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Pizza Margherita

Ingredients:

For the Pizza Dough:

  1. All-Purpose Flour: 3 cups
  2. Active Dry Yeast: 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons)
  3. Warm Water: 1 cup (235 ml)
  4. Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons
  5. Salt: 1 teaspoon
  6. Sugar: 1 teaspoon

For the Toppings:

  1. Ripe Tomatoes: 3-4, thinly sliced or 1 can (14 oz) of crushed tomatoes
  2. Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: 8 ounces, sliced or torn into small pieces
  3. Fresh Basil Leaves: A handful
  4. Olive Oil: For drizzling
  5. Salt and Pepper: To taste

Instructions:

Preparing the Dough:

  1. Activate the Yeast:
    • Dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  2. Make the Dough:
    • In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir until the dough begins to come together.
  3. Knead the Dough:
    • Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
  4. First Rise:
    • Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean towel, and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Assembling the Pizza:

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it preheats.
  2. Prepare the Base:
    • Punch down the dough and divide it into two balls. On a floured surface, roll out each ball into a thin circle.
  3. Add the Toppings:
    • Place the rolled-out dough on a pizza peel or a baking sheet. Spread the tomatoes or tomato sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a small border. Distribute mozzarella slices over the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake the Pizza:
    • Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
  5. Garnish and Serve:
    • Remove the pizza from the oven and immediately garnish with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Slice and serve hot.

Tips:

  • Dough Consistency: The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.
  • Tomato Sauce: If using canned tomatoes, you can blend them with a bit of salt and olive oil for a simple sauce.
  • Baking Surface: A pizza stone is ideal for a crispy crust, but a baking sheet will also work.
  • Oven Temperature: A hot oven is key to achieving a crispy, pizzeria-style crust.

Enjoy your homemade Pizza Margherita, a classic dish that beautifully showcases the flavors of its simple, fresh ingredients!

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