Pizza Margherita

Well we are halfway through the week (woohoo!) and time to start thinking about what’s for dinner on Friday…right? There is something about Thursday and Friday nights, I always want pizza. I don’t know why, but I do. In fact, these pictures are making me want pizza…

A lot of times I wait until Friday night to decide that I want to make pizza so we either eat late or end up going out. Although we do have some good pizza places around, this homemade pizza is excellent and easy. I use the pizza dough recipe from Mark Bittman’s book “How to Cook Everything” which is a must-have for every kitchen. I have made this dough by hand and in the food processor. This dough also freezes well (up to 1 month). I usually use half of the dough for one pizza so I freeze the other half. To freeze: after rising, cut dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap then place in a plastic bag. I take the dough out of the freezer in the morning for the day I will make it for dinner and let it thaw in the refrigerator.

For the pizza, make sure to use fresh mozzarella, it is so tasty. Fresh mozzarella is usually by the deli if you can’t find it with the other cheese. I buy an 8 ounce ball of fresh mozzarella and use the rest in pasta, sandwiches, or pizza the following week.

Pizza dough is pretty easy to make and tastes much better than what you would buy at the store. Working with yeast dough takes a bit of practice but don’t let it intimidate you 😉 I would highly suggest purchasing a baking stone, I use mine for everything (pizza, cookies, bread, chips, veggies, etc). I have one that you don’t have to preheat, which some you do.

Ingredients for pizza dough:
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 cups (14 ounces) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
1 to 1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

Instructions for pizza dough in the food processor:
1. Combine yeast, flour and 2 teaspoons of salt in the container of the food processor.
2. Turn on the machine and add 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube
3. Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water (as needed) until the mixture forms a ball (it should be slightly sticky to the touch). If dough is too dry add water 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to process for 10 more seconds. If dough becomes too sticky add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time.
4. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for about a minute to form a smooth dough.
5. Grease a bowl with the remaining teaspoon of oil.
6. Place dough in the greased bowl and turn the dough to oil on all sides.
7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to let rise. Make sure this is in a draft-free area of your house that is warm until the dough is doubled in size (about 1-2 hours). If my house is too cold, I turn the oven on low and keep the dough near the oven (becareful not to let it get too close or it will cook the dough). You can also let the dough rise in the refrigerator which will take about 6-8 hours.

Instructions for dough by hand:
1. Mix half of the flour with the salt and yeast
2. Add 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
3. Add remaining flour a little at a time, until you are no longer able to mix with a spoon.
4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead (adding as little flour as possible). Knead until smooth (about 10 minutes). See instructions above with #5 to finish dough.

Ingredients for pizza:
1 recipe for pizza dough (See above)
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, rinsed and drained (I squeeze as much water as I can out of the tomatoes)
1/2 cup cup basil, thinly sliced
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced (I pat the mozzarella cheese with a napkin to get any extra water out)
1 teaspoon course salt

Instructions for pizza:
Preheat oven to 500F
1. Roll dough out on baking stone (you can use a pan if you don’t have a stone) to desired thickness. Using a fork, poke holes in the dough.
2. Spread tomatoes evenly over pizza
3. Sprinkle with basil
4. Place sliced cheese over pizza
5. Sprinkle with sea salt
6. Bake in 500F oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly


Lindsay Lou

Source: Pizza dough recipe from Mark Bittman: How to Cook Everything

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