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recipe: margherita pizza

April 22, 2011

It’s Friday night. As the norm for the husband and I, we are here at home, just hanging out. Gone are the days of going out on the town or hitting up a club for a concert. No, we like to take it easy after a long work week. Thankfully we were able to leave work early today, because of Good Friday. I met up with my friend Tess for lunch, ran an errand at Drug Emporium and made it back home to hang out with my husband. We watched the first part of the Gospel of John, then napped and now we’ve sitting at our kitchen, snacking on our “trail mix” (semi-sweet chocolate chips, raisins and walnuts) and blogging. No formal dinner tonight – the husband ate a large lunch and I ate some leftovers not too long ago. It’s not been a bad afternoon at all! Thankful for so many things . . .

But, because this IS mainly a food blog, I thought I’d share with you a quick dinner recipe that so often appears in my meal rotation. According to this website, margherita pizza is “a pizza prepared according to a recipe of the Italian chef Raffaelle Esposito. The pizza was first made in 1899 when Queen Marghereta visited Napels to escape a cholera epidemic in the north of Italy. The ingredients used to make a Margherita pizza, tomatos, mozzarella cheese and basil, imitate the colors of the Italian flag. Queen Margherata liked the pizza so much that she wrote a thank you letter to Esposito, who decided to name the pizza after the Queen.

I’ve used a variation of crusts when I’ve made this pizza – from refrigerated store-bought dough to pre-made crust to homemade whole wheat. Regardless of what crust you use, this is a super simple meal and quite tasty, too! Feel free to throw your own twist to a classic recipe (I’ve used canned tomatoes to sliced ones, and I leave out the garlic when other recipes call for it). Remember my tomato fear? I am actually quite okay now with eating slices of cooked tomato. Hurrah!

But, here’s a note of warning. Fresh mozzarella (at least, not the shredded kind) has a high moisture content. Meaning, it’s got liquid still inside it. The kind that I buy comes in the tub and it’s about 3-4 inches in size (kind of like this). I made the mistake of not squeezing the cheese “dry” as you can see in this picture:

See that? LIQUID. But, can’t waste a good pizza now, can we? I did what any normal 28-year-old home chef would do – I grabbed a paper towel and dabbed the liquid away, then kept cooking the pizza. Still good! Here are 3 different ways I’ve made this pizza:

(with canned diced tomatoes and refrigerated pizza dough)

(with sliced tomatoes and refrigerated pizza dough)

(with homemade whole wheat pizza crust)

Margherita Pizza

Ingredients

  • pre-made store-bought pizza crust (I tend to use Kabuli Pizza Crust, made by Dallas Gourmet Bakery; it’s affordable AND local!); or use refrigerated pizza dough or make your own!
  • 1-2 8 oz fresh mozzarella balls, cut into thin slices
  • 2-3 tomatoes, cut into thin slices
  • 10-20 large, fresh basil leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven according to pizza crust directions.

2. Put the first layer on – lay the mozzarella slices all over the crust.

3. Add the tomato slices on top of the mozzarella.

4. Top the tomato slices with the basil leaves.

5. Season with salt & pepper to liking. Cook pizza according to package directions.

*OR, you can change the layers – put the tomatoes on first, then the mozzarella, then the basil. Do whatever you want! It will still taste good 🙂

Simple enough, right? Have a great Friday evening, hanging out with your loved ones and hopefully enjoying a wonderful meal!

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