Best Homemade Margherita Pizza Recipe
Italy is home to many of the world’s best dishes. And while pasta and risottos may have won quite a few hearts, Margherita pizza is what has taken over the entire world! From American to Indians, everyone has been charmed by this Neapolitan pizza.
Now, we have Italian as well as local restaurants serving a variety of pizzas. Margherita too is one of them. However, the best part is that restaurant-style, homemade Margherita pizza can be made using the simplest of ingredients! So, quickly grab a notebook and pen so we can get this pizza party started!
What’s on a Margherita Pizza?
Before we start, we should have a basic idea of what goes on a Margherita pizza. A traditional Margherita pizza will have a healthy dose of mozzarella or buffalo cheese, some fresh tomato sauce, basil leaves, and few other simple ingredients, that pair together beautifully to give your mouth a heavenly experience!
The freshness and burst of flavor from the pizza are enough to make anyone’s mouth water. And the ingredients which contribute to the incredible taste of the dish are:
- Garlic 4 cloves
- Diced tomatoes 1 (14.5 ounces) can
- Balsamic vinegar 1 tsp
- Olive oil 2 tbsp
- Granulated sugar 1 tsp
- Salt ¾ tsp
- Ground black pepper 1/8 tsp
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- Pizza dough (room temperature for 1 hour) 1 pound
- All-purpose flour dusting
- Finely Ground cornmeal dusting
- Extra Virgin olive oil (divided) 2 tbsp
- Fresh basil leaves (sliced, divided) ¼ cup
- Mozzarella cheese (divided, sliced) 8 ounces
- Parmesan cheese (grated, divided) ¼ cup
How to Make Margherita Pizza?
Here are the steps to this easy Margherita pizza recipe:
- Preheating the oven
In the bottom third of the oven, place one of the racks. Grab a heavy-rimmed baking sheet and flip it to an upside-down position. Now, this baking sheet would go inside the oven, on the rack. Once the sheet is inside, turn the temperature to 450°F and let it preheat.
- Preparing the Margherita pizza sauce
At first, affix the blade attachment to your food processor, dumping the garlic cloves inside. Using a maximum of 2 to 3 pulses, have the garlic cloves chopped into a few large chunks.
With that done, proceed to throw in the rest of the sauce ingredients – the tomatoes and their juice, sugar, salt, vinegar, olive oil, and pepper – inside the food processor. After that, work the machine until the tomatoes have reached a puree-like consistency or one that you prefer to use on the pizza. Processing the tomatoes should take no longer than 20 to 30 seconds. Keep it separately for later use.
- Working on the pizza dough
For those who are not acquainted with making pizza dough, there is a recipe waiting for you at the end.
Moving forward, take your pizza dough and split it into two equal halves. Keep some all-purpose flour at hand for dusting the dough pieces with when they feel too sticky to be handled. This will make it much easier to control and guide the dough.
Next, take hold of the cornmeal and sprinkle it on a piece of parchment paper that is about 12-inch in size. Then set the dough on the parchment paper, flattening it out, by pressing, with the heel of your hand. After that, use your rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 10-inch disc, working your way outwards from the center of the flattened dough. Alternatively, you can also use your hands to do this. In the end, the dough should be glued to the paper underneath it.
It may happen that the dough is shrinking instead of retaining its shape and size. If this occurs, the best course of action will be to simply sit back and let the dough rest for a while. Resume rolling it out, once again, when some time has passed.
- Preparing the dough for baking
Now that the dough has been rolled to a 10-inch size, use a small brush to coat it with 1 tsp. of olive oil. Top that off by slathering ¼ cup of the Margherita pizza sauce on the entire dough except for the outermost ½ inch perimeter of the disc.
Take your preheated baking sheet out of the oven. Transfer the sauce coated dough onto the back of the upside-down baking sheet. The parchment paper will make it easier for the dough to glide onto the baking sheet.
- Baking and topping
With the completion of the last step, pop the baking sheet back into the oven. Let the dough get baked for about 4 minutes. When the clock chimes, evenly place half of the mozzarella slices onto the baked dough. Do not forget to keep some room in between each slice of mozzarella.
Resume the baking once again till the crust gains a lovely golden-brown hue and looks crispy from the outside. While this happens, the cheese too will melt on the pizza crust. At the end of 6 to 7 minutes, you should have a perfectly baked pizza at hand.
- Adding the rest of the toppings
When the pizza has been baked properly, it will be time to add the rest of the toppings to it. Start by drizzling the 2 tsp. of olive oil on it followed by part of the basil leaves. Bring everything together by scattering half of the grated parmesan on the pizza.
Allow your homemade Margherita pizza to cool for 2 minutes and then proceed to slice and serve. The remaining dough and ingredients can be used to make another 10-inch Margherita pizza.
Margherita Pizza Dough Recipe
Like we promised, here is the recipe for Margherita pizza dough. What you will need:
- Lukewarm water (not hot or boiling) ¾ cup
- Active-dry yeast 1 tsp.
- All-purpose flour 2 cups (or more if needed)
- Salt 1 ½ tsp.
- Mixing yeast and water
Fill a medium sized bowl or the stand mixer’s bowl with the lukewarm water. Add the yeast to this water and leave it be for about 5 minutes or till it dissolves completely in the liquid.
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- Adding the flour and salt
Once the yeast has dissolved into the water, pour in the flour and salt into it. Work a firm spatula into it to create what you would call a “shaggy” dough. At this point, it will barely resemble a dough, looking rather untidy and floury.
- Kneading the dough
Transfer the shaggy dough from the bowl to the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Set the speed on medium and let the machine do the work for you. A smooth, even ball should form after 5 to 8 minutes. The best way to know it is done is to poke the dough. If it feels slightly sticky and returns to its original shape after being poked, you can rest assured that the dough is ready.
Alternatively, you can also knead by hand. However, no matter what method you use, if the dough is excessively sticky, you will have to put a tablespoon of flour (one at a time) and knead until you get the desired results. Refrain from putting in too much flour which will ruin the dough again.
After that, you can either use it immediately or allow it to rise first, depending on your needs. It can also be refrigerated if need be.
Now, you can make Margherita pizzas every now and then, without having to bear the extra cost of buying one from a restaurant. Not only will you be saving several bucks but you will definitely enjoy the result of your hard work!