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Pizza MargheritaThe secret to a great pizza Margherita is to use the best ingredients you can find—and to approach them with restraint. (Just because a little cheese is good doesn't mean a lot will be better!) We always start with our all-time favorite pizza dough, adapted from chef Chris Bianco, of Pizzeria Bianco, in Phoenix. This slightly wet dough, in conjunction with a hot pizza stone, produces a crisp yet chewy crust, the perfect canvas for bright homemade tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and verdant basil leaves.
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup warm water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (14-to 15-ounces) can whole tomatoes in juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 basil leaves plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • Equipment: a pizza stone
servings:6
  1. Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl and let stand until surface appears creamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t appear creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. Add 1 1/4 cups flour, remaining 1/2 cup water, salt, and oil and stir until smooth. Stir in enough flour (1/4 to 1/3 cup) for dough to begin to pull away from side of bowl. (Dough will be slightly wet.)
  3. Knead on a floured surface, lightly reflouring when dough becomes too sticky, until smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form into a ball, put in a bowl, and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.
  4. Pulse tomatoes with juice in a blender briefly to make a chunky purée.
  5. Cook garlic in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato purée, basil, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and cool.
  6. At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put stone on oven rack in lower third of electric oven (or on floor of gas oven) and preheat oven to 500°F.
  7. Do not punch down. Dust dough with flour, then transfer to a parchment-lined pizza peel or large baking sheet. Pat out dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into a 14-inch round, reflouring fingers if necessary.
  8. Spread sauce over dough, leaving a 1-inch border (there may be some sauce left over). Arrange cheese on top, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border.
  9. Slide pizza on parchment onto pizza stone. Bake until dough is crisp and browned and cheese is golden and bubbling in spots, 13 to 16 minutes. Using peel or baking sheet, transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with some basil leaves before slicing.
105 min105 min

Pizza Margherita

The secret to a great pizza Margherita is to use the best ingredients you can find—and to approach them with restraint. (Just because a little cheese is good doesn't mean a lot will be better!) We always start with our all-time favorite pizza dough, adapted from chef Chris Bianco, of Pizzeria Bianco, in Phoenix. This slightly wet dough, in conjunction with a hot pizza stone, produces a crisp yet chewy crust, the perfect canvas for bright homemade tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and verdant basil leaves.
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Ingredients

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup warm water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (14-to 15-ounces) can whole tomatoes in juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 basil leaves plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • Equipment: a pizza stone

Directions

  1. 1Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl and let stand until surface appears creamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t appear creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. 2Add 1 1/4 cups flour, remaining 1/2 cup water, salt, and oil and stir until smooth. Stir in enough flour (1/4 to 1/3 cup) for dough to begin to pull away from side of bowl. (Dough will be slightly wet.)
  3. 3Knead on a floured surface, lightly reflouring when dough becomes too sticky, until smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form into a ball, put in a bowl, and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.
  4. 4Pulse tomatoes with juice in a blender briefly to make a chunky purée.
  5. 5Cook garlic in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato purée, basil, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and cool.
  6. 6At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put stone on oven rack in lower third of electric oven (or on floor of gas oven) and preheat oven to 500°F.
  7. 7Do not punch down. Dust dough with flour, then transfer to a parchment-lined pizza peel or large baking sheet. Pat out dough evenly with your fingers and stretch into a 14-inch round, reflouring fingers if necessary.
  8. 8Spread sauce over dough, leaving a 1-inch border (there may be some sauce left over). Arrange cheese on top, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border.
  9. 9Slide pizza on parchment onto pizza stone. Bake until dough is crisp and browned and cheese is golden and bubbling in spots, 13 to 16 minutes. Using peel or baking sheet, transfer pizza to a cutting board. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with some basil leaves before slicing.

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1 USER REVIEWS
  • Parchment Paper

    star22

    The pizza would be fine except for the following: 1-No sugar needed, saute chopped onion to remove the acid from the tomatoes. 2-Cooking pizza on parchment paper, UGH! THAT'S WHY YOU HAVE A PIZZA STONE. My preference would be Crushed tomatoes, sprinkle a little corn meal on the peel or whatever you're using to slide the pizza on the stone.
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