“Pizza I love”. That was the first sentence I remember my daughter writing. It was the title of a picture she had drawn of the two of us standing outside of a NYC pizzeria. Not surprising for a kid growing up in Manhattan, where there is a pizzeria on just about every block.
Little did my toddler know “I love pizza” is her mother’s favorite food phrase in the world. And I can think of no better way to express a true love of pizza than with Pizza Margherita.
This is my go-to recipe for basic pizza. Feel free to add or substitute any toppings. Just be sure to use the freshest ingredients available, as this pizza really lets the flavors of the tomatoes and cheese shine.
Pizza Margherita (makes 4 10-12 inch pizzas)
I used the parchment paper method for pizza dough here, which makes the transfer to the oven much easier. If you are comfortable working with pizza dough and have a pizza peel, feel free to skip the parchment.
1 recipe basic pizza dough
1 recipe oven roasted tomatoes or 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand (squeeze over a bowl until broken into pieces)
1 one pound ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
parchment paper and all-purpose flour
Preheat pizza stone in the 500-degree oven for 1 hour. Let pizza dough rest on the counter while pizza stone is heating.
Roll out 1 ball of prepared pizza dough on floured parchment (the parchment makes for easy transfer to oven). You can use a rolling pin (small, gentle strokes so you don’t squish all the air bubbles) or floured hands to gently pull/push dough to 10-12 inch circle.
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan. Scatter 1/4 of the roasted tomatoes over dough. Top with 1/4 of the mozzarella. Transfer to pizza stone oven using a pizza peel, over-turned cookie sheet or thin cutting board.
Bake 8-12 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling. Start making the next pizza while this pizza is cooking. Transfer to cutting board and top with fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if desired.
Cut into desired shapes/sizes. For parties, I like to make thin slices that are easy to pick up with one hand while holding your wine with the other. Enjoy!
Entertaining Tip: These pizzas can be made earlier in the day. Slightly underbake, do not top with fresh basil, and let cool on wire rack. Once cool, cover with clean kitchen towel. When guests arrive, pop into a preheated 400-degree oven (preheat for 30 minutes if using a pizza stone) for a few minutes, until cheese is bubbling and crust “re-crisped”. Top with fresh basil before serving.