Margherita Pizza

Margherita pizza has the perfect blend of tangy tomatoes, rich mozzarella, and fresh basil atop a homemade, chewy crust. Bring the delight of Italian cooking into your own kitchen with this easy-to-follow recipe.

The Margherita pizza, with its origins steeped in the rich history of Naples, Italy, embodies simplicity and flavor in every bite. Imagine sinking your teeth into a slice of this classic Italian masterpiece: the thin, chewy crust crisped to perfection, the sweet-tangy punch of crushed tomatoes playing off the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth richness of mozzarella pearls. With each bite, the fragrance of fresh basil leaves heightens your senses, making the experience even more memorable. Now, picture recreating this culinary delight in the comfort of your own kitchen, ready to be shared and savored with your loved ones. Intrigued? Then let’s embark on this exciting journey of homemade Margherita pizza making, combining simple ingredients with easy steps to create a truly authentic Italian dining experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned?
Yes, you can. However, canned tomatoes tend to have a more concentrated flavor that suits pizza well.
What if I can’t find mozzarella pearls?
Regular mozzarella cheese can be used. Simply cut it into small, bite-sized pieces.
Can I add other toppings?
Traditionally, Margherita pizza only includes tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. However, you can always add your own favorite toppings for a personalized twist.
What types of flour can I use for making the dough?
The traditional choice for Italian pizza dough is Caputo Tipo 00 flour. This specially milled, superfine flour absorbs less liquid than all-purpose flour, creating a classic chewy crust. However, if you can’t find Tipo 00 flour, all-purpose or bread flour can also be used. These alternatives might result in a slightly different texture, but your pizza will still be delicious!
How can I recreate a pizza oven environment in my kitchen?
While most of us don’t have a traditional pizza oven at home, you can replicate the conditions using your regular oven and a pizza stone. Place the pizza stone on the center rack and preheat your oven to its highest setting, ideally 550 degrees Fahrenheit. When you’re ready to bake, slide your pizza onto the stone and change the oven setting to broil. This method creates both bottom and top heat, similar to a professional pizza oven. Keep a close eye on your pizza and let it bake until the toppings begin to brown.

A Note on Dietary Needs

When it comes to dietary needs and restrictions, Margherita pizza can be customized to a certain extent, but it’s essential to understand how these modifications might affect the final product.

For those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, substituting all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour might seem like the simplest solution. However, gluten-free baking involves more than just a straight swap of flours. Gluten gives pizza dough its elasticity and chewiness, and replicating these characteristics without it requires a unique combination of gluten-free flours and binders. As such, for the best results, we recommend finding a recipe specifically designed for gluten-free pizza dough.

Dairy substitutions, on the other hand, are more straightforward but can also affect the final taste and texture of the pizza. Plant-based mozzarella is a viable option for those on a dairy-free or vegan diet, but keep in mind that this substitution may not result in the same creamy, melt-in-your-mouth consistency that dairy-based mozzarella offers.

The flavor and texture of Margherita pizza heavily rely on the quality of its few ingredients, so when substituting, ensure you’re using the best alternative possible. Remember, the goal is to create a pizza that is not only compatible with your dietary needs but also one that delivers a delightful eating experience.

Overhead view of a whole, uncut, homemade margherita pizza.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

While Margherita pizza is best enjoyed fresh, leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the pizza in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling. Avoid using the microwave as it can make the crust soggy.

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups all-purpose or 00 flour

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Toppings:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces drained mozzarella pearls cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 to 10 basil leaves

Instructions

For the Pizza:

  1. Combine yeast, sugar, salt, water, olive oil, and 1 1/2 cups flour in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Knead on low until dough starts to form. Continue kneading until dough forms a soft ball and the sides of the bowl are clean. Add additional flour as necessary to achieve this texture.
  3. Dust dough with flour and place on a baking sheet or large tray. Cover and let rest for 4 to 5 hours.

To Bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. When ready to bake, roll the dough into a large circle and place on a pizza pan or a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal.
  3. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon olive oil over the dough. Spread the sauce across the top, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Evenly distribute the mozzarella pieces.
  4. Bake the pizza in the preheated oven on the pizza pan, or transfer it from the pizza peel to a pizza stone. Bake until toppings are warm, bubbly, and starting to brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  5. Remove the pizza from the oven. Tear the basil leaves and scatter them across the pizza.

Notes

Create your own pizza oven:

Place a pizza stone in the center rack of your oven and preheat to 550 degrees Fahrenheit (or as high as your oven will go). When ready to bake, slide the pizza onto the stone and close the oven. Change the oven setting to broil to create a top heat. Keep a close eye on your pizza and let bake until toppings begin to brown.

Nutrition

Serving: 1whole pizza crust | Calories: 1904kcal | Carbohydrates: 279g | Protein: 64g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 3211mg | Potassium: 849mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1197IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 683mg | Iron: 18mg
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