Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pizza Margherita

Caprese salad is one of my very favorites. I love how the sweet summer tomatoes pair with the light, salty fresh mozzarella and the bright, pungent basil. Did you know that basil was originally from India (according to the wiki)?I didn’t either! That’s probably because it’s best known for being in Italian cooking. It’s a close relative to the mint plant, but had a more anise flavor (liquoricey– yep, it’s a word – I just made it up!). Can you tell I love basil? I digress. When you take those same ingredients you use to make a caprese salad and put it on a pizza, it transforms magically while in the oven into Pizza Margherita. Pretty fancy, right? Thought so. The best part about this pizza is that all you need is five simple ingredients. If you want to make your own pizza dough, feel free to, but I like to buy the premade dough from Trader Joe’s here to save time (to save even more time, you could buy a totally premade crust such as Boboli). Also, if your store doesn’t carry garlic oil, you can make your own in a snap. Just heat a quarter of a cup of olive oil to a pan over medium low heat and add two smashed cloves of garlic and cook for eight to ten minutes or until the garlic has browned a bit infusing it’s flavor into the oil. Remove the garlic cloves and allow oil to cool slightly and viola, garlic oil. If you’re feeling really, super fancy, you can make your pizza on the grill, but today I’m going to be using a pizza stone in the oven. If you don’t have a pizza stone, a baking sheet will work just fine. Enjoy with a generous squirt of sriracha and red pepper flakes.

What You Need:

1 – 16 oz ball of pizza dough (I used whole wheat)
8 oz fresh ovoline mozzarella packed in water, drained, dried & sliced into ¼” pieces
1 ½ large tomatoes, sliced into ¼“pieces & pressed between paper towels
2 - 3 Tbs basil chiffonade (thinly sliced – to taste)
2 Tbs garlic oil

Salt and pepper (optional – to taste)
cornmeal for pizza stone (if using)
flour for dusting

What To Do:

Heat your pizza stone in a 425* oven for 15 – 20 minutes. This ensures that the crust will be nice and crisp on the outside, but doughy on the inside. For best result, take your dough ball out of the fridge while the pizza stone heats (about 20 minutes). Once your dough has come to temperature, roll it out on a well floured surface to about a 12” round.

Remove the hot pizza stone from the oven and sprinkle with cornmeal to prevent sticking.

Gently transfer your dough onto it and pierce with a fork all over to prevent bubbles while it bakes.

Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until barely browned. Keep your eye on it as you don’t want it to overcook (you’ll be baking it again with toppings).

After the crust has prebaked, remove from the oven, brush with garlic oil and top with tomato and cheese slices. Season with salt and pepper if using. Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes or until cheese has melted and the crust is nicely browned.

Remove pizza from oven and top with fresh basil chiffonade.

Serve with red pepper flakes and hot sauce.

Makes 8 slices.

Print this recipe!

**Edited to add: Here are the nutritional stats for 1 slice.**

Bon Appetit!

**Cook’s Note: On the tomatoes: make sure you really get as much liquid as you can out of the tomatoes. If not, the liquid in them will make your pizza soggy. On the basil: if you don't want to chiffonade, you could simply chop it up to whatever size you desire.**


Anonymous said...

Mary this looks sooo yummy :0)
At times when I read recipes I feel like they are complex. But your pictures are so helpful. In addition to them being beautiful I find that they show me how little I really need in order to make a dish. Not to mention your step by step instructions really help too, especially when trying a recipe for the 1st time. Keep up the great blog. ;0)
with <3,
auntie L

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

@ auntie L: Thanks auntie :) I'm glad you're digging it!

Deborah said...

This is pretty much heaven on a plate. This is why I love summer!!

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

@ Deborah: I couldn't agree more!

Pretty. Good. Food. said...

Pure perfection! Great for a quick night meal :)

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

@ Pretty Good Food: Well thank you! It was pretty tasty and so simple. Great for a weeknight dinner.

janetha @ meals & moves said...

I have got to get that combo on a pizza immediately! YUM.

What's Cookin' with Mary? said...

@ Janetha: You will not be disappointed... it totally rocks !

Anonymous said...

I found you through the Slow Roasted Italian-- I also am looking to get 100 followers and am a long way away. Check out my blog and follow away!! I am a new follower of yours. Love your pictures, and I love that you put a "what you need" picture for every recipe! So helpful!

Pam said...

Beautiful, healthy, and delicious.

Angela@MyTastyLiving said...

I just found your blog and every recipe I've seen looks simply amazing. :) <~ following!