pizza margherita and proscuitto pizza

margherita

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Since we’re trying to use up some more tomatoes from the garden, here is another recipe that will help (a little).  This is a classic pizza recipe that is wide open for reinterpretations – after we made two of the basic margherita pizzas, we decided to make them again the next week, but added prosciutto and portabella mushrooms at the same time we added the mozzarella, and left off the basil oil (see the picture, below).  Both versions were delicious.

The dough that goes along with this pizza takes some time to make – if it is too much, feel free to use a faster, easier dough.   The below dough recipe makes enough for four pizzas, which I found was easier to mix in the stand mixer than dough for two pizzas.  You can always freeze the other two pieces of dough for later pizza making fun, or just double all of the other ingredients and make four pizzas.

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Pizza Margherita

Yields 2 pizzas (10 to 11 inches each)

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Ingredients

1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt

Pizza dough
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce
3 medium fresh tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
1 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Basil oil
1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

  1. In a small bowl (or liquid measuring cup), whisk together 1 cup room temperature water and yeast, and let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, mix 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the yeast mixture on medium speed, until ingredients are well incorporated, scraping bowl sides as needed.  Then, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour and allow dough to mix for another 30 minutes.  Dough will be smooth and elastic after time has elapsed.
  3. While dough is mixing, prepare tomato sauce.  In a medium-sized pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot (but not smoking).  Add the garlic and cook for about 15 seconds, then stir in the tomatoes and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While the sauce is cooking, place the basil oil ingredients in a food processor and process until the basil is finely chopped.  Stir 1 tablespoon of the basil oil and a pinch of salt into the tomato sauce as it’s cooking.  Set aside remaining basil oil.
  5. Once the tomato sauce is finished simmering, remove it to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  6. When dough is finished mixing, divide it into 4 portions.  Place 2 portions (lightly floured) into a freezer bag and freeze (for up to 2 months).  Roll the remaining 2 portions of dough into balls.  Place the dough balls on a lightly floured baking sheet, then dust the tops with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rise for at least 1 hour.
  7. When the dough is halfway through it’s rise time (30 minutes down, 30 to go until cooking), place a pizza stone on the bottom shelf of the oven (adjusted to the lowest possible height) and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  8. When the dough has risen, work with one ball at a time, stretch the ball into an approximately 10 to 11 inch circle-ish shape, by lifting it up and turning it like a steering wheel.  Once the dough is stretched, set it on a pizza peel or baking sheet that has a light coating of cornmeal.
  9. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the tomato sauce onto the dough, while leaving about 1/2 inch border un-sauced.
  10. Transfer the pizza from the peel to the pizza stone in the oven and bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the crust has cooked a bit.  Remove pizza from the oven and top with mozzarella and oregano, then return it to the oven to cook for an additional 2 to 4 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
  11. Remove pizza from the oven, drizzle with remaining basil oil, slice, and serve!
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