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Examining authentic Neapolitan pizza

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Writer Mary Ann Castronovo Fusco examines authentic Neapolitan pizza -- what goes into it, where you can get it, and how to try making your own -- in a recent article on i-Italy.org.

Fusco interviews Fred Mortari, co-owner of A Mano in Ridgewood, N.J., one of only three U.S. restaurants certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana and Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani to make certified Neapolitan-style pizza, according to the article. To make his perfect Neapolitan pie, Mortari says it's all about ingredients, technique and equipment.

Although Mortari uses a specially commissioned oven complete with a volcanic soil floor imported from Italy, he encourages Italophiles of all backgrounds to try making more authentic pizzas in their ovens at home.

"The secret is to use little yeast and to let the dough rise a very long time outside of refrigeration. The resting part is very important," said Mortari.

Other recommendations?

- Try cooking with a pizza stone, which is more effective at heating the pizza.

- Knead the dough by hand.

- Use freshly made mozzarella.

- Spring for Italian "00" flour, now often found at specialty food stores.

- Gently cook tomatoes in olive oil before putting them on the pizza and baking.

What are your favorite pizza-making techniques?