August 23, 2012

Margherita Pizza

This pizza is my take on a classic margherita pizza. Oh boy, it did not disappoint! I used a new crust recipe from The Pioneer Woman and it was delicious! This pizza is a great to make ahead because the crust is best if it sits for a day or two in the refrigerator before cooking. The rest is easy-peasy, slap some toppings on and enjoy!

(makes 2 crusts)
1 tsp active dry or instant yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm water. In a mixer, combine flour and salt. with the mixer running on low speed with paddle attachment, drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast mixture and mix until just combined.

*NOTE: This dough is extremely soft, it's almost runny. I was nervous and added another 1/4 cup of flour. Mine turned out just fine, but I doubt that the P-DUB (aka pioneer woman) would ever steer you wrong.

Lightly coat a  large mixing bowl with olive oil. Form the dough into a ball and toss the dough into the oiled mixing bowl, rolling to coat the dough in oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until you need it **Let dough rest for at least 24 hours for best result, 2, 3 and 4 days is even better!**

(for 1 pizza)
1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup fresh basil
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 tbsp minced garlic (already prepared- I cheated)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 - 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
8 oz. mozzarella round

Wash, dry and quarter 1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes, set aside in a small mixing bowl. Mince 2 cloves of garlic. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to the tomatoes. Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil over the tomato mixture until everything has a light coating of oil (approx. 2 tbsp).  Spread mixture on a baking sheet covered in tin foil and broil for 3 - 5 minutes. Stirring around on pan and returning to broiler for 2 more minutes.  This process makes the tomatoes less juicy and packed full of flavor.

Next, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Divide the refrigerated dough in half and spread out on a lightly oiled baking pan. If the dough tears just pinch back together. The dough will be very thin.

Top the pizza crust with 1/2 tbsp minced garlic and 1- 2 tbsp of olive oil. The amount of oil depends on how big your pizza is. you want it to coat all of the crust (all the way to the edge). Then sprinkle the dried oregano and basil over the oiled crust, set aside.

Slice the mozzarella into thin rounds and lay the slices over the crust. Next, lay the fresh full basil leafs over the mozzarella then the broiled tomatoes to top it off.

Place pizza in the oven and bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.

Yes, I cheated on the minced garlic for the crust, I thought if I used fresh garlic it might be too harsh. So, I used the minced garlic I had in the refrigerator.

The fresh basil is going to look like too much but it will cook down and shrivel up. The basil is very important to the flavor of the pizza.

You may find that you don't need the full 8 oz. of cheese to cover the pizza. Just save it for later.

As a testimony of how good this pizza is: My husband and I ate almost the entire pizza in one night. We just kept going back for more...then, we made this same pizza two nights later. Holy moley it's tasty.

Recipe: for the crust: The Pioneer Woman. pizza: The Gregarious Glutton.