Pizza Margherita was developed by a Neapolitan cook in the 19th century to serve his queen. And impress her it did, since he slyly and simply highlighted the colors of the Italian flag in the pizza: red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella), and green (basil)! This is the prototype pizza, the go-to classic that kids love. When you say “pizza” at home, this is what comes to mind, and rightly so. With fresh ingredients, it practically transports you to Italy.
- 1 cup canned whole peeled tomatoes (pelati)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Pizza Dough, formed into 4 (13-inch) discs, at room temperature
- 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Handful fresh basil leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F for 1 hour before baking. (Or preheat a wood-fired pizza oven to very hot, 4 hours before baking.)
- In a food processor, purée the tomatoes until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a spoon, spread one-fourth of the tomato sauce on 1 disc of dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the mozzarella.
- Gently place the pizza on the pizza stone and bake for about 5 minutes, until golden with slight signs of charring. (If using a wood-fired oven, gently place the pizza on the oven floor, and bake for 3 minutes, or until golden and crisp.)
- Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Slice, garnish with basil and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve immediately.
- Repeat with the remaining 3 pizza discs.