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Margherita Pizza

My tomatoes are in full swing and so I take every opportunity I can think of to use them.  Today for lunch I decided to make a Margherita pizza as I’m also trying to use my basil quickly.  The nights are starting to get cool (below 50°F) and that is trouble for basil plants. 
I was inspired by a class I took over the weekend and wanted to make my own dough – something I’ve done a lot in the past but haven’t done lately.  I couldn’t find my old standby recipe and decided to look through some of my newer cookbooks.  I was very disappointed when I couldn’t find a pizza dough recipe from Mario Batali, Giada DeLaurentis or Michael Chiarello!   What are they thinking?  Silly people.  Instead, I used Tyler Florence’s recipe, which you can also find here
This was a good recipe with one small exception.  In his cookbook, he says the recipe makes one large (14" – 15") pizza.  I rolled this dough out to 15" and it was thicker than I would have liked.  On the website it says this recipe makes 3 – 12" pizzas and I think that would work much better. 
The dough came together very easily and, if you let it rest as instructed, it also rolls out beautifully.  Since I didn’t realize how large this crust would be until I was rolling it out I ended up trying to get it as thin as possible while still making sure it fit on my pizza stone.  I pretty much guessed correctly but I have yet to invest in a peel so getting it on the stone, perfectly centered, was just a bit of a challenge!  In fact, you can see a bit of a "wrinkle" in the photo above. 
Once I had the dough rolled out I topped it with a bit of olive oil, chunks of buffalo mozzarella, basil and slices of tomatoes from the garden.  I used both Italian Sweet Basil and Purple Ruffles, a very showy basil.  The tomatoes I used were: Yellow Brandywine – a gigantic, sweet, sweet golden tomato; Oregon Spring – a medium sized red tomato specifically formulated for the shorter growing season here in the Northwest; and San Marzano, the Italian plum tomato used for sauces.  A little salt and pepper finished it off. 
I baked it at 475°F for 15 minutes which may have been a couple minutes too long.  The bottom was not burnt but was just a bit too crisp, as were the edges of the pizza.  And the mozzarella was completely melted instead of being a bit lumpy as I like it.  That may have been due to the cheese itself though.  This particular type is so silky, soft and smooth that it would have been hard to keep it from melting completely. 
Once out of the oven I drizzled a bit more olive oil over the top and then grated a little Parmesan over it for good measure.  What a great summer lunch!
  1. Unknown permalink
    13-Sep-2006 8:49 am

    Pardon me, but that is bread with tomatoes, basil and cheese.  Being from NY, a pizza must have either pepperroni, italian sausage, mozzerella, onions and mushrooms.  No canadian bacon, pineapple, feta, yellow tomatoes, basil leaves etc.  Had to post – couldn\’t hold back!  Must appease the pizza gods . . .

  2. Culinary permalink
    13-Sep-2006 10:27 am

    Being from New York we will forgive you.  If you were from Italy you would understand…. ;-)

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