Margherita Pizza

Okay, its been a long, long time since I've posted anything here. I am back in school full time this semester and working when I don't have class, so that doesn't really leave me much time to throw caution to the wind and tackle new recipes consistently enough to entertain the people that may or may not read this blog.

However last night Lauren and I had a chance to try our have at wood fired/brick oven style pizza. There are very few ways that homemade pizza can be cheaper than delivery pizza and practically none that are cheaper than frozen pizza. Except this one. Just a couple weeks ago Lauren and I got this same pizza at downtown restaurant and it cost us $12.95.

Margherita Pizza:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper (or to taste)
  • 6 oz. (1.5 cups) mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
You'll want to get the toppings ready before the dough, or at the very least while you're making the dough. So before you do anything else, do this:
  • Preheat the oven with your pizza stone/baking sheet inside to 500 degrees.
  • Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Thin Crust Pizza Dough:
  • .25 oz. pkt. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm (105-115 degrees) water, temperature measured with a thermometer
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Dissolve yeast and sugar in water; let the yeast sit for 5-10 minutes or until frothy.
Combine flour and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer (with the dough hook attachment).
Pour yeast mixture into the flour mixture and turn the mixer on medium speed until your dough ball forms (2-3 minutes).

At this point you can either let the dough rise for 1-2 hours for a normal pizza crust or you can use it immediately for a thin crust pizza.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Stretch or roll your dough into a 12" or 14" circle on a flour, parchment or corn meal covered surface. Brush the top surface of the dough with olive oil.
  • Remove your preheated pizza stone or baking sheet from the oven .
  • Transfer your dough to the baking sheet/pizza stone, and quickly add your 1.5 cups of mozzarella cheese and top with the chopped tomatoes.
  • Drizzle lightly with olive oil and stick the baking sheet/pizza stone back in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
  • Top with basil and parmesan (if you want), let the pizza cool for 2-5 minutes and enjoy.
You could also use fresh mozzarella instead of the shredded kind, but the grocery store was out when we stopped by, and I get the feeling it would probably cost $8 in cheese alone to cover the pizza that way.

For this pizza we only had to buy 4 Roma tomatoes (0.75 lbs at $1.59/lb so about $1.30) and shredded mozzarella ($2/8oz). Sure at some point we also had to buy the flour, olive oil, yeast, garlic and sugar, but those are all staple ingredients that are in the kitchen cabinets regardless of what we're making.

You can also improve the quality of your pizza by using bread flour instead of all purpose flour, fresh mozzarella instead of shredded and fresh basil instead of dried. Those are things we'll try at some point with this recipe. Of course with pizza the toppings are mostly irrelevant, its figuring out how to make a decent dough and cook it properly that makes or breaks the home made pizza experience. Now that we've established those two things its time to begin the experiments.

So I just can't imagine myself paying $12-$18 for a "gourmet" pizza any time in the near future.

By the way, that is not my pizza in the picture. That one clearly used fresh mozzarella. It was cut and I was eating it before I even thought about taking a picture. It was delicious. If I had my way I'd make it again tonight and then again next weekend while I watched football.


Rach said...

YUM. I wonder if I could do the dough in the bread that has been the only way I have been successful with active dry yeast.

baorao said...

Yeah, you definitely could use a bread machine, but only if you wanted to do a traditional pizza crust. if you're doing the thin crust I don't think the bread machine would be a good route (it would taste fine, it just wouldn't be very thin or crispy).

I am not sure why the thin crust recipe calls for yeast if you aren't going to let the dough rise, but I figure it must do something.

also, the only was to mess with yeast is to use a thermometer. Bread, beer, whatever, if you don't get your liquids high enough to activate the yeast but low enough so that they don't die, its going to turn out bad.