Buorgiorno, NEWS24/680 Neighbors!
During our recent Italian tours of Tuscany, Sicily and Puglia, we enjoyed making and eating great Italian-style pizza! Noted for its thin crust and limited toppings, my favorite is the Margherita – sauce, mozzarella, basil, parmesan, olive oil – period!
This recipe offers a quick version using prepared pizza dough and a quality-prepared sauce to get it in the oven; to the table, and in the mouths faster! I have made these in a recent cooking class and for my family; they were very well received, and the results were phenomenal!
Fresh, prepared pizza dough (both traditional white and whole wheat) are available at most markets (some frozen and others thawed). I have suggested a couple of brands for the sauce and cheese (available at Whole Foods), but feel free to use brands of your choice.
DigiBites Fun Food Fact: Q: WHY IS IT CALLED “PIZZA MARGHERITA”?
A news24/680.com follower asked the origins of this pizza’s name. According to Wikipedia, here’s the answer… and now you and I are smarter today!
“An often recounted story holds that on June 11, 1889, to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created the ‘Pizza Margherita’, a pizza garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, to represent the national colours of Italy as on the Flag of Italy”.
Continuing: As far as equipment is concerned, a pizza stone and peel are not required, but suggested, to make the cooking easier, and can be purchased at most kitchenware stores.
Give this recipe a try. Feel free to add other toppings, but to keep it traditional, use them sparingly for an authentic Italian experience! Let me know what you think!
– Chef Charlie
1 – 16-ounce package prepared, fresh pizza dough
1 – 16-ounce jar prepared pizza sauce (recommend Cucina Antica brand)
1 – 8-ounce container fresh Bel Fiore Ciliegine (cherry-sized balls) mozzarella cheese, halved
Fresh basil leaves (10 – 12) small leaves, whole or torn depending on size
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (or combination of both) cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
Equipment: wooden pizza peel and pizza stone
• Place pizza stone in base of oven. Preheat oven to 500˚F.
• Divide the dough in half (one half per pizza).
• On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the dough into an 8 – 10-inch diameter round (about 1/8-inch think). Transfer dough to a pizza peel with a bit of flour to ensure the dough is not sticking.
• Top the dough with a thin layer of the prepared pizza sauce, leaving a 1/4-inch crust around the edge.
• Top the sauce with 10 – 12 pieces of the mozzarella cheese, cut side down. Add the basil leaves, either whole if small or torn into 1/2-pieces. Top with 1/2 of the grated cheese mixture. Drizzle pizza and crust with extra-virgin olive oil.
• Give the peel a shake and make sure the pizza is freely moving on the peel. Transfer to the oven and slide the pizza onto the stone.
• Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until crust is lightly-browned and crisp.
• Remove to a cutting board and slice into 6 or 8 wedges. Serve with additional cheese, if you like.Makes 2 – 8 – 10-inch diameter pizzas
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