Pizza Margherita

This is adapted from The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook - a great general resource cookbook.


  • In a small basting bowl pour in 1/4 cup olive oil and 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed

  • Puree the tomatoes in a food mill

  • Shred the mozzarella

  • Cut the basil into chiffonade, very thin strips

Makes three pizzas, serving about four people


  • 1 large can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes, pureed (I use a food mill). Just don't buy anything called PUREED TOMATOES – it's not the same thing as pureeing them yourself and it's a different taste entirely

  • 1-2 cloves garlic

  • Chili flakes (optional)

  • Fresh basil

  • Mozzarella

  • Kosher salt

  • Semolina for the pizza pan/peel

  • A ladle

  • Basting ting brush (silicone ones are great)

For the pizza dough

Combine in the bowl of a mixer equipped with a dough hook:

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup hot water

  • 2 T dry yeast

  • 2 t sugar or honey

  • 1 T olive oil

Add to the liquid ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour (you can use a combination of white all-purpose and whole wheat)

  • 1 t kosher salt

Using a dough hook mix until the dough comes together, adding more flour as necessary. Once it comes together, dump it out onto a floured workspace and knead by hand until smooth.

Rub surface with olive oil, place in an oiled bowl and cover well with plastic wrap. Let sit about an hour until doubled.

Knead again and let it rise a second time until doubled.

Knead again and divide into 2-3 equal sized balls. Knead each ball until smooth and cover and let sit at least five minutes before rolling out.

Preparing the pizzas

  • Preheat oven to 500°, putting your pizza stone in first if you’re using one Sprinkle a baking sheet with a thin layer of semolina

  • Roll out one of the dough balls as thin as you like it (use a rolling pin to get it pretty thin, then you can stretch it with your fists. When you’ve got it as thin as you can get it, place on the prepared pan.

  • Baste the dough with the olive oil/garlic (see MISE EN PLACE, right)

  • Ladle about ¼- ½ cup of the pureed tomatoes onto the dough and spread out evenly using the back of the ladle

  • Sprinkle with kosher salt, chiffonade basil and chili flakes (crush them between your fingers as you sprinkle them on the dough)

  • Top with as much mozzarella as you like, usually between 4 and 6 ounces per pizza. The low fat version of 2-3 ounces low fat mozzarella also tastes great. Slide the whole thing in the oven for five and a half minutes or until the crust is slightly browned and the cheese is a little browned.

  • Cool slightly, slice and serve.

copyright 2008-2014 Katie Fairbank