Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pizza Margherita

Method adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
Makes 1 10-inch pizza


1/4 recipe pizza dough
semolina or cornmeal, for dusting the pizza peel
1/2 cup rustic tomato-basil sauce
8-10 basil leaves
4 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 Tbl parmesan, grated
about 1 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Adjust an oven rack to the top-center position in the oven.  Place a pizza stone on the rack, and preheat the oven to 550°F.  (Allow about 1/2 hour for the oven to come to temperature.)

Roll and stretch out the dough into a 10-inch circle, pressing up the  sides to make a slight rim.  Liberally dust the wooden pizza peel with semolina or cornmeal.  Place the dough on the dusted peel, and give it a shake back and forth, to make sure the dough is loose.  (If it isn’t, remove it and dust with more semolina/cornmeal.)  Cover the dough with a thin, damp towel and allow it to rest about 10-15 minutes.

Spread the tomato-basil sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the rim.  Arrange the basil leaves evenly over the sauce, then arrange the sliced mozzarella evenly over the sauce too.  Sprinkle the grated parmesan evenly over the pizza.   Using the pizza peel, put the pizza directly onto the hot pizza stone, giving the peela jerk to slide the pizza onto the stone.  Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly and browned, about 7-10 minutes.  Slide the peel under the pizza and lift it off the stone and out of the oven. 

Season the pizza with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil around the crust.  Slice into 6-8 pieces and serve hot.





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