Pizza Margharita

 In our house, Sunday is pizza night. Since we usually spend the day grocery shopping, catching up on work, and getting ready to watch The Walking Dead (zombies are intense and require mental preparation), I usually like to just pop in a frozen pizza and relax on Sunday nights. That said, I have lately been fascinated by all the things I can just make myself, and I had yet to make homemade pizza dough....add to that the fact that my husband's favorite pizza, Pizza Margharita, is best when fresh, and I decided to see what I could whip up at home with this dough recipe. Turns out, making a pizza dough is actually incredibly quick and delicious, so give it a try!

You will need:
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil
cornmeal, for sprinkling

For the sauce:
28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, drained
6 oz. tomato paste
6 oz. tomato sauce
2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, etc.)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
*My sauce measurements are always by taste, so the spice amounts are an approximation

For the toppings:
Ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil leaves

First, get your sauce going. Simply mix all ingredients together in a medium saucepan, and use a wooden spoon to chop up the whole tomatoes. Bring sauce to a boil, then simmer on medium-low heat for at least half an hour (longer is better....but I was hungry).

While your sauce is simmering, preheat your oven to 425 degrees, then make your dough. Add sugar and yeast to the cup of warm water and allow to sit for ten minutes, or until the yeast gets foamy. Pour into a large bowl, and add the oil, salt, and flour.

Combine the ingredients until they start to form a mound of dough, then turn the mixture out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If the mixture is still sticky after a few minutes of kneading, add more flour.

Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes (I think I lasted for 19; don't judge me). In the mean time, wash, thoroughly dry, and chop some fresh basil leaves. Cut your mozzarella ball into thin slices. Set aside.

After it has finished resting, divide the dough in half. I froze one ball of dough. The other I rolled out to fit my 13" pizza pan (using my rolling pin--dough tossing is a skill I will learn some other day). You can always use all of the dough if you are making two pizzas, of course. Sprinkle your pizza pan with cornmeal and place your dough on top, pierce all over with a fork, then pre-bake your soon-to-be pizza crust for 10 minutes.

Take your sauce off the stove and spoon over the top of the baked crust (be careful not to add too much, or your pizza will be watery; remember that the tomatoes still have a good deal of water). Layer the cheese slices and basil on top. Finally, bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the crust is slightly golden.


Pair with a good wine and an episode of The Walking Dead, and you're in for an intensely delicious meal. Enjoy!

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