Want a Margherita Pizza?

M. Pizza“Want a Margherita Pizza?” These words were uttered to me last Saturday by my daughter who is a slavish watcher of her weight. I know that the word lascivious is used to describe lust or lewdness, but that’s what happens to me when pizza is offered. I start to breathe hard and fast. The idea of pizza laced with alcohol, namely a Margherita, was more than appealing. Little did I know.

About 126 years ago, 28 years after the unification of Italy, Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I, visited Naples. In her honor, chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil).

They named it after the Queen – Pizza Margherita, but this pizza recipe can be traced back to at least 1866 where in his book, “Customs and Traditions of Naples”, Francesco DeBouchard describes the most popular pizza toppings of the time which included cheese and basil, often topped with slices of mozzarella. Whatever the real origins of this pizza recipe are, Raffaele Esposito’s version for Queen Margherita was the one that made it popular.

My daughter set this pizza in front of me after a laborious, shopping expedition and I was beyond disappointed. “Where’s the meat?” I pouted. I have to say that together with an ice cold bottle of beer, this had to be one of the best pizzas I’ve eaten, and I’m a card-carrying, sausage lover. Since then it has become a frozen pizza staple in my freezer. Its Marinara sauce, flavored with garlic and oregano—the mozzarella, fresh basil, and tomatoes are to die for. Because it lacks animal fat, it’s far easier to appreciate the other flavors.

No this isn’t a food blog, but you never know what will move you to write. Margherita Pizza may show up in one of my future plots. You never know.

See more at: http://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/pizza-margherita-history-and-recipe#sthash.NwTAlX11.dpuf

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