Pizza Margherita is my 5 year old son’s favorite take out food and over time I decided to perfect the recipe and start making the pizza at home rather than constantly looking for pizza joints. The pizza dough can be made in advance in large quantities and frozen. Fresh tomato sauce and good mozzarella cheese make it particularly gourmet.
For the pizza dough:
4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (or substitute half for bread flour)
2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
For the pizza sauce:
1 1/4 cup of peeled and strained tomatoes
1 1/2 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs olive oil
fresh basil leaves
400g mozzarella cheese, sliced
Make the dough: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and knead for 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic. Form a ball, brush it with olive oil to prevent it from drying, cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise to double its size for 4 hours or in the fridge overnight. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, divide it in 4. Roll each piece in a smooth ball. If not using the same day, wrap the dough in plastic and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or at room temperature for at least 3 hours before using. If you are using the dough the same day, place the ball in a baking sheet 2 inches apart, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise a second time for about 1 hours.
Make the sauce: Combine all the ingredient together, mix well and let sit to allow the flavors to combine while you are rolling the pizza dough.
Preheat the oven to 250C/475F with a pizza stone inside for at least 20-30 minutes. A cast iron skillet works too.
Bake: Using a rolling pin roll each ball of dough into a 11-inch circle, spread a couple of tablespoons of sauce over it, top with mozzarella and bake on the stone until the crust turn golden around the edges and the mozzarella is melted and with a few brown spots.
Serve garnished with a few fresh basil leaves and pinch a freshly ground black pepper.
Wine suggestions: Pizza Margherita pairs nicely with Chardonnay, dry rosé or Grenache.