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Pizza Margherita

The secret to a great pizza Margherita is to use the best ingredients you can find—and to approach them with restraint. (Just because a little cheese is good doesn't mean a lot will be better!) We always start with our all-time favorite pizza dough, adapted from chef Chris Bianco, of Pizzeria Bianco, in Phoenix. This slightly wet dough, in conjunction with a hot pizza stone, produces a crisp yet chewy crust, the perfect canvas for bright homemade tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and verdant basil leaves.

For, dough:

1

(1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast, (2 1/4 teaspoon)

1 3/4

cups

unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting

3/4

cup

warm water, divided

1

teaspoon

salt

1/2

tablespoon

olive oil

For, topping:

1

(14-to 15-ounces) can whole tomatoes in juice

2

large

garlic cloves, smashed

2

tablespoons

olive oil

4

basil leaves plus more for sprinkling

1/4

teaspoon

sugar

6

ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1

Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl and let stand until surface appears

2

creamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t appear creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.)

3

Add 1 1/4 cups flour, remaining 1/2 cup water, salt, and oil and stir until smooth. Stir in enough flour (1/4 to 1/3 cup) for dough to begin to pull away from side of bowl. (Dough will be slightly wet.)

4

Knead on a floured surface, lightly reflouring when dough becomes too sticky, until smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form into a ball, put in a bowl, and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place

5

at warm room temperature until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.

6

Make tomato sauce while dough rises:

7

Pulse tomatoes with juice in a blender briefly to make a chunky purée.

8

Cook garlic in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato purée, basil, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered,

9

stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and cool.

10

Heat pizza stone while dough rises:

11

At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put stone on oven rack in lower third of electric oven (or on floor of gas oven) and preheat oven to 500°F.

12

Shape dough:

13

Do not punch down. Dust dough with flour, then transfer to a parchment-lined pizza peel or large baking sheet. Pat out dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into a 14-inch

14

round, reflouring fingers if necessary.

15

Assemble pizza:

16

Spread sauce over dough, leaving a 1-inch border (there may be some sauce left over). Arrange cheese on top, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border.

17

Slide pizza on parchment onto pizza stone. Bake until dough is crisp and browned and cheese is golden and bubbling in spots, 13 to 16 minutes. Using peel or baking sheet, transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with some basil leaves before slicing.

18

Cooks' notes:

19

Dough can be allowed to rise slowly in the refrigerator (instead of in a warm place) for 1 day. Bring to room temperature before shaping.

20

Tomato sauce can be made 5 days ahead and chilled.

21

creamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t appear creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.)

22

Add 1 1/4 cups flour, remaining 1/2 cup water, salt, and oil and stir until smooth. Stir in enough flour (1/4 to 1/3 cup) for dough to begin to pull away from side of bowl. (Dough will be slightly wet.)

23

Knead on a floured surface, lightly reflouring when dough becomes too sticky, until smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form into a ball, put in a bowl, and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place

24

at warm room temperature until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.

25

Make tomato sauce while dough rises:

26

Pulse tomatoes with juice in a blender briefly to make a chunky purée.

27

Cook garlic in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato purée, basil, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered,

28

stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and cool.

29

Heat pizza stone while dough rises:

30

At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put stone on oven rack in lower third of electric oven (or on floor of gas oven) and preheat oven to 500°F.

31

Shape dough:

32

Do not punch down. Dust dough with flour, then transfer to a parchment-lined pizza peel or large baking sheet. Pat out dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into a 14-inch

33

round, reflouring fingers if necessary.

34

Assemble pizza:

35

Spread sauce over dough, leaving a 1-inch border (there may be some sauce left over). Arrange cheese on top, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border.

36

Slide pizza on parchment onto pizza stone. Bake until dough is crisp and browned and cheese is golden and bubbling in spots, 13 to 16 minutes. Using peel or baking sheet, transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with some basil leaves before slicing.

Servings: 6

Yield: 6 Servings

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/6 of a recipe (3.6 ounces).

Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients. 5 of the recipe's ingredients were not linked. These ingredients are not included in the recipe nutrition data.

Amount Per Serving

Calories

260.54

Calories From Fat (36%)

93.41

% Daily Value

Total Fat 10.62g

16%

Saturated Fat 3.72g

19%

Cholesterol 18.14mg

6%

Sodium 565.65mg

24%

Potassium 79.18mg

2%

Total Carbohydrates 29.47g

10%

Fiber 1.43g

6%

Sugar 0.59g

 

Protein 11.32g

23%

Tips

•Dough can be allowed to rise slowly in the refrigerator (instead of in a warm place) for 1 day. Bring to room temperature before shaping.•Tomato sauce can be made 5 days ahead and chilled.