As any Italian will tell you, a pizza shouldn’t be messed about with. I may have come across some of the most disgusting-sounding toppings in a pizzeria in the northern city of Turin (‘Irish pizza’ with stewed beef and potatoes, ‘Russian’ with caviar and vodka), but I’m pretty sure that was just for the tourists.
In fact the citizens of Naples, who are credited with inventing the pizza as we know it in 1889 in honour of the king’s wife, Margherita, secured official EU protected status for their pizza, to distinguish it from inferior imitations. For a pizza to be called Napoletana (Neopolitan), amongst other stipulations it must be topped with genuine buffalo mozzarella and the tastiest San Marzano tomatoes.
Not everyone’s content to keep it simple though. At New Year, my housemates and I tested two pizza recipes, pitching a Gordon Ramsay pizza against a reader’s. Both recipes were restrained on the toppings, much to my housemates’ disappointment. Where was the pepperoni?