Margherita Pizza

Recipe and photo contributed by Stephanie Deihl Yield:  2 servings
Prep Time:  10 minutes Cook Time:  8 minutes

Margherita Pizza

This is a great pizza to make with kids. The ingredients are few and are easy to assemble and the flavors are bright and bold, but traditional. The sauce comes together quickly and doesn’t require any additional cooking time. The pizza can be baked equally successfully on a pizza stone or a baking sheet. Allow enough time for the dough to come to room temperature before you start; it won’t roll out if it’s cold.


All-purpose flour for dusting

½ pound Basic Overnight Pizza Dough or store-bought pizza dough

½ cup canned tomato purée, preferably San Marzano or organic

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon granulated sugar

⅛ teaspoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled and halved

1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil

6 ounces sliced or grated mozzarella cheese


  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature on a floured surface, about 1 to 2 hours (see Kitchen Tip).
  2. Preheat the oven to 475°F and set a rack in the top third of the oven. If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the cold oven.
  3. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the tomato purée, salt, sugar, and vinegar and stir to blend.
  4. Flatten the dough into a disc with the palm of your hand. Flour your hands and curl them into fists. Lift the dough onto your fists as close to the edge of the dough as possible, and slowly rotate your fists in a circle around the edge, gently stretching the dough between your fists as you turn. Repeat the circular motion until the dough stretches to about 10 inches in diameter. It doesn’t matter if it’s not a perfect circle. If the dough resists, let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes and try again.
  5. Generously flour a pizza peel, or the inside of a baking sheet if you don’t have a peel.  Place the dough on the floured surface, and working quickly so the dough doesn’t stick, drizzle the olive oil onto the dough, spreading it around evenly. Rub the cut halves of the garlic over the dough and pour on the sauce, distributing it evenly with a wooden spoon if necessary. Sprinkle the chopped basil and the cheese on top. Open the oven door and lightly flour the pizza stone. If you are using a pizza peel, carefully slide the pizza onto the stone with a quick push-pull motion. If you are using a baking sheet, slide the sheet directly into the oven. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the crust is crispy and golden brown and the cheese is melted, bubbly and beginning to brown. Cool for 5 minutes, slice, and serve.

Kitchen Tips

  1. If you are using a baking stone, make sure you put it in the oven when it is still cold, and let it heat up with the oven. If you try to put a cold stone in a hot oven, it may crack.
  2. From the Test Kitchen: The time it takes for the dough to come up to room temperature will vary depending on the air temperature. It might take as little as 20 minutes or as much as 2 hours.

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