Friday, March 12, 2010

Pizza Margherita

In Italy they know how to do pizza. I regularly ordered Pizza Margherita while we traveled.  I love it. I love that they don't really use sauce on pizza like we do. They use crushed tomatoes instead. It's delicious! Pizza Margherita was my favorite, while Pizza Quarto Stagione (4 seasons) was Austin's.
This was my first time making pizza dough. I think it turned out pretty good.  I could really use some practice stretching it out for a pizza. Let's just say my pizzas were more rectangular than round. The recipe I used yields 4 dough balls.  We used two for dinner. I checked in with a friend to see if I can freeze the other balls. She said I could and told me sometimes she makes calzones with the dough and the freezes the calazone.  What a great idea! I'll have to try it.

The pizzas were delicious! The dough was great and the toppings were delicious. Fresh basil on a pizza really takes it to a new level and using the crushed tomatoes reminds me how much I prefer pizza this way than with our American sauce.

Pizza Margherita
Adapted from Food and Wine
Printable Recipe
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (or whole)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds mozzarella, thinly sliced
32 large basil leaves, torn into pieces

1. Dough: In a large bowl, mix the yeast with 1/2 cup of the warm water and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 4 cups of flour and kosher salt. Stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and brush with olive oil so dough is coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Rub each ball with oil. Cover the balls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place for 1 hour.

3. Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in the oregano and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. On a lightly floured surface, stretch one ball of dough into a 13-inch round; transfer to round baking sheet. Spread 1/4th of the ingredients on dough. Drizzle with 1 Tbs olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper. Bake until the bottom is charred and the cheese is melted, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter one-fourth of the basil on top and let stand for 3 minutes before serving. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.

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