In the Kitchen: Margherita pizza

Margarita pizza

In the Hardy-Hovi household, margherita pizza is our favourite pizza. The thin base, the fresh tomatoes and fragrance of the fresh basil just made me swoon with joy.

For a very simple and flavoursome pizza, it’s funny how some establishments get it so wrong. Whether overcooking or undercooking it, piling on so much cheese that it become a cheesy puddle of oil, or even adding unnecessary ingredients like pesto or destroying the tomato sauce base by adding sugar! Eeweee…

But when it’s right, it’s oh so good.

Short on ingredients but long on flavour, I decided to make it at home. Since I don’t have a dough mixer, I kneaded the dough by hand. So easy.

Pizza sauce and topping

  • 1x 400ml chopped tomatoes
  • Pinch of dried thyme, marjoram, rosemary + a sprinkle of salt & pepper
  • 2 tbs chopped basil leaves, plus leaves to garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 bocconcini, sliced 1cm thick
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Pizza bases

  • 2 cups (300g) (baker’s, high grade) flour
  • 7g sachet dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbs olive oil, plus extra

Method

    1. For the pizza bases, sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in yeast, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the centre and add 200ml warm water with the oil. Bring together with your hands, then turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead for five minutes by hand (or in an electric mixer with a dough hook) until the dough is smooth.
    2. Clean the bowl then lightly grease it, then add the dough and cover with a tea towel. Set aside in a warm place to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
    3. Preheat oven to 240°C. Now this is a fun part! Give the dough a bit of a knock by punching it. This removes any air. Then divide the dough into two equal balls. Roll out each dough ball on a floured surface until you end up with two very thin, pizza bases approx 25 cm in diameter. Place each base onto two lightly floured baking sheets.
    4. Combine chopped tomatoes with the dried herbs and salt and pepper. Add the chopped up basil and garlic, then spread evenly over the pizza bases leaving a 2cm border. Portion up the bocconcini balls between bases, then scatter cherry tomatoes (cutside up). Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese has melted and the pizza bases are crisp and lightly golden around the edges.
    5. Drizzle the pizzas with a more olive oil, garnish with small basil leaves.

Voila! Summer in a savoury fragrant slice.

Alyssa
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