Classic Margherita Pizza

Updated: Dec. 10, 2013.

Simple and delicious, Naples is famous for this classic tomato, basil and mozzarella pizza. Substitute fresh mozzarella or boccocini for the buffalo mozzarella.


INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough
2 3/4 to 3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

Assembly
Handful cornmeal
2/3 cup jarred tomato purée or tomato sauce
2 x (3.5 ounces) balls buffalo mozzarella, sliced
1 small bunch basil, leaves removed
Extra virgin olive oil
Hot pepper oil, to finish (optional)


PREPARATION

Pizza dough
In a large bowl, combine 2 3/4 cups flour and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, add warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir to combine. Let sit until yeast starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add yeast mixture to flour mixture. Stir or work with your hands until dough starts to form into a ball. Transfer to work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 to 8 minutes, adding more flour if dough is sticky.

Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover. Store in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Punch down dough. Cut in 1/2. Roll each piece into a 10-inch round.

Assembly
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. If desired, use a pizza stone and heat according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Sprinkle cornmeal onto 2 pizza pans. Alternatively, if baking pizza on pizza stone, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel so the pizza easily slides onto heated stone in the oven.

Top pizzas with tomato purée, cheese and basil. Drizzle with a little olive oil.

For best results, bake pizzas one at a time. Cook until crust is golden brown and crisp, and cheese is bubbly, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive or hot pepper oil.



Yield: Two 10-inch round pizzas.