Pizza Margherita is an Italian classic for a reason – it’s simple, fresh, and unbelievably delicious. Friday night pizza has never been so good!
*Note: This recipe was shared before I became gluten-free. I’m working hard on developing a tasty gluten-free version!
If you’re a regular reader to my blog, I’m sure you know how obsessed I am with my garden. Unfortunately I’m over 100 miles from it since I moved from my parent’s house to Delaware in the spring, but I’ve made plenty of trips home and have still been enjoying it all summer!
We have had tomatoes galore for the past few weeks – and still plenty more to enjoy! I made sure to come back with more tomatoes than a person could possibly need, but for me there is no such thing as too many tomatoes! Juicy, sweet tomatoes are the epitome of summer and when I’m not snacking on them, I’m cooking with them.
Enter today’s recipe – Pizza Margherita. I’m sure you recall from the homemade pizza post a few weeks ago that I said I hate pizza. I shouldn’t say it in such a broad way because there are pizzas out there I like. I just don’t like your average, run-of-the-mill cheese pizza from the local pizza shop.
Fresh tomatoes and mozzarella baked on top of a delicious homemade crust? Heaven. Absolute heaven. Seriously, ever since I made this pizza I’ve been craving it! Luckily I made some extra dough to keep in the freezer, so I see myself enjoying another margherita pizza in the near future.
If you’ve been buying your tomatoes at the grocery store and never had a homegrown, vine-ripened tomato – you are missing out! The flavor difference is incomparable. I highly recommend you make friends with a gardener, or head to your local farmers market to grab some juicy, homegrown tomatoes!
Here in the northeast we don’t have access to vine-ripened tomatoes all year round – the season is relatively short, so I always make sure to enjoy as many as I possibly can. And yes, during the “off” season if I really want tomatoes I’ll buy some in the grocery store. They never have much flavor and I’m always disappointed, but I still do it.
Ok, now that I’ve talked about tomatoes for 2 paragraphs I’ll get on with the pizza!
You’ll want to go ahead and make a batch of my homemade pizza dough – you only need 1 ball of dough, but you can freeze the other for when the pizza craving strikes!
Once it’s risen and ready to go, roll it out and start topping! You’ll start with a small amount of pizza sauce. The sauce just adds some moisture and flavor, but don’t use too much… you only need ¼ cup.
Now top it off with the fresh mozzarella, the sliced tomatoes, and the seasonings. Be sure to use fresh mozzarella…there’s no grating required, just slice it or tear it into pieces to top your pizza.
Make sure your oven is full preheated before your pizza hits the oven and if you have a pizza stone you’ll want that preheated as well. Also, don’t forget to sprinkle the stone or baking sheet with cornmeal – this will help ensure a crisp crust. If you’re using a regular baking sheet you can build your pizza right on top and then pop it in the oven. If you’re using a stone you won’t be able to do this since it will be hot. If you have a pizza peel you can build the pizza on that and then easily slide it in the oven. If not, just use a large pan (like a cookie sheet with no sides) lightly coated in cornmeal so that you will be able to gently slide the pizza onto the hot stone.
If you’re a pizza connoisseur, you’ll notice that there is no fresh basil present on my pizza Margherita. This is because I forgot it at the store and didn’t realize it until I took the pizza out of the oven. Ideally there would be freshly torn basil leaves on top, but hey forgetfulness can happen to anyone. It was still delicious.
Once the cheese is melted and bubbling, you’re good to go. You only want the pizza lightly browned – you want the fresh mozzarella to retain it’s gooey-ness. One bite and you’ll be in heaven – gooey, creamy cheese, juicy, sweet slices of tomatoes and freshness from the basil… that is, if you don’t forget the basil!
I’m heading home this weekend for our big canning weekend, which means lots of homemade sauce and lots of fresh tomatoes that I can bring back. There will definitely be another pizza Margherita being made in my kitchen next week!
- ½ Recipe Homemade Pizza Dough, prepared
- ¼ Cup Homemade (or store bought) Pizza Sauce
- 8 oz. Fresh Mozzarella, torn into pieces
- 2 Ripe Tomatoes, sliced
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
- Handful of Fresh Basil leaves, torn, for garnishing
- Preheat the oven to 425º. Place your pizza stone (if using) in the oven to heat up while the oven preheats.
- On a floured board, shape the pizza dough into a 14-inch circle. Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border. Lay the torn pieces of mozzarella evenly over the tomato sauce, and then the tomatoes. Sprinkle the pizza with salt, pepper, dried basil and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake the pizza for about 15-20 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let it sit for a minute or two before slicing and eating – enjoy!