We make pizza in our house at least every other week, if not once a week. It’s one of our favorite meals. So, over the next few Fridays, I am going to share with you some of my favorite pizza recipes.
Like a lot of things in our life, my Mom got us started on our pizza kick. We lived with my parents for about a year after I returned from Switzerland and before we moved to Iowa. We started making homemade pizza pretty regularly when we lived with them and the practice has followed us wherever we’ve moved.
One of my favorite parts of this recipe is that you can pretty much make everything in advance. This is the pizza we make most often because it’s easy, and besides the dough, there are only 4-5 ingredients.
I usually make the olive oil pizza dough a day or two before we plan to make pizza. Sometimes, I’ll even make it so we have it in the fridge, "just in case". The dough is buttery and rich. I think it’s the perfect compliment to pizza. I tried several other recipes before I decided to stick with this one from the book Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. I love how light it can be when you roll it out into a thin crust but how well it holds up when we make a thicker pizza.
We used to cook the pizza on the pizza stone, which always makes me feel fancy, but the husband and I quickly learned that getting that pizza out of the oven was far more complicated that either of us wanted to deal with. So we switched it up last year and started using our commercial sized baking sheets lined with parchment. I am sure the crust could be crispier on the bottom if we baked on the stone, but the baking pan is seamless and let’s us cut the pizza into perfect squares.
Margherita pizza is the best blend of simple and satisfying. It just tastes good. I love that you don’t have to think about it much but it’s still fulfilling and tasty. This pizza is just a nice way to wrap up a day. It’s perfect served on a Friday night with a good movie, and delicious dark beer, or a glass of cheap wine.
Margherita Pizza with Olive Oil Dough
(makes about 3 large pizzas)
3 ¼ cups lukewarm water
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Yeast
1 to 1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
7 ½ cups flour
Combine all ingredients and mix in a 5-quart bowl or container with some type of lid. I prefer to mix this dough with a wooden spoon. You don't have to knead any of the dough. Cover the container, not airtight and let it rest for about 2-3 hours on the counter until dough has risen. Depending on the temperature of your home, I found that it may take longer. Once the dough has risen, you can use it right away, but I find it easier to use when chilled. Once made, you can store the dough in the fridge for about two weeks.
To Make Olive Oil Pizza Crust
1/3 of Olive Oil Pizza Dough
1 commercial size-baking sheet
Parchment paper, cut slightly larger than baking sheet
¼ cup of flour
Whether you refrigerated the dough, or plan to use it immediately after it has risen, take your 5-quart bowl, and using a large knife cut the dough into even thirds. Remove 1/3 of the dough to make one pizza.
Sprinkle about half of the flour onto parchment paper. Place dough on parchment. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough a few times in a back and forth motion to even out. From time to time, gently lift the dough so that it doesn't get stuck to the parchment. If needed, you may sprinkle extra flour below the dough, onto the parchment. Over the top of the dough, add a small amount of flour to hands and rub the flour onto the rolling pin. Keep rolling the dough lengthwise, towards the corners of the parchment paper so it ends up rolling into the shape of the baking pan. Once the pizza dough is to desired shape and thickness, slide the parchment and dough onto the baking pan. We do this by putting the edge of the bake pan against the counter and pulling the parchment with dough onto the bake pan.
To Make Margherita Pizza
Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce– For this recipe I did add 3 cloves of garlic to the tomatoes since I was out of garlic olive oil
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced into ½ inch thick pieces
Red pepper flakes
6-7 large basil leaves, chiffonade into strips
Preheat oven to the highest setting, our oven is 550° F. Pour all of the tomato sauce onto the pizza dough and spread evenly across. Take the mozzarella slices, and tear them in thirds. Place the mozzarella evenly across the pizza. Next, if desired, sprinkle the pizza with red pepper flakes. Place pizza on middle rack in oven. Check for doneness around 13 minutes, turn the pizza around if browning on one side more than another. It may take another 3-5 minutes.
Remove pizza from oven. Let cool for 2-3 minutes. Scatter the basil across the pizza, slice and enjoy!
Update: I realized I spelled Margherita pizza like the drink Margarita for pretty much this entire post. So, I apologize for my error and misspelling.