Okay, in my last post we made pizza dough, so now it’s time to add toppings. The pizza Margherita is one of my favorite pizzas, as well as being an Italian classic.
Before we get started, a little history: in the late 1800s Queen Margherita, wife of Umberto I, became quite taken with a bread that was commonly made by Italian peasants. Since it was not considered very “Queenly” of her to like such a common peasant food, she asked one of her chefs to prepare her pizza using this bread that she liked so much. The chef, Rafaelle Esposito, devised a pizza topped with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, the colors symbolizing the Italian flag. Queen Margherita absolutely fell in love with this delicious concoction, and the rest is history.
Queen Margherita was definitely my kind of woman, and this has long been one of my favorite pizzas. Now, the key to great taste when you’re making such a simple pizza is having high-quality ingredients. So please, I’m begging you, only use FRESH mozzarella to make this pizza! I can’t emphasize enough the difference that it makes. If it was good enough for the Queen of Italy, then it’s probably good enough for you too.
Pizza dough, homemade or store bought
1 can (15oz) whole steamed tomatoes, drained.
12-16oz fresh mozzarella cheese
Handful of basil, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees. Roll the pizza dough out to roughly ¼ inch thickness. Transfer onto baking sheet or pizza stone.
Slice the fresh mozzarella into thin slices and distribute evenly on the pizza dough. Using your fingers, break apart the tomatoes and scatter them on the dough. Drizzle olive oil along the crust of the pizza, and then sprinkle with the basil. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and just starting to turn brown.