it comes to making homemade pizza Margherita, you want a quick and easy recipe to enjoy with your hungry family! This week, Foodie Sisters in Italy, Benedetta and Valeria, invited a very, very special guest … Local Aromas’ superchef Carla! Watch the video and follow her instructions to make the most supremely delicious homemade pizza in the real Italian way.
The creation of Margherita pizza can be dated back to 1889 when King Umberto I of Italy traveled to Naples with his wife Queen Margherita of Savoy. At the time pizza was only found in the area of Naples so the royal couple was invited to sample this local delicacy prepared by pizza chef Raffaele Esposito. For the occasion, he invented a new version named for the queen and topped with tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves to represent the colors of the new ‘tricolore’ flag of the unification.
With its symbolic, patriotic colors and quintessential Italian flavors, the sight, smell, and taste of pizza Margherita can immediately transport your senses to Italy, so learning to make it in your own home is a great way to take a virtual vacation. Pizza originally hails from Naples so who better to teach us to make it than our chef Carla who comes from the same region and is a dab hand at teaching our guests to make perfect pizzas at Local Aromas cooking classes.
Although it might seem complicated, making pizza is actually easier than you think. You do need to plan ahead as the dough will need around two hours to prove but once it has risen you can be eating piping hot pizza in just 15 minutes. Aside from the satisfaction of making something delicious, the joy of making pizza yourself is that you can make it exactly the way you like; thin or thick base, crunchy or soft crust, and your own choice of toppings.
500g flour 0-type (or all-purose flour)
7g dried yeast
3 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Extra virgin olive oil
For the topping:
Fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Put the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast and sugar (the sugar helps to activate the yeast and will give the dough a golden color) then pour in the water along with the salt, you can also, like Carla, add a good glug of extra virgin olive oil.
Bring the ingredients together with your hands, squeezing and rolling the mixture until it comes together as a dough which leaves the sides of the bowl clean. If the dough is too wet add a little flour if it is too dry add a touch of water.
Tip the dough onto a work surface and start to knead well with the heel of your hand. Slam the dough heavily onto the surface a few times to help break down the gluten. Continue kneading for around 10 minutes until you have a smooth, soft dough.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl greased with a little olive oil. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for around 2 hours until it has doubled in size.
When you are ready to cook your pizza get your oven very hot, about 240°C and grease a metal tin or baking sheet with olive oil. Use your fingertips to spread the dough in the tin, start from the center, gradually pushing out towards the edges until you have your preferred size and thickness.
Season the tomato passata with a little salt and some extra virgin olive oil. Spoon the passata over the base of the pizza, leaving about a finger-width of space around the edge. Put the pizza into the oven on the lowest shelf and cook for about 5-6 minutes.
In the meantime, chop the mozzarella into pieces. Take the pizza out for the oven and top with the sliced mozzarella, a few basil leaves, and, if you like, a good grating of parmesan. Put the pizza back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes until the crust is beginning to turn golden and the cheese has melted.
Remove the pizza from the oven and top with some more grated parmesan and a few more fresh basil leaves before cutting into slices and serving hot.