In 1889, during a visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Italy was served a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). This kind of pizza has been named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita. And, it’s what I had for dinner tonight. Here’s how it is done.
Make the sauce:
- 1 large can San Marzano tomatoes including juice
- 3 large cloves garlic rough chopped
- 10 basil leaves
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Add all ingredients to food processor except the olive oil. Pulse several times until tomatoes are crushed but not pureed.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan on the stove until hot. Pour the tomato mixture into the hot oil and stand back because it splatters. If you have one of those splatter guards, have it at the ready.
The goal here is to cook the tomatoes, basil and garlic in the olive oil until it thickens the oil becomes one with the tomatoes. I reduced the heat and simmered the sauce slowly for about 30 minutes. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
Next make the pizza dough: You can use a prepared dough if you like or it is easy to make a home made dough.
- 1-1/4 oz. package active dry yeast (2-1/4 tsp.)
- 1-3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients into bread machine set on dough setting in th order recommended by the manufacturer. Mine calls for the wet ingredients and yeast to go in first followed by the flour and any other dry ingredients.
While the dough is rising prepare your toppings:
- 2 balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4″ slices
- 2 medium plum tomatoes, sliced very thin, dried out on a paper towel
- Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 tsp. dry oregano, crushed
- freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste
When the dough has risen and is ready to use generously coat your work surface with flour and/or cornmeal. I used only white cornmeal and it gave the crust a nice crisy edge. Work the dough into a large circle by stretching it. Make sure it slides well on the surface. For this pizzza you want a thin crust.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Assemble your pizza: At this point I coated a large pizza peel with cornmeal and transfered my pizza dough to the peel. It will be easier to slide the pizza off the peel onto the oven rack. If you don’t have a pizza peel, try using a cookie sheet without edges and parchment paper. Do not cook on the pacrhment, just use it to slide the pizza off onto the oven rack.
Assemble by adding a layer of sauce first, followed by the grated parmesan cheese, the mozzarella, basil leaves and fresh tomatoes. Dust top with crushed oregano and salt and pepper.
Slide the pizza directly onto the oven rack (or a pizza pan if you must) and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove the pizza from the oven with a pizza peel and place on cutting board. Allow it to cool slightly before slicing. Here’s my slice. You’ll have to make your own!
While you’re at it, go ahead and make your hubby his own personal size pepperoni pizza. The same sauce is wonderful. Just add grated regular mozzarella and pepperoni slices. It’s a greasy, glorious mess.