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Two slices of pizza made with homemade pizza dough

Homemade Pizza Margherita

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Simple, fresh ingredients combine to make my family’s favorite Homemade Pizza Margherita! So easy to make and impossible to resist.

With a simple topping of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, this Caprese Pizza is the best vegetarian pizza you’ll ever taste!


Homemade Pizza Margherita slices on a white plate

Homemade Pizza Margherita for a Quick Supper

By now, many of you know about how darn picky my family is! There are very few recipes that please them all. Pizza Margherita is always a hit and so simple to make. The first time I served this vegetarian pizza featuring fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, it became an instant family favorite and was soon a regular on our meal rotation. 

When my oldest was in college, this was on our Friday night menu when he trekked home for the weekend. Though I have a feeling he’d be just as happy with a meat lover’s or sausage and mushroom pizza! During Lent, the fish haters were happy when it was a meatless pizza and not tuna casserole for dinner. Served with a seasonal tossed salad, Pizza Margherita won’t break your budget or your diet!

Pizza Margherita ready for the oven

Pizza Dough from Scratch

Much as I love the ease of using a premade pizza dough, it’s even better to have some homemade on hand. This recipe makes two crusts, so park half in the freezer for another meal. Or double the toppings and make two pizzas!Margherita Pizza process shots

I always pat my homemade pizza dough out on a sheet of parchment, top it and slide both the pizza and parchment right onto my preheated pizza stone in the oven. This technique makes for easy cleanup and avoids the mess of dusting a pan with cornmeal. I use fresh mozzarella, but slices or shredded would be fine, too. And making this dish with fresh garden tomatoes and basil makes for a delicious meal that’s quite economical, too.

Pizza Margherita fresh out of the oven on a sheet of parchment

What’s a Margherita or Caprese Pizza?

Pizza Margarita originated in Naples (Napoli) and traditionally has the toppings of San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, salt, and extra virgin olive oil.

Some think the name  Pizza Margarita comes from the flower-like arrangement of ingredients over the top of the dough as “margherita” translates to daisy in Italian. More popular is the story that Queen Margherita of Savoy was in Naples and tired of the French she’d been served. She asked the renowned local pizza maker, Raffaele Esposito, to make her favorite pizza with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, which just happen to be the colors of the Italian flag. Esposito named this creation after Queen Margherita.

Homemade Pizza Margherita toppings sliced in a white bowl

How to Make a Pizza Margherita

  • In the winter, I make this Caprese pizza with meatier plum tomatoes, but thinly sliced garden tomatoes are a terrific option in the summer.
  • I lay the slices out over paper toweling to let the juices drain to avoid a soggy crust. Try roasting them first to help dehydrate and concentrate the flavor. 
  • Purchasing premade dough makes this a snap to prepare, but homemade pizza dough is even better.
  • I snip basil from my herb garden, too, so at the peak of tomato season, all that’s needed from the market is a ball of fresh mozzarella.
  • Of course, shredded mozzarella will work, too; but if you haven’t experienced the latter, please give it a try.

After dinner, gather the family, including the dog, and take a walk around the block. It’s a great habit and will rev up your metabolism while providing more time to chat, laugh, reminisce, and bond. 

More Yeast Bread Recipes You’ll Love:

Once you stock up on yeast, you’ll want to make some other tasty yeast bread. Here are some favorites.

Two slices of pizza made with homemade pizza dough

Homemade Pizza Margherita

My family's favorite pizza!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 1 pizza

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 3 cups bread flour plus more to dust the work surface
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, (I use Red Star Platinum Yeast)
  • 1 1/3 cups ice water
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more to oil the work surface

Topping:

  • 2 8-ounce balls of fresh Mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 medium to large garden tomatoes or 8-10 plum tomatoes, cut into thin slices and drained on paper toweling
  • Fresh basil, cut into thin strips
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place the flour, sugar, and yeast into the bowl of a food processor. Process for a couple of seconds until combined. Slowly add the cold water through the feed tube with the processor running. Mix until the dough is combined, about 10 seconds. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the oil and salt and process until the dough cleans the side of the bowl, a minute or less. Remove the dough and knead on a lightly oiled surface until smooth.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and refrigerate 24-72 hours.
  4. When, you're ready to make the pizza, divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a dough ball and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour.
  5. Topping ingredients are for two pizzas, but you can use half and freeze half the dough for later.
  6. Place pizza stone into the oven and preheat to 500º. Doing this 30-60 minutes in advance will get the stone properly heated.
  7. Pat out the dough into a large circle, about 12 inches in diameter, onto parchment paper, Repeat with the second ball of dough if desired. Top with tomatoes, cheese, then season with salt, pepper, and basil strips. Drizzle with olive oil. Using a pizza peel, slide pizza, and parchment onto the pizza stone. Bake about 12 minutes or till crust is brown and cheese is bubbly.

Notes

Dough recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated(note that this recipe will make enough for 2 pizzas. Freeze half the dough if desired (only use half the toppings).
The total time does not reflect proofing time.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4 servings

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 782Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 3646mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 35g

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