Thursday, October 14, 2010

Margherita Pizza

After a couple of empanadas at Empanada Mama, I went back to work and eventually headed home.  Unfortunately I had to continue working and it wasn’t until around 9 that I realized I hadn’t really had dinner.  Maybe it was the weekend in Chicago, but for some reason I was craving pizza.  Instead of ordering, I decided to make my own.  After all, how hard can it be?  I will tell you that while it wasn’t perfect, it turned out pretty good.  The recipes below are adjusted so that you hopefully don’t make my mistakes.  Enjoy!

Pizza Dough (makes 2 7-9inch pizzas)

1 1/4 ounce package active dry yeast
1 3/4 - 2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbs olive oil

Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour and 1/4 cup warm water in a measuring cup and let stand about 5 minutes.  The mixture should be at about the 1/2 cup point.  Stir together 1 1/4 cups flour and salt in a large bowl. Then add yeast mixture, oil and remaining 1/2 cup water.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in remaining 1/2 cup for dough to come away from side of bowl. 

Knead dough on a work surface with floured hands.  Reflour the counter if it gets too sticky.  Knead until dough is smooth, soft and elastic.  Divide dough in half and form 2 balls.  Dust the balls with flour and put each in a bowl. 

Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and let dough rise about an hour and fifteen minutes.  The dough should be about doubled in size.

Margherita Pizza

2 garlic cloves, minced
6 - 8 plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs olive oil
1 cup grated mozzarella
6 - 8 basil leaves

While your dough is rising, boil water in a medium pot and put the tomatoes in there for a minute…the tomatoes I used were nay the best so they had to sit in there for a bit.  If you have fresh tomatoes, only put them in there until the skin starts to peel. 

Remove and dip in cold water.  Then chop and remove the seeds from the tomatoes.  Heat up 2 tbs of olive oil.  Add the garlic cloves and let them cook, but not brown.  Next add the tomatoes and salt.  Cook for 7-10 minutes on medium heat then cover until sauce thickens.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Stretch your pizza dough by turning it like a wheel until it’s about 7 inches.  This was the hardest part for me the first time, as you can see from the oddly shaped dough below.

When I tried again with the other batch of dough I was def more successful.  The key is to allow the dough to stretch itself without thinning out.  Wish I could have shot a video for you. Sorry! See how nice the second one looks! (this dough was in a ziploc bag in the fridge for two days)

Once the dough is stretched out, pile on the sauce then sprinkle the cheese. 

Bake for 10 minutes, unless if you want burnt cheese or a crispier crust – then cook until your heart desires.  When 10 minutes is up, remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil.  SUCCESS!

The pizza was delicious – definitely one of the dishes I thought would be challenging but in the end it’s quite simple, just a little time consuming.  The key really is using fresh ingredients.  If my tomatoes were fresher, the sauce would have tasted a little better.  The mozzarella was super fresh as was the basil so that helped the flavor.  I'm sure a pizza stone would have also helped with the crust, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Hungry yet?


  1. Always impressed that you find motivation to make such delicious things after work. Looks awesome!
    -Ms. B

  2. Bravo! That looks wonderful! I can't believe you tackled that at 9 PM!! I will certainly try the dough and sauce recipe you posted. Also, I highly recommend you purchase one of these:

    I just got mine last week and it makes the crust so crispy, crackly, and chewy... I think you will love it too.