Margherita pizza is a true classic. Topped with only tomatoes, olive oil, basic, and fresh mozzarella, it is a simple dish, but one that really pops with fresh flavors. If you love the Margherita pizza at your local pizza restaurant, consider making the same at home. Here's an easy recipe in which everything is made from scratch -- even the crust.
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup warm water, approximately 115 degrees F
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, washed
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
Start by preparing the crust. Combine the yeast, water, salt, sugar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 cups of flour in a bowl. Stir to combine, and then let rest for 2 minutes. Pour the remaining flour onto a counter top, and create a hole in the middle of the flour. Put the dough in the hole, and then knead it gently, incorporating the flour. Keep kneading for at least 5 minutes or until the dough feels smooth, elastic, and uniform.
Brush a large, lidded bowl with a little oil, or spray it with cooking spray. Place the dough ball inside. Place the dough in a warm place, such as in front of your heating vent or near the stove. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes. It should double in size during this time period; the rising occurs quickly with instant yeast.
Punch the dough down to remove extra air, and divide it into two even balls. Let the balls rest for about 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients for the pizza. Slice the tomatoes thinly, and remove the seeds. Then, brush them lightly with balsamic vinegar. Slice the fresh mozzarella into thin, even slices as well.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Shape each ball of dough into a 12-inch circle, and place it on a metal pizza pan. Brush the dough with the remaining olive oil, being careful to get plenty of it around the edges of the crust. Then, spread the sliced tomatoes, cheese, and basil leaves over the oiled pizza crusts.
Bake the pizza for 15 - 18 minutes in the preheated oven. The cheese should be melted and bubbly, and the crust should be starting to brown on the edges and the bottom. Let cool for 5 minutes, slice, and enjoy.