Who doesn’t love Pizza?
And we are spoilt for options too – a tandoori chicken one, or one with spicy pepperoni topping, or to pineapple or not-to-pineapple, or any-topping-would-do al long as it’s with lots and lots of cheese!
Pizza, however, was not always a very popular dish in Italy, and was generally cooked by the people with limited means by usually putting together all the scraps and leftovers from the kitchen together. According to popular local belief, once while touring Naples in 1889, King Umberto I asked the chef of a local tavern to bake a pizza for his wife Queen Margherita of Savoy. The chef, Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi then baked one with the colours of the Italian flag – with the freshest of Italian red tomatoes, delectable white mozzarella chesse and fresh green basil, and named it Pizza Margherita after the Queen. Though the origins of Pizza are debatable, it is widely accepted that Chef Raffaele Esposito’s version (hence believed to be the father of Pizza) was the one that got Pizza into the kitchens of the aristrocats. And the rest as they say, is history.
Modern pizza has however come a long way! With so many toppings to choose from and so many options for base, I still think that nothing beats a thin crust pizza with the simplest of toppings – fresh tomatoes, basil and heavenly mozzarella! There you have it, my personal favourite – Classic Margherita Pizza 🙂
With the recent addition of a full range oven to my kitchen, I tried my hands at this classic recipe, but with a few Honuman twists 🙂
Do try it and let me know if you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂
Preparation Time: 2 hr
Cooking Time: 1 hr
For the base
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 tsp dry yeast
- 1 tbsp oilive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
For the topping
- Fresh tomatoes – 10- 12 big ones
- Mozzzarella Cheese
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Dried basil
- Chilli flakes
- Ground black pepper
- Chopped garlic
- Sugar and salt
(Optional) Now for some “Honuman” twist to the recipe you can add
- Mushrooms 8-9
- Half portion of an yellow pepper
Mix 1 tbsp of warm water with the yeast in a bowl and keep aside for 5 mins.
Combine flour, warm water, yeast mixture, sugar, salt and olive oil together and knead into soft dough. Put dough inside a big bowl, cover with a moist muslin cloth and let it rest for an hour. (Tip: when starting to knead, put mixture into a large bowl use a spatula to mix flour and water together instead of your hands. Mixes evenly, faster and is also mess free)
In the meantime, you can prepare the topping.
Cut tomatoes into halves and then make tomato pulp in a juicer. Heat olive oil in a pan and add garlic to it. Once fragnant, add the tomato pulp to the pan. Add salt as per taste and keep stirring the mixture. As the mixture thickens, add 1tbsp of dried basil leaves and 1tbsp of black pepper powder. Adjust salt and sugar and keep stirring until the mixture looks somewhat like this. Keep aside.
Now back to the base. The dough should have risen sufficiently by now. Roll the dough into a thin base with the help of some dry flour for dusting.
Cut mushrooms and pepper into thin slices. Wash and pat dry the fresh basil leaves.
Place big sheet of baking paper on your baking tray and put it into the oven. Now preheat the oven to 220ºC. Whil the oven is being heated, the baking paper will also heat up and then when we place our dough on this already heated baking paper, it will help crisp up our base.
While the oven is heating up, spread out our tomato mixture evenly on the freshly rolled base, leaving at least one and a half inch gap from the edges. Add fresh mushrooms and peppers and sprinkle salt and pepper. Roughly break chunks of mozzarella on distribute on top.
After the oven has reached 220ºC, take out the tray and quickly transfer the pizza on top of the heated baking sheet.
Sprinkle generous amount of olive oil on top and get this back into the oven.
Bake at 220 degrees with fan for 20-25 mins. At this point take the tray out and add fresh basil leaves. Bake for another 2 mins before taking out.
Sprinkle some more olive oil on top before serving.
Pizza Margherita is now ready! Dig in 🙂
Let me know what you think of the recipe.
– Chef Monkey