Pizza Margherita

Pizza margherita

Makes two 30cm (12 inch) pizzas

For the dough:

1 TBSP caster sugar

1 sachet dried yeast

215ml lukewarm water

450g (3 ⅔ cups) plain flour

½ tsp salt

3 TBSP olive oil

For the sauce:

1 TBSP olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

One 400g tin diced tomatoes

2 TBSP tomato paste

1 TBSP mixed dried herbs

salt and pepper

1 TBSP olive oil

20 small basil leaves or 10 large ones

300g grated mozzarella cheese

For the dough:

1. Put the sugar and yeast in a small bowl and stir in 90ml of the water. Leave in a draught-free spot to activate. If the yeast does not bubble and foam in 5 minutes, discard it and start again.

2. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the olive oil, remaining water and the yeast mixture. Mix until the dough loosely clumps together.

3. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, adding a little flour or a few drops of warm water if necessary, until you have a soft dough that is not sticky but is dry to the touch.

4. Rub the inside of a large bowl with olive oil. Roll the ball of dough around in the bowl to coat it with oil, then cut a shallow cross on top of the ball with a sharp knife.

5. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a draught-free spot for 1-1 ½ hours until doubled in size.

6. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

7. Punch down the dough to its original size, then divide into two portions.

8. Working with one portion at a time, push the dough out to make a thick circle. Use the heels of your hands and work from the centre of the circle outwards, to flatten the dough into a 30cm (12 inch) circle with a slightly raised rim. You can also use a rolling pin if this is a little difficult.

For the sauce:

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

2. Once hot, add the garlic and fry for 3 minutes or until soft.

3. Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs.

4. Stir and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper accordingly.

6. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

To assemble:

1. Preheat the oven to 240C.

2. Place each pizza base on a separate tray that has been rubbed with olive oil to avoid sticking.

3. Spread each base with tomato sauce, spreading it up to the rim.

4. Scatter with the basil leaves and mozzarella.

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and puffed.

6. Remove from the oven and cut accordingly.


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