If you tell Thatkid that we're having pizza for dinner, his first words are usually something along the lines of "I just want cheese pizza." I don't think it's very different from most kids. Or a lot of adults. There's something to be said for the simplicity of a cheese pizza.
But if you're going for simple, it's also important to keep the ingredients fresh. None of that pre-shredded cheese stuff. I know that sounds snobby, and in truth, pre-shredded cheese certainly has it's place. Especially when you need it to melt into something like macaroni and cheese. But for a pizza with 3 main ingredients, each one should stand out on it's own. Which means fresh mozzarella - that soft ball that crumbles in your hands and melts in your mouth. This recipe calls for pizza sauce, but I usually make my margherita pizza instead with tomatoes - super ripe tomatoes that produce their own sauce when roasted first, or simply as they are warmed atop the dough in a very hot oven. And of course, the final ingredient, bright green basil. Which works with the flavors but also adds vibrant color to the pizza, mimicking those of the Italian flag.
Pizza Margherita (From Cooking Light)
1 cup warm water
10 oz bread flour
1 pk dry yeast
4 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cornmeal
3/4 cup pizza sauce
5 oz thinly sliced fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup basil leaves
- Pour 3/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attached.
- Add flour to warm water and mix until combined. Cover and let stand 20 minutes.
- Combine remaining 1/4 cup warm water and yeast in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes.
- Add yeast, oil, and 1/2 tsp salt to flour. Mix 5 minutes. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray; cover surface with plastic wrap coated in cooking spray and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove dough from fridge and let come to room temperature for 1 hour. Punch dough down. Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet.
- Press dough into a 12 inch circle on pan. Crimp edges to form a 1/2 inch border. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Put pizza stone in oven and preheat to 550. Remove plastic wrap from dough and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt.
- Spread pizza sauce over dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
- Arrange cheese slices over pizza. Place pizza onto pizza stone and bake for 11 minutes.
- Cut pizza into 10 wedges and sprinkle with basil.