Margherita Pizza + Homemade Dough


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As parents of a 14-month-old, Raphael and I have found that dinner means something very new, very different than it ever has before.  A once leisurely and relaxing part of our day has turned into a race to make whatever we have on hand–and quickly.  Our main focus is feeding Baby Girl, picking up her sippy cup that hits the floor 37 1/2 times, making sure she has enough spoons to keep her occupied and that she’s not feeding the dog all of her dinner. But now that she’s old enough she’s starting to eat what we eat. And we eat pizza.  With a little planning ahead, we are able to make an entire homemade pie in no time.

 

There’s decent pizza here in Miami where we spend most of our time these days (Harry’s, King’s County) but I do long for my Brooklyn faves quite often: Roberta’s and Paulie Gee’s.  Pizza is SO easy to make, and nothing beats homemade pizza.  Especially a simple margherita pizza.

 

I’m ashamed to admit I have always simply purchased pizza dough from a pizzeria or even from Whole Foods.  But the truth is, pizza dough is VERY easy to make on your own.  With a little planning ahead (active time is just about 5 minutes, but the dough needs to rise for 15 then rest in the fridge for 24 hours), you can have the best dinner ever with just flour, water, yeast, canned tomatoes and mozzarella.  I must give Raphael credit for this one – he’s usually the one who makes the dough.  And after searching far and wide for the best recipe, he’s is certain it is indeed Roberta’s Pizza Dough recipe as demonstrated here by Anthony Falco and the New York Times. We’ll leave it to the master and just follow it as published… who needs to mess with perfection? But first – two quick notes.  Your pizza will turn out best if you have a pizza stone and a pizza peel.  If you do not have these things, never fear.  Simply make the whole pizza on your sheet pan and transfer it to the oven.  It won’t be ideal, but it will still be extremely delicious.

 

PIZZA PREP: 

Make your Roberta’s dough (recipe as follows)

Take a can of whole, San Marzano tomatoes, drain it slightly, and put it in your blender.  This will be your sauce.  It sounds too easy but this is ALL you need.  Save extra sauce in the fridge or freeze for later use.

 

PIZZA DOUGH (from Roberta’s Pizza and Sam Sifton):

1 Cup plus 1 tbsp “00” flour (available at Italian markets)

1 Cup plus 1 tbsp and 2 tsp all purpose flour (organic please)

1 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp olive oil

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together 200 grams (about 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil, then pour it into flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, approximately 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Knead rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)
  4. To make pizza, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. Top and bake.

 

RAPHAEL’S MARGHERITA PIZZA 

2 12-inch Roberta’s pizza dough, rolled out and ready to top

6 oz fresh mozzarella

1/3 C blended San Marzano tomatoes

torn basil leaves

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 500 or as high as it will go, for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Make sure your dough is well floured on the bottom so that it won’t stick to the pizza peel.  Build your pizzas one at a time on the peel so you can drop them directly onto your pizza stone if that’s what you’re using.  Starting in the center of the pizza, pour half the sauce (about 3 tbsp) and spread outwards about 1/2 from edges of pizza
  3. Distribute thin slices of the fresh mozzarella over the pizza.  Do not overcrowd the pizza. It will look a little sparse but that’s the point!
  4. Place torn pieces of basil on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the entire pizza and drizzle with EVOO
  5. Transfer the pizzas directly onto the pizza peel, or transfer entire sheet-pan to the oven.
  6. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.  Repeat all the steps with your second pizza!
  7. Enjoy with a glass of pinot noir!!!