzogna e caso (Pasta with lard and cheese), Perciatelle cu' 'e friarelle (Bucatini with bitter broccoli), Lengue 'e passero a vongole e pummarole (Linguine alle vongole con pomodoro), Spavette e pesielle (Pasta con i piselli), Cicere e laganelle (Pasta e ceci), among others. There are those that are very popular, but have a long cooking time and require immense patience during preparation. These include; Pàccheri cu' 'o raù ra portiera (Schiaffoni with the famous Neapolitan ragout sauce) and Maccarune 'e zita cu' 'a genovese (Ziti alla genovese), which, despite its name, has nothing to do with the city of Genoa. Not to be underestimated are excellent soups such as Menesta 'e cicoria (chicory soup), Nemmicule e vurraccia (lentils and borage), and above all the complex Menesta 'mmaretata (marinated soup), made with scraps of meat and numerous vegetables.

Fish and Seafood

Famous meat and fish dishes include the Neapolitan Purpette (Polpette al pomodoro), Cerviellatine e friarielli (Luganeghe and bitter broccoli), Spezzatiello 'e carne (Spezzatino), Vrasciole a raù (Braciole al ragù), ammullecate (Anchovies with breadcrumbs), Fried 'e calamare e ranfele' and funnale (Fried calamari and scampi), Suté clams (Clam pan), 'Mpepata 'e muszze (Mussel soup), and Mussillo 'mbianco (Codfish in white), among others.

 Traditional Neapolitan food

Neapolitan bourgeois cuisine includes pastas such as Maccheroni alla "puttanesca", Maccheroni with 4 cheeses, Gnocchi with tomato sauce and mozzarella, Vermicelli with seafood, among others. The Neapolitan bourgeois soups include the Soup of zucchini, cacio and eggs, the Soup of season, among others. Famous among the timbales and rustic cakes are the Sartù of rice and the Omelette of "scàmmaro". The most famous fish dishes are the Polpetielli alla Luciana, the Baccalà in cassuola and the Spigola all'acqua pazza. The popular meat dishes include the Cotoletta alla Napoletana, fried meatloaf, Trippa al pomodoro and Carne alla glaze. Last but not least, the most celebrated vegetables include; Parmigiana di melanzane, the Peppers with capers, olives, stews and pine nuts, the stuffed Scarola, and so on.

Traditional Neapolitan Desserts

The most famous desserts include options such as Baba, Sfogliatelle ricce, Zeppole di San Giuseppe, and Scazzette di Cardinale. The court cuisine features a fusion of popular Neapolitan cuisine with the refined French. These include options such as; Maccheroni alla San Giovanni, Maccheroni alla Monteroduni, Maccheroni alla Campolattaro, Maccheroni alla Montglas, Sartù di riso alla Finanziera, Timballo Flammand, Turbante di Stoccafisso, Cupola di Crepes Duca di Cassano, Timpano alla Cardinale, Granatine Caracciolo di Castagneto, Medaglioni di vitello alla Conte, Uova alla Monachina, Cavolfiore del Principe, Charlotte di Castagne, and Bastione di mousse di arancio al Grand Marnier.

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