Pizza Margarita

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Pizza!!!! One of the most popular and loved foods in the world. I don’t know why I haven’t shared my pizza recipe yet. Strange, I prepare pizza so often but didn’t think of posting about it until today. My son was craving pizza Margarita for some days now and as a typical mamma napoletana I was kneading the dough this morning :-). Even managed to take some pictures before my son and I digged in. My pizza baking experience dates back to my teens, I remember messing around my mum’s kitchen when I was 15 with my face and clothes dusted with flour 🙂 There were many unsuccessful experiments to my mom’s horror but I kept trying, resolved to make a perfectly round, thin and tasteful pizza. Nowadays, I am more relaxed  and into not so perfectly round pizza but rather a rustic one. Having few ingredients so that the base is not soggy and I can savour its crispiness. I have tried many recipes for pizza dough but nothing beats the authentic Italian one. This is why when I plan to prepare an Italian dish I always consult Mr. Gennaro Contaldo. I recommend watching him and Antonio Carluccio in Two Greedy Italians, a BBC culinary series that will make you salivate all the time :D. Besides you will learn many lovely Italian recipes, which are mega tasty and pretty straightforward.

Now back to the dough and Mr. Gennaro original recipe for 4 medium-sized pizzas:

500 g pizza 00 flour. Strong white bread flour will also do. Have some extra flour for dusting.

1 teaspoon salt

1 sachet ( 7 g) dried yeast

325 ml lukewarm water

Topping for pizza Margarita

12 heaped tablespoons of tomato sauce-passata

120 g Parmesan cheese, grated

 250 g mozzarella

Olive oil for drizzling

7-8 leaves of fresh basil

Mix the flour and salt into a large bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and gradually add it to the flour, mixing well until you get a rough dough. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Shape the dough into a ball, then cover with a kitchen cloth and leave to rest for 5 minutes.Image

 Knead the dough on a flour-dusted surface for 8 to 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.Image

Holding with one hand stretch the dough and with the palm of your other hand pull and fold the other side of the dough. Repeat several times. Split the dough into four equal-sized balls, knead each piece for a couple of minutes, then roll into balls and place on a breadcrumbs-dusted tray. Dust with a little more flour, cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm place for around 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

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Stretch a ball of dough on a flour-dusted surface into a circle leaving the border slightly thicker. Place it over a cutting board, this way it will be easier to slide it over the heated baking tray. Spread the tomato sauce over the base, do not use too much because it will become soggy. Drizzle with olive oil, grate over the Parmesan, add the mozzarella slices and basil leaves on top.

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Now a baking trick to have your pizza resembling the gloriously crispy ones served in Italian restaurants. Preheat your oven at the highest temperature you have. My Beko oven reaches 280 C. In the absence of a pizza stone I use a baking tray, placed upside down at the rack above the centre. Preheat the tray for at least half an hour before baking. Slide the pizza off the cutting board onto the tray and bake for 7 to 10 minuted, depending how crispy you like your pizza.

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I recommend using this method of baking pizza at home, the bottom gets nicely browned and perfectly crispy on top. Make sure to preheat the tray again for 10 minutes when you take a baked pizza out. This way the tray will reach the necessary temperature for the next one.

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Above, my son happy to cut his pizza. I hope you liked this recipe and want to give it a try. As for me I am now off to burn these delicious calories at my home gym.

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