Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Four Ingredient Authentic Pizza Margherita

{Cheese, cheese, cheese}

Ever since returning from Coachella, I have been craving pizza, and only pizza. Earlier last week I had to do a repeat offender of my butternut squash and arugula pizza (except with an added goat cheese and prosciutto), but I only used half of my dough. Woe is me. So, since I have a slight obsession with mozzarella cheese, I decided to return to the basics: the perfect cheese pizza but grown up a.k.a. pizza Margherita. If you've never made pizza the authentic way, I highly recommend trying this recipe.

{Pizza dough, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, arugula}

Preheat your oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit. Sidebar: I think my oven hates me. It takes forever to heat up. Then again, we decided to live in an older building (complete with older appliances) in a nicer area. You win some, you lose some.

Pizza Margherita is any combination of red sauce, white cheese, and green herbs - the colors of the Italian flag. In this case I substituted fresh arugula for basil (they really pack a lot of arugula in that bag!) for a touch of green and a peppery, green bite of deliciousness.

All you need for this recipe is: one pack of fresh mozzarella cheese, 1/2 a pack of pizza dough (I chose the garlic and herb one from Trader Joe's), 3 TBSP tomato sauce (I went with the Trader Joe's Traditional Marinara Sauce - it's definitely the best for pizza), and 1 handful of arugula.

{Slice the mozzarella into thick slices}

First step is cutting the cheese (hee hee). Slice your fresh mozzarella thickly. A lot of people like to grate their cheese. Quelle faux pas! Traditional Italian pizza (the best pizza in the world) uses sliced cheese. This way your mozzarella will form in little pools and the stringy, meltiness will be at its peak.

Next you want to spread out your pizza dough. I prefer the whole "pick it up and stretch it out by rotating it in your hands until it is evenly stretched out" method over rolling it. This works better with room temperature dough, and really does take some finesse or else you may be stuck with holes in your dough. When in doubt, whip out the rolling pin and go for it. Just make sure to flour it well.

{Layer 1: The delicious sauce}

Put your dough on a sheet of greased parchment paper. Parchment paper is my favorite for cooking pizza and cookies and anything else you will bake because nothing really sticks to it. Aluminum foil is so in the past, and in my opinion, it's the poor man's parchment paper. I love using parchment paper. It makes clean up so much easier and you don't have to worry about it ripping, etc. (I'll get off of my soap box now.)

Spread a not-too-thin-but-not-too-thick layer of tomato sauce on your dough all the way to the edges. Some people like to leave room for crust, but I like it all the way to the edges, especially when I'm pulling my dough super thinly.

{Arrange your mozzarella cheese}

Next, arrange your cheese on top of your dough. Don't worry if it looks a a little bit rustic - once you bring it out of the oven, it will be cheesy and gooey and it won't look like a child's art project. Trust me on using sliced cheese. It really makes the difference.

Put it in your oven for 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven. You want the cheese to be browning and the dough to be completely cooked.

{Oh my, look at that.}

I wish you could hear the bubbling, sizzling, and singing of the cheese. It is gorgeous. A lot of the cheese spread out to the crust and trickled out onto to cookie sheet but that just makes it better, crunchier, stringier, etc. I digress.

{La piece de resistance}

Sprinkle your pizza with fresh arugula. It will make it fresh and feel a lot less heavy than if you eat it without it. Wash it down with a nice glass of pinot noir or a bubbly San Pellegrino (if you're feeling truly authentically Italian).
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  1. Oh, yum. I just ate dinner, but I'm hungry again :)

  2. Ooo! Looks so good. I'm getting hungry...

  3. oh how i love this!

    xoxo from nyc & http://www.the-beautiful-things.com


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