Eat in, instead of out tonight! This recipe for Margherita Pizza will convince you that the best pizza is homemade. It comes together in a few minutes using a mixer, if you don’t want to deal with dough, buy a loaf of French bread and top the bread with sauce, cheese and fresh basil…literally dinner in minutes!
Takeout vs homemade Margherita Pizza
Dough for beginners
Sometimes more is not better, it’s just more…
Yield 2 - 12 inch pizzas
- pizza toppings (enough for 3 pizzas or one recipe of dough)
- olive oil, about 2 tablespoons per pizza
- 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 2 Roma or other tomatoes, sliced
- fresh basil leaves about 1/2 cup leaves
- fresh grated Parmesan, optional
- additional dried basil, oregano, sea salt and olive oil for topping after baking
- dough (makes 2-3 10 inch thin crust)
- 3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- sauce ( enough for 9 pizzas or a triple recipe of dough)
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree ( about 3 1/2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried or fresh 1/4 cup each: chopped basil, parsley and oregano
- 1 clove minced garlic
- pinch of sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prep work:
- About 1 hour before serving or one day ahead
- Make the dough and set aside to rise. If making several hours or a day ahead, store in fridge.
- Make the sauce and let simmer.
- /2 hour before cooking, preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- Make dough:
- Pour 3/4 cup warm water into small bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon sugar, to help yeast grow.
- Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, and salt in lightly greased bowl of food processor or the bowl of stand mixer.If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment until ready to knead.
- Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil; process or mix until dough forms a sticky ball.
- Slowly add remaining flour and knead in work bowl with dough hook.
- Knead dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoon if dough is very sticky, about 1 minute. Do not add too much flour.
- Turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. After dough has risen, punch down. Divide dough into 3 even balls of dough.
- Roll out dough according to recipe instructions. Start in center of dough, working outward toward edges. See notes on recipe for make ahead and storing instructions.
- for sauce:
- Pour sauce ingredients into medium saucepan: crushed tomatoes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, herbs, garlic, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until sauce is reduced to about 2 1/2 cups.
- Set aside until ready to use. Sauce keeps covered and chilled, 5 days.
- To assemble:
- Grease pan with cooking spray or sprinkle with cornmeal.
- After the dough has risen, split into 3 dough balls and roll each one out to a 10 inch circle and place on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.
- Drizzle dough with olive oil and spread with spoon.
- Spread prepared sauce onto crust, then top with mozzarella slices and tomato slices and fresh basil*.
- Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
- Place into hot oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes on bottom half of oven, or until cheese is melted and bottom of crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and top with fresh basil leaves, drizzle with additional olive oil, sprinkle with dried basil or oregano and lightly sprinkle with sea salt.
- Serve while hot.
-I like to cook some of the fresh basil on the pizza and then sprinkle additional fresh basil on the pizza after cooking. -The dough freezes well. I like to decide the dough into 2-3 balls of dough each recipe, pop into a Ziplock bag and freeze. If you are making the dough early in the day or the day or two before serving, no need to make balls of dough before refrigerating. Wrap dough in a gallon size Ziplock bag and squeeze the extra air out. Store in refrigerator up to two days. When ready to use, remove from refrigerator and let sit in bag on counter for an hour before serving, or roll out immediately and let sit for about 30 minutes before topping.-Farmers Markets are a great place to buy fresh basil and tomatoes for less than half the price at most grocery stores in the summer months. -Using a pizza stone will produce a crispier bottom crust. Highly recommended!