Home-made Pizza Margherita
Margherita is the original pizza flavour, with just three toppings – tomato, basil and mozzarella; a simple, but sublime combination!
Here I give you a great recipe for home-made pizza dough – it’s fun to make, and if you’re not going to use it all at once, you can always freeze some of it (rolled out into bases and wrapped well in cling film) for another day. Use buffalo mozzarella cut into slices for these Margherita pizzas if you want, or regular mozzarella is great too. Pizza stones are really handy for this recipe to get the blisters on the bottom of the dough that taste so good – if you don’t have pizza stones then you can use oven trays, just make sure they’re preheated!
- olive oil 2 tablespoons
- onion 1, finely chopped
- garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
- tomato paste 3 tablespoons
- crushed tomatoes 1 x 400g can
- dried oregano or herbs ½ teaspoon
- sugar 1 teaspoon
Pizza and toppings
- pizza bases* 2 large
- cherry tomatoes 1 punnet, halved
- mozzarella 1 – 1 ½ cups grated or shredded
- parmesan ¼ cup grated
- basil leaves 1 cup, torn
Pizza bases – makes 4 pizza bases
- lukewarm water 250ml
- active dried yeast 1 tablespoon
- sugar 1 teaspoon
- high-grade flour 450g
- olive oil 1 tablespoon
- salt 1 teaspoon
- To make the pizza dough, put the water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Stir gently. Stand in a warm place until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy. Mix well.
- Place the flour, olive oil and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and mix well to form a dough (note: there may be some left over four in the bowl once you’ve formed the dough, this is fine). Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel or clingfilm and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk (about 40 minutes).
- Once it has risen, knock back the dough and divide into 4 even pieces. Use two pieces for this recipe, and freeze the other two pieces, wrapped well in clingfilm, to use at a later date. Of course you can always double this recipe and have more pizza though!
- Roll out each piece on a floured surface into a disc about 20cm in diameter (the thinner you can get the pizza base, the better). Your pizza bases are now ready!
- Preheat oven to 230degC. If you have them, place two pizza stones on separate shelves in the oven to preheat. Alternatively preheat 2 oven trays. Get them really hot (this helps the bases crisp up on the bottom).
- Heat olive oil in a medium fry-pan on medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, dried herbs and sugar. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until sauce is thick and the consistency of chutney. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place each pizza base on a sheet of baking paper so that you can lift the pizzas easily once the toppings are on. Spread half of the tomato sauce on each pizza base. Arrange cherry tomatoes on each pizza. Sprinkle over mozzarella and parmesan.
- Carefully transfer the pizzas with baking paper to hot pizza stone or oven tray. Cook for 12-15 minutes until pizza bases are crisp and cheese has melted. Scatter over fresh basil leaves.