Jun 30, 2011

Margherita Pizza

(AKA the best pizza I've ever had in my entire life. No joke.)

I'm dead serious when I say this really is the best pizza I've ever had. I was shocked at how delicious it was. My husband wasn't home so I sent some over to the neighbors before I ate it all. Because I honestly would have. Only one of my kids didn't love it and she's the one who would prefer a bowl of cardboard over anything with flavor. 

Here is how it began... (Skip down to the recipe if you can't stand my ramblings.... I won't be offended. Just don't expect a Christmas present from me this year. Because I'll know. Oh trust me, I will.)

We are in week 2 of summer vacation and my kids have been destroying my house and each other. Yesterday the bad energy peaked and my daughters behaved the worst I have ever seen. I think they were practicing their audition for American Gladiators. The best part was when they ran into their room and the volume hit jet engine intensity. Mckenna started screaming, "NOOO! DON'T, EMMA! NOOOO!" I found out later that Emma had bit Mckenna's Pillow Pet. The nerve. I love that the worst possible thing she could do was slobber and crunch on a stuffed monkey. We had to get out of the house.

So we headed down to our local library for story time. The theme for the day was "From Pisa to Pizza." We learned all about Italy. We heard cute stories, learned a few Italian words, made Carnivale masks, and the kids got to try a small piece of pizza. All with no fighting. Not a pillow pet in sight.

When we got back in the car, I was dreading returning home. Sitting in the driver's seat, waiting for my kids to buckle, I tried to think of a fun activity, using the knowledge we'd just gained. Then I remembered the story we learned about how the Margherita Pizza came to be. All we needed was fresh basil, so we headed to the local market and then rushed home for some fun pizza making. And this amazing creation was born. And my kids were happy. And their mom was happy. And their home was peaceful. And smelled really yummy.

I used my perfect crust recipe as the base. Just click the linkie. It's foolproof and fantastic.

This recipe makes two large pizzas. You can half it if you're chicken. Or smart.

1 recipe for Perfect Pizza Dough - make all the way to the resting stage
6 Roma tomatoes
4 whole garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese - I would recommend slicing fresh mozzarella, but we only had shredded and it worked beautifully.
15-20 fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat pizza stone in oven at 500 degrees for 1 hour. After dough has rested for just over an hour, wash and slice tomatoes into 1/4" slices. Set in a medium bowl with minced garlic, olive oil, and salt. Let rest 15 minutes.

2. Turn a metal pizza pan (or other large, flat, round platter) and generously sprinkle with cornmeal, especially the outer edges. Place 1 ball of risen dough (you should have 2) on center of pan. Roll or press to edges. Brush liquid from tomato mixture on pizza dough, being sure not to let any dribble over the edges onto the pan. That would make it hard to slide off later.

3. Let kids sprinkle half of cheese all over crust. Top with half of tomatoes and basil leaves. Brush tops of basil leaves with tomato marinade to keep from burning.

4. Carefully slide pizza onto hot pizza stone. Cook approximately 10 minutes, until edges are just golden. Repeat with second pizza crust.
5. Devour.

P.S. If you live in a hotter summer climate, skip preheating the oven, and just slide this on a hot BBQ. Keeps your house cool, and you can still enjoy this dish!


Shannon said...

I love the pudgy little hands in the pictures. How do you make your crust crispy? We always struggle with this.

Megan said...

It's all about preheating the pizza stone at 500° for an hour. It seriously makes a HUGE difference!

Michelle Claire said...

Mmmmmm... yum!!!! Looks good, I may have to try that soon!

Becky T said...

Officially, this is actually what we call Caprese' pizza, and I wish I could describe how wonderful the tomatoes are in Italy - They also can make it with the Naples Mozzerella D'Buffula - mozzrela cheese from the water buffalo milk- incredible. The margherita pizza is just tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella. The crust is so becuase they bake it in a fire brick over for like 3 mintues and then it's done. I will have to try your crust and cooking technique becuase we miss our pizza already! I had a friend there that would cook hers on the grill - need to find out how she did that! Someday after kids start school I would love to pull out my pasta maker and recipes and have people over to give it a go :)

Nancy Hamblin said...

I see lots of basil on your pizza. I LOVE basil on margherita pizza. I tried to tell that to the people at the Ciao restaurant in Coupeville but they didn't listen. I got 5 pices of basil on the last (definately the LAST) pizza I ordered there and the'basil' tasted more like spinach to me. Well, there's my rant. :-) Now I'm gonna use YOUR recipe!!!

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