Okay so I have a confession to make.
After getting my Masters in Special Education this December, I have really been giving my brain a rest. I have been taking some time to just explore the things I enjoy doing such as baking, crocheting, crafting, and reading. I have a Bachelors degree in Literature, and I am embarrassed to admit I’ve been reading what I would consider ‘pop trash’.
Eat, Pray, Love
I also recognize that I am like 5-6 years late on this trend which makes me even more lame. Nonetheless, I just completed the section where she is eating her way across Italy and I have been craving a good Neopolitan-style Margherita Pizza.
This is as close as I could come.
Pretty close, and AMAZING!
I scoured the Internet for a tried and true dough recipe and wished that Peter Reinhart’s American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza was part of my cookbook collection as it seems to be the universally accepted go-to book for pizza recipes. I finally settled on Bobby Flay’s Dough Recipe from Food Network after reading some reader reviews.
Finding a sauce recipe also took me quite some time, and I decided to use Mario Batali’s Pizza Margherita recipe which includes both a dough and sauce recipe.
Making both the dough and the sauce was fun. As the dough was rising, I had plenty of time to make my sauce!
AND I GOT TO CROSS OFF ANOTHER ITEM FROM MY BAKING BUCKET LIST!
I did have a little trouble transferring my prepared pizza to my pizza stone in my oven… I need a pizza peel if I try to do this again. I wish I could have photographed it. Me and Wills with hands full of dough and spatulas trying to ease the pizza on to the stone without losing any cheese or sauce in our tiny kitchen in our poorly-lit apartment. Thank god we didn’t flip it over on to the floor, I think I would have cried myself to sleep.
That brings me to another point. Sorry about the flash photography, I obviously prefer natural lighting, however the sun sets at about 6 pm here in West Lafayette, IN and I could NOT wait until tomorrow to devour this pizza!
Here are the recipes:
Prep: 20 minutes Inactive: 1 hour, 10 minutes Yield: 2 (14 inch) pizza crusts
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling (Chef’s Note: Using bread flour will give you a much crisper crust. If you can’t find bread flour, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour which will give you a chewier crust.)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 envelope instant dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees F
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
- Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball*. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
- Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
*I did 3 1/2 cups to start, then needed to add 3 tablespoons to get the right consistency
Classic Marinara Sauce
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 15 minutes Yield: 3 1/2 cups
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree (about 1 (28-ounce) can) roughly chopped
- Sprig fresh thyme
- Sprig fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste. Use now, store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Top with fresh mozzarella and some fresh basil leaves and bake for 10-14 minutes until the cheese gets bubbly and the bottom of the dough starts to brown!
This pizza was so delicious! The crust was divine. It was crispy on the edges but soft inside. I will definitely use the crust recipe in the future!
The sauce was a little runny, I will experiment with how to thicken it up slightly and report back.
I also made a barbeque chicken pizza for Wills 🙂