The margherita, queen of all foodie pizzas, is simple yet wonderful. Anytime we serve pizzas during our garden’s basil season (May through October this year!), we make at least one margherita before getting more complex.
We fell in love with tomato and basil during our honeymoon trip to Italy. Somehow in my first 25 years, I never knew this glorious (and somewhat common) combination. Pizza margherita is always a crowd favorite in our house, though ours isn’t quite the same as fresh pizza and people watching on the Piazza Navona in Rome.
Nevertheless, we have practiced our method. We’ve burned, dropped, doused, torn, and pretty much screwed up a pizza in every way possible. But, we finally have a margherita that we like (including a time saving no-cook sauce). Now, all we need is a return trip to Italy to grade our progress.
- 1 pizza dough
- 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (makes enough sauce for about 4 pizzas)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F. Follow the pizza dough recipe to make sure it is ready.
- Prepare the tomato sauce by mixing crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar. Stir together and add kosher salt and pepper to taste.
- Mince the 3 cloves garlic.
- When the oven is ready, put the dough on a floured pizza peel, or pull the pizza stone out of the oven and carefully place the dough on it.
- Spread the tomato sauce thinly over the dough, then sprinkle on the minced garlic and mozzarella cheese. Top with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a few pinches of kosher salt. Brush a a bit of olive oil on the crust to help it brown.
- Bake the pizza until the cheese and crust are nicely browned, about 5 to 7 minutes, but just keep an eye on it.
- Allow the pizza to cool for a minute or two before adding the basil on top (whole leaves, lightly torn, or thinly sliced). Serve immediately.