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Pizza Margherita

  • Yield: 2 12-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6


  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped or julienned
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigianno-Reggiano
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110?F)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour plus more if necessary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 500ºF and, if you have one, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.
  • In the bowl of a food processor combine tomatoes, olive oil and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and process until smooth. Divide sauce between the two pizzas and smooth to spread evenly, leaving a1/2-inch border along the edges of the dough. Sprinkle basil leaves on top of sauce and then top with Parmigianno-Reggiano. Finally, divide mozzarella slices between 2 pizzas, and bake for about 8 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the edges are golden brown.
  • BASIC PIZZA DOUGH – BY HAND METHOD: In a large bowl combine yeast with water, olive oil, salt and stir well to proof. After 5 minutes, add half of the flour and mix well to thoroughly incorporate. Add all remaining flour except 1/2 cup and mix well with your hands. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough for at least 5 and up to 7 minutes, adding enough additional flour as necessary to form a smooth and elastic dough. Dough should not be sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled 2 or 3 quart bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 500ºF and if you have one, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.
  • Divide dough into 2 portions (for two 12-inch pizzas) and form into balls. (See note below for calzones.) Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, shape as desired and roll out to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Transfer dough to a pizza peel and top with toppings of choice. Transfer to the preheated pizza stone and bake until crispy and golden brown, usually 12 to 18 minutes (depending on the toppings). Remove from the oven with a metal peel or spatula and serve immediately.
  • Yield: 2 12-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6.