Pizza Margherita is to many the true Italian flag. According to popular tradition, in 1889, 28 years after the unification of Italy, during a visit to Naples of Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I, chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). They named it after the Queen – Pizza Margherita.
- 2 lb Italian “00” flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 oz fresh yeast
- 2 cups water
- ⅜ oz salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese
- basil leaves to taste
- 1 lb canned tomatoes
- salt to taste
- On a wooden or marble work surface, shape the flour into a well. Place the yeast, salt and warm water in the center. Be careful not to let the salt come in contact with the yeast.
- Knead the dough vigorously with your hands for 15-20 minutes, or in a mixer, until the dough is soft and smooth.
- Once you have the right consistency, adding a bit of water or flour if necessary, shape the dough into a ball. Cover with a plastic bowl so that the dough is protected from the air. Let rise for 3 or 4 hours at room temperature for about an hour in a warm place.
- Once the dough will be doubled in volume, ricavatene 6 loaves, modellateli in spherical shapes, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature for a couple of hours or in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
- As soon as the loaves have doubled in volume, prepare the tomato sauce and place it in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and 1/3 of the olive oil.
- Use a ladle or a spoon to spread a good amount of tomato sauce on the pizza. Then, cover with mozzarella, torn into pieces. Garnish with a couple leaves of basil and bake in a 480° F oven for 5 or 6 minutes.
- Once ready, remove the pizza from the oven. Garnish with more basil and a drizzle of oil. Serve immediately.
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