Monday, July 2, 2012

Margherita Pizza

I don't know about you, but I can eat pizza at any given time. I mean, it's the perfect meal, it's got the right amount of bread to fill you up and the endless combination of toppings keeps pizza interesting. Also, it's the perfect way to get rid of those pesky left over veggies you got from the farmer's market when you thought you'd have time to make a home-cooked meal every night that week. Even though pizza can be topped with any number of toppings, I prefer the basics, cheese, basil, tomatoes and tomato sauce,with just a sprinkling of crushed red pepper. The first time I had true Italian pizza was during the summer I studied abroad in France. I was lucky enough to go visit Italy, the home of all things saucy, cheesy, and carby. Ever since that first experience with true Italian Margherita pizza, I have been using Margherita pizza as my gauge to determine if a pizza place is worthy of a return trip. I mean, if the place can't even make a decent Margherita, then the pizzeria is definitely not worthy of my palate or the 20 minute wait time for my pizza to be ready.

Because Margherita is my favorite pizza, I decided that basil was the perfect herb to grow in my balcony garden...lucky for me, it's as easy to grow as it is to incorporate into a variety of dishes. So the basil that I used in the recipe below was grown by yours truly. Unfortunately, the tomatoes that I used was not as my tomatoes have yet to grow in.

The crust recipe below has been modified to make a herbed crust as opposed to the plain crust that is typically found on a Margherita pizza. This is my go-to crust recipe for when I want to re-create the carby goodness that is Italia. 

Margherita Pizza 

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust (recipe below)

Tomato Sauce (I use whatever pasta sauce I have on hand) 

5 Basil leaves -julienned 

1/2 of a Tomato - sliced

Turkey Pepperoni 

Mozzarella Cheese - shredded
Take the pizza dough and divide it into two balls to make two thin-crust 12-inch pizzas. I
bake my crusts in the oven for about 3 to 4 minutes before adding the sauce and toppings to get a more crispy crust. After the crusts are out of the oven, add the pizza sauce, pepperoni, basil, tomato and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and serve warm.

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust
recipe curtesy of (my changes in italics)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast 
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (I warm it in the microwave for about 30 seconds)
2 1/2 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt 

I also added:
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 teaspoon dried basil 
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and set aside for approximately 10 minutes.

Stir in flour, oil, salt, dried oregano, dried basil, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Stir until smooth and form into a ball with your hands. Use the last 2 teaspoons of olive oil to coat the ball of dough. Cover with a towel and let the dough sit in a warm place to rise. I usually let the dough rise for about 30 minutes even though the recipe only calls for 5 minutes of rest time. 

Divide the dough into two balls and stretch and pat it into a round pizza pan. I use two 12-inch pans so I can have two thin-crust pizzas but one pan may be used to get one pizza with a thicker, chewier crust.

1 comment:

  1. yummy! We love homemade pizza. I will try your pizza crust recipe next time. great pics everywhere!! great job!