Delicious Homemade Pizza Margherita Recipe
Pizza Margherita is a classic Italian pizza known for its simple and delicious flavors. It’s traditionally made with just a few high-quality ingredients to let their natural flavors shine. Here’s what you’ll typically find on a Pizza Margherita
Ingredients Pizza Margherita
For the pizza dough
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110°F/43°C)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the pizza toppings
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (preferably homemade or a good-quality store-bought)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced or torn into small pieces
- Fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions Pizza Margherita
Prepare the pizza dough
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and active dry yeast. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
- Mix everything together until a dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5-7 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-1.5 hours or until it has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven
- Preheat your oven to the highest temperature it can reach, typically around 500-550°F (260-290°C).
Shape the pizza
- Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into two equal portions. You can make two individual pizzas with this amount of dough.
- Roll out one portion of the dough on a floured surface into a thin circle or oval shape. You can use a rolling pin or your hands to shape it.
Assemble the pizza
- Place the rolled-out dough on a pizza stone or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the dough, leaving a border for the crust.
- Distribute the fresh mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce.
- Tear some fresh basil leaves and scatter them over the cheese.
- Drizzle the pizza with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake the pizza
- Carefully transfer the pizza (on the parchment paper if using a baking sheet) into the preheated oven.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
Serve Pizza Margherita
- Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for a minute or two. Slice it, and garnish with more fresh basil if desired. Enjoy your homemade Pizza Margherita!
Repeat the process for the second portion of dough if you’re making two pizzas.
Tips and Tricks to Help you Make The Perfect Pizza Margherita
High-Quality Ingredients: Start with the best quality ingredients you can find. Opt for fresh, ripe tomatoes, high-quality mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves.
Homemade Tomato Sauce: If possible, make your tomato sauce from scratch using ripe, flavorful tomatoes. Simmer the sauce to concentrate the flavors.
Hot Oven: Preheat your oven as high as it will go (typically around 500-550°F or 260-290°C). A hot oven ensures a crispy crust and quick cooking.
Pizza Stone or Baking Steel: If you have a pizza stone or baking steel, use it. These tools help distribute heat evenly and create a crispy crust.
Use Semolina Flour: Dust your pizza peel or baking surface with semolina flour to prevent sticking and give your pizza a nice texture.
Stretch the Dough Thinly: Stretch the pizza dough as thin as you prefer it. A thinner crust cooks faster and gets crispier.
Minimal Sauce: Go easy on the tomato sauce. A thin layer ensures your pizza won’t become soggy.
Fresh Mozzarella: Use fresh mozzarella, not the pre-shredded kind. Tear or slice it and distribute it evenly.
Fresh Basil: Tear the basil leaves just before putting them on the pizza. This preserves their flavor and color.
Drizzle with Olive Oil: After baking, drizzle your finished pizza with good-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Season Gently: Don’t overdo it with the salt and pepper.
Quick Cooking: Keep an eye on the pizza while it’s in the oven. It should only take around 10-12 minutes, but ovens can vary. You want a golden crust and bubbling cheese.
Rest Before Slicing: Let the pizza rest for a minute or two after taking it out of the oven. This helps the cheese set and makes it easier to slice.
Experiment: Don’t be afraid to experiment with variations. Add a drizzle of balsamic glaze or some red pepper flakes for a different flavor profile.
Practice Makes Perfect: Don’t be discouraged if your first one isn’t perfect; it’ll still taste great!
Some Common Mistakes to Avoid
Overloading with Toppings: Pizza Margherita is all about simplicity. Avoid overloading it with toppings; stick to the basics of tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil.
Using Low-Quality Ingredients: The quality of your ingredients matters.
Soggy Crust: One of the most common mistakes is ending up with a soggy crust. Be mindful not to use too much tomato sauce, and make sure your oven is hot enough to create a crispy crust.
Not Preheating the Oven Properly: Make sure your oven is preheated to its maximum temperature.
Rolling the Dough Too Thick: Pizza Margherita is best when the dough is stretched thin. Rolling it too thick can result in a doughy, undercooked center.
Neglecting the Pizza Stone or Baking Steel: If you have a pizza stone or baking steel, use it. Neglecting them can result in uneven cooking.
Not Resting the Dough: After rolling out the dough, let it rest for a few minutes. This makes it easier to shape and prevents it from shrinking back when you stretch it.
Using Pre-Shredded Cheese: Fresh mozzarella, torn or sliced by hand, is essential for the best texture and flavor. Pre-shredded cheese can be dry and not as flavorful.
Skipping Semolina Flour: Dust your peel or baking surface with semolina flour or cornmeal to prevent sticking and give the pizza a nice texture.
Baking Too Long: Keep a close eye on the pizza in the oven. Overbaking can cause the cheese to become tough and the crust to burn.
Not Letting It Rest After Baking: After removing the pizza from the oven, allow it to rest for a minute or two. Slicing it immediately can lead to the toppings sliding off.
Not Experimenting: While tradition is essential for a Margherita pizza, don’t be afraid to experiment occasionally with different variations. Just be aware that it may no longer be a “Margherita” if you do!
Here are approximate nutrition facts for a typical homemade Pizza Margherita per slice (1/8 of a standard 12-inch pizza). Please note that these values can vary based on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used:
- Calories: 160-200 calories per slice
- Total Fat: 6-8 grams
- Saturated Fat: 3-4 grams
- Cholesterol: 15-20 milligrams
- Sodium: 300-400 milligrams
- Total Carbohydrates: 18-22 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 1-2 grams
- Sugars: 1-2 grams
- Protein: 8-10 grams
These values are approximate and can vary depending on the thickness of the crust, the amount of cheese and sauce used, and other factors.
Enjoy your homemade Pizza Margherita!