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Classic Pizza Margherita

Serves: Makes 2 (12-inch) pizzas or 4 (8-inch) pizzas

Ingredients:

  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 (14-ounce) can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 recipe homemade pizza dough

  • For the Pizza Toppings:
  • Cornmeal or semolina flour, as needed
  • 4 to 6 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella, torn into bite size pieces
  • Extra-virgin olive oil as needed
  • 15 to 20 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • Flaky sea salt

Procedures:

It was 1889 and Queen Margherita was walking out of the opera and felt a little hungry. She stopped at a restaurant and asked for something to snack on. Thrilled that the queen was in their restaurant, the chef prepared a pizza with sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil to match the colors of the Italian flag. The modern day pizza was born!

Place a pizza stone in the lower third of your oven, and preheat the oven to 500°F. Allow the pizza stone to preheat for at least 30 minutes.

To make tomato sauce: Drain the liquid from the tomatoes and transfer to a small bowl. Using an immersion blender, pulse 3 or 4 times until the tomatoes are puréed. Stir in garlic and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Once your stone is preheated, start rolling out your dough. Dust work surface with flour. Flatten one dough ball to a thickness of ½-inch, and roll to desired diameter. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and cover with another piece of parchment and proceed with remaining dough.

Sprinkle a pizza peel with some cornmeal and place a dough round on the peel. Give the peel a little shake to make sure the dough moves freely and is not sticking. Lightly coat dough with tomato sauce, leaving ½-inch exposed around the edge. Top with torn cheese and sliced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Working quickly, open the oven and slide the pizza off the peel onto the pizza stone. Allow your pizza to cook until you have reached your desired crust, about 8 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and place on a cutting board. Let pizza rest for 1 to 2 minutes before you cut it.

To serve: Garnish pizza with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and basil leaves, sea salt and serve.

Recipe developed for Sur La Table’s Cooking Classes

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