Classic Pizza Margherita
Pizza Margherita was named after a holiday by Queen Margherita of Italy in Naples. The most famous pizzaiola of the period, Raffaele Esposito, was called to the palace to show his craft. He prepared three types of pizza, but it was the Queen’s favourite that reminded him of the Italian flag.
Pizza Margherita is a classic pizza with tomato sauce, slices of Mozzarela, fresh basil and olive oil. If you are scheduled for a holiday in Naples, take the opportunity and enjoy a traditional pizza in the Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba restaurant, opened in 1830.
In order to preserve the authentic taste, chefs are obliged to comply with strict rules established by the Italian government. To become an accredited chef in a pizzeria, you need to prepare pizza in a wood-burning oven, let the dough grow slowly for a few hours and stretch it using only your hands.
Ingredients for dough: 350 g flour, 25 g corn, plus extra for wallpapering tray, 1 and a half teaspoon salt, 7 g dry yeast, 280 ml lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for topping. From this composition come out 2 pizzas for 4 people. The preparation time is 1 hour and a half in which the time for dospit is included.
For the topping: 400 g canned tomatoes, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons broth, a small link of green basilleaves , 280 g Mozzarella from buffalo milk, parmesan and ruccola leaves for serving, salt, pepper.
Preparation mode: mix in a bowl, flour, salt, dough and yeast. We make a dent in the middle of the flour mixture, pour the oil, water and homogenize. The dough should have a soft consistency. We cover it and set it aside for 15 minutes.
Put the dough on a greased surface with a little oil and knead it for 2 minutes. We give it a round shape and then put it back in the bowl. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Grease the surface and hands with oil, knead the dough for two minutes and set aside for another 15 minutes.
We’re making the tomato sauce. Drain the tomatoes and place them in a castoin. Cut them into small pieces with a pair of scissors. Add the garlic, broth, salt and pepper. We’ll put it away. Grease a tray with olive oil and sprinkle a little. We heat the oven to the sixth step (220 degrees C).
When the dough is ready, cut in half and place one of them on a surface sprinkled with a little flour. Knead a little and spread the dough with the twister. If the dough is too elastic, grease the surface with a little oil. We need to get a 28 cm circle to put in the tray.
Drain Mozzarella and wipe off excess moisture with a paper towel. Grease the dough with a little olive oil and spread over the tomato sauce. Sprinkle half the basil, break half of the Mozzarella into small pieces and sprinkle over the dough. Place with salt, pepper and add a little olive oil.
Leave in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is dark gold. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough and the rest of the ingredients. We serve Margherita pizza sprinkled with parmesan, ruccola leaves and add olive oil.
How you want the dough to be
There are two types of doughs for Pizza Margherita: a thin and crunchy one obtained in a wood-burning oven and a thicker dough obtained in a regular oven. The challenge comes when we use a domestic oven.
For the dough we have two options: the long version of the dospit (for a few hours) or the short one. If the lack of time forces us to choose variant two does not mean that we have to discount on the traditional taste. A little corn added to the dough and anointing the work surface with oil instead of flour ensures a dough of a suitable consistency and easy to stretch.
The classic ingredients for Pizza Margherita represent the colors of the Italian green flag (busuioc), red (red), white (Mozzarella). It’s about balance, we don’t have to feel the taste of one ingredient over another. Tomato sauce must be simple. We can use canned tomatoes to add a little chopped garlic and two tablespoons of broth for flavor.
It is always good to hide the basil leaves under the slices of Mozzarella,this way we keep their taste intact. Government rules say only buffalo milk should be used. The best way is to slice the cheese or break it into pieces. If we try to shave it we will notice that because of the aqueous consistency is not a very good method.
How to get a crunchy crust
How can we get a crunchy crust for authentic Margherita Pizza without a wood-fired oven? The reason the dough becomes so crispy in a wood-burning oven is that it keeps a dry atmosphere.
We can also get at home the same crispy dough of Pizza Margherita, if we heat the oven very well and if the dough is very thin. To prevent the dough from sticking we can sprinkle corn on the bottom of the tray. Using these unconventional methods we will not win the title of pizzaiola, but we will prepare the most delicious pizza! And if after all the restrictions caused by the Covid pandemic 19, you decide to visit Italy, do not miss the restaurant Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba. You’re going to love it!