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Pizza Margherita Recipe

Pizza Margherita Recipe

Prep Time 30min Cook Time 1h30min

A Friday tradition in our house, especially during cooler months, this pizza is a great way to please both the kids and the adults in the family. Because the recipe makes four personal-sized or two large pizzas, many palates can be accommodated and different toppings can be used. Kids love to help stretch out the dough and sprinkle on the toppings. If you don't have time to make dough from scratch, most pizza restaurants and many grocers who make fresh pizza will sell it to you for a couple of dollars. But it is really simple to prepare, and you should try it at least once. Don't be intimidated by the length of this recipe. Each step is easier than the next.

by Alison Needham

What you'll need


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Drizzle olive oil (for topping)
  • 3 1/2 cups All-purpose flour, unbleached
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup water, warm
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar


  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh basil, slivered (can also use 1 teaspoon dried basil)
  • 1 clove garlic, (smashed and peeled)
  • 1 can Tomatoes, crushed, (28 ounces)


  • 2 handfuls Wild arugula
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 12 slices Prosciutto, thin, (optional)
  • 5 leaves Basil
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, fresh, (usually a ball packed in water)
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, grated

How to make it

  1. Make the dough. Sprinkle the yeast into the water, along with the sugar and olive oil. Let sit for five minutes or until frothy and foamy. Place the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. After the yeast has bloomed, add it to the flour and stir with the paddle attachment to combine. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and supple. Remove, place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in size. Alternately, you can make the dough by hand. In a large mixing bowl, mix the bloomed yeast and water with the flour and salt until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and with floured hands, knead until dough is soft and supple, about 10 minutes. (I like to make dough this way and I find the kneading relaxes me.) Place in a greased bowl and let rise as directed above.
  2. Make the sauce. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a medium saucepan. Add the grated garlic and turn the heat to medium. When the oil begins to bubble and the garlic turns golden, pour in the crushed tomatoes and stir. Add the slivered basil and bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce heat, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Remove the dough from the bowl and cut it in half or quarters. It is not necessary to punch it down. Let rest for 15 minutes. At this point you can either roll the dough out to two 12-inch or four 6-inch rounds, or stretch it gently. I prefer to stretch it by turning it around and around as if I'm holding a steering wheel, allowing the bottom of the dough to touch the table. This creates a softer edge. But either way, it's fine. Place the dough onto separate sheets of lightly floured parchment paper on baking sheets. If you find that the dough is difficult to shape, let it rest for 10-15 minutes more, covered with a cloth. Don't worry about making a perfect circle either... it looks perfectly rustic and homemade when it is slightly irregular.
  4. Make the pizza. Place a few spoonfuls of the sauce over the shaped dough and spread to within one inch of the edge. Freeze the remaining sauce for another time. Divide the grated mozzarella evenly over the sauced pizzas, and then slice the fresh mozzarella into ¼ inch slices and place those on the pizzas as well. Top each pizza with a few whole basil leaves, if desired. Place the pizzas in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the cheese has melted. Remove pizza from the oven and if desired, top with prosciutto slices and arugula. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. This is how my husband and I like it…the kids usually eat it plain…of course.