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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pizza Margherita

I wanted to make a real homemade pizza since Michael loves them. The challenge was going to be doing a thin and crispy crust since he loathes thick, risen crusts on his pizza.

After going back and forth with several recipes and ideas, I decided on one I'd seen at Recipezaar.com. It looked fairly easy and with a few tweaks I thought it would work.

So, I got down to business this evening working on a Pizza Margherita. The result was very good. A very crisp crust topped by mounds of melted and toasted mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and spinach. Although spinach is not a traditional ingredient in Margherita, it's one of Michael's favorite toppings so I thought I'd add it to the mix.

This is really fairly easy to do, so the next time you're in the mood for pizza give this a try instead of ordering out of going to the freezer. The dough makes enough for two 11-12" pizzas and can be frozen for later use. You can also use the dough for any type of pizza you like.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (try to use high gluten flour if you have a choice)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup warm water
1/2-1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
cornmeal, for sprinkling
dash of sugar (for proofing yeast)

Toppings:

2-4 ripe tomatoes
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese (either shredded or sliced)
handful of fresh basil (soaked with olive oil and chopped)
fresh spinach leaves (soaked in olive oil) - NOTE: Not a traditional ingredient in Margherita Pizza but one we like.

In large bowl, mix warm water with a dash of sugar and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Sprinkle packet of yeast onto mixture and set aside in warm, draft free area. Allow yeast to proof for 10 minutes or until mixture is foamy.

Add rest of flour, salt, olive oil and combine with mixer fitted with dough hook.
Knead with dough hook for 6-8 minutes until you have a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (add a bit more flour if you need to).

Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

Lightly grease a 12 inch pizza pan. Sprinkle pan with a little bit of cornmeal.

Divide dough in half. Form it into a boule (or round ball shape) then pat down into a disk. Roll with a rolling pin into a round shape just larger than your pizza pan. Place on a pizza pan and pat it with your fingers until it stretches over the whole pan. Trim edges to pan.

If desired, pre-bake at 425°F for 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and prick dough with fork all over to prevent bubbling of dough during baking.

Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and chopped basil. Arrange spinach leaves (if using) and then the tomatoes.

Bake at 425 F for 10-20 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with a bit of shredded mozzarella. Allow to melt slightly then cut and serve.

Remaining dough can be frozen for future use in plastic wrap. Allow to thaw completely before using.

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