Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Made The Perfect Margherita Pizza!

I brag about this only because pizza-making does not come easily or naturally to me. I've made many a mediocre pizza so when a good one (no, a divine one) comes out of my oven, I rejoice.

I didn't use a recipe but I did do a bunch of research to come up with this method. The key to this pizza, I think, is two different things that have the same purpose. The first key is to use a very small amount of sauce. I mean less than a quarter cup. Spread it very thinly and evenly and don't use too much! The second key is to use low-moisture whole milk mozzarella. The whole milk part keeps the cheese rich and melty but it won't be so wet that it bogs down the pizza. 

A new revelation for me is to make the sauce from fresh tomatoes. Jarred spaghetti sauce just won't taste like the Margherita pizza you're craving—trust me! Take a few smallish, quite ripe tomatoes (or one medium, or half of a large heirloom) and cut them into wedges. Gently squeeze the excess juice and seeds from the tomatoes. (Save the juice and drink it later. It's delicious.) Then pulse the tomatoes in a food processor with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Scoop the sauce into a mesh strainer and let the extra liquid drain off for a few minutes.

Spread a very thin layer of sauce on your rolled out dough, between 3 tablespoons and a quarter cup. (I cheat and get my dough for a bargain at Trader Joe's because me and yeast don't get along.) Next add thin layers of sliced mozzarella and lots of freshly cracked pepper. Bake on a pizza stone with a sprinkle of flour between the dough and the stone at the hottest temperature your oven will permit. I bake pizza at 550 degrees.

When it's bubbly and browned, take it out and sprinkle generously with torn, chopped, or whole basil leaves. Then eat, and marvel at the delicious thing you just made!


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