Pizza Margherita

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Extra-virgin olive oil, for pans and drizzling

Pizza Dough, recipe follows

1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, seeded and passed through the large disk of a food mill (1 cup)

1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, seeded and passed through the large disk of a food mill (1 cup) 

6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

12 basil leaves, well washed and spun dry

Coarse salt

Pizza Dough:

4 cups flour, "00" if available, otherwise, all-purpose flour, plus more for coating bowl 

3/4 ounce fresh yeast

 3/4 cup warm water

 2 teaspoons coarse salt

 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup more for pans


  1. Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 (14-inch) pizza pans; set aside. Divide pizza dough in half. Cover 1/2 with plastic wrap while working with the second. Working on a lightly floured surface, use fingers to flatten and stretch half the dough into a rough 8-inch circle. Transfer to one of the prepared pizza pans. Continue pressing dough out until it fits just inside rim of pan. Dough should be less than 1/4-inch thick. Drizzle with olive oil. Repeat with remaining dough. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on each pizza dough. Spread in a thin even layer. Sprinkle each round with 1/2 of the mozzarella. Transfer to oven and bake until golden and crusty, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Top with basil and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with oil and serve immediately.

Pizza Dough:

Yield: enough for 2 (12-inch) pizzas
  1. Measure the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Dissolve the yeast in a bowl with 3/4 cup lukewarm water. Place the salt, yeast and olive oil in the well, and with the help of a fork, incorporate the flour into them. Add more lukewarm water as needed to make a dough that is homogenous and elastic. Dust a large bowl with flour. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Oil 2 (12-inch) pizza pans each with 2 tablespoons. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until very smooth. Divide dough in half. Using a rolling pin, roll each half, 1 at a time. Transfer dough to prepared pans. Stretch dough with your hands to form rounds 1/4-inch thick.