Margherita Pizza From Scratch
Authentic experience, food, pizza
I spent a few years living in Northeast Italy while my husband was enlisted in the US Air Force, and am proud to say that we truly immersed ourselves with the culture. What better way to immerse one's self with the culture of a new land than through food? Pizza is one of Italy's signature dishes, and the most widely eaten food throughout the entire world. So I decided to learn how to make authentic-style Italian pizza.
I tasted delicious Italian pizzas from some really great, non-touristic pizzerias throughout Italy, especially in Napoli (Naples)—where pizza is said to have originated. Here is my adaptation of how you can get that same taste in your kitchen (minus the wood-fired oven).
Typical Neapolitan Pizza
Where did the first pizza come from anyway?
Well, legend has it that a baker named Raffaele Esposito from Naples made the first official pizza for Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita when they visited Naples in 1889. It had "fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, and is still known as Pizza Margherita today."
I have been lucky enough to visit this region and taste the authentic Napolitano pizza, so I can surely give you the best method of making an authentic pizza that I know of.
- 2 cups four, type 00 works best but 45 is great too
- 1 sachet yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 2 cups mozzarella
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- a few turns from the grinder pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tin of canned tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes o the vine
- 1/2 onion
- Activate the yeast by packet instructions. Mix flour, some salt and pepper into a bowl. You can also add some rosemary to add a bit of flavour to the bread.
- Add the activated yeast, water and some olive oil to the dry mixture. Mix it up with a spoon until everything is mixed together. Add water if it's too hard, it should be soft but not too sticky.
- Cover your bowl and leave it somewhere warm for about 30-45 minutes. The dough has to rise. Turn oven on to 220C or 430F While you wait for the dough, get started on the sauce.
- Chop your tomatoes (or add canned), onion and garlic into pieces, place into a blender. Blitz until everything is liquidized. Pour sauce into a saucepan on medium heat.
- Add salt, pepper, oregano, a bit of olive oil and basil to the sauce. Let it come to a slow boil, and cook for about 5-10 minutes.
- When your dough is about doubled in size after an hour, remove it from the bowl and place it on a well floured, disinfected surface. Butter up some pans which you will use in your oven (you could also use nonstick spray, but I prefer butter). Get your hands nice and floured and tear off a piece of the dough and start working it into a circular shape. You can roll it or just place it onto the pan. Thinner dough gives you a thin base, and thicker dough... well you get the idea.
- Spread tomato sauce over the dough you just placed on the pan. Place either grated or sliced mozzarella on top. If you're using fresh mozzarella, be careful not to use too much. Place whatever other toppings you want on top. Unless it's pineapple.
- Drizzle with olive oil, put it in the oven for about 20 minutes or until it's cooked.
- Garnish with fresh basil
So there you have it, a delicious, hand made pizza. Guaranteed to be tastier and healthier than anything you could get from a pizza delivery franchise (and maybe even quicker).
Cooked Pizza Margherita
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