Saturday, 20 July 2013

Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita is not something we order at a pizza joint, as we prefer pizzas with more toppings. But I decided to make it at home the other day from scratch. I remember reading an interesting history of this pizza somewhere, so looked it up in Wikipedia and here I quote from there:

‘A popular urban legend holds that the archetypal pizza, Pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pie swathed in the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella). Supposedly, this kind of pizza was then named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita,...’

Interesting indeed! One reason why I am so happy with this pizza is I think I am finally getting the hang of using yeast. That sure takes some practice and some unpalatable experiments for the family :-).


For the Pizza Base (4 small)

¼ kg whole wheat flour (you can use refined flour if you desire),
1 tsp salt,
1 tsp yeast,
1 tsp sugar,
100 ml water,
1 tsp olive oil

For the Tomato Sauce

½ kg tomatoes,
½ a small onion,
1 tbsp chopped garlic,
2 tbsp olive oil,
¾ cup tomato puree,
Salt to taste,
1 tsp crushed black pepper,
A few basil leaves (torn)

For the Assembling

A few basil leaves (torn)
½ tsp dried oregano,
½ cup grated cheddar cheese,
1 cup mozzarella slices


Making the Pizza Base

Heat the water slightly, it should be just like your body temperature (I realized in all my earlier experiments with yeast I would heat the water to a higher temperature and that is why it never worked). Add the yeast and sugar to this water and set it aside to froth.

Once the yeast mixture froths, mix it into the flour and all other pizza base ingredients. Knead into a dough and cover with cling wrap or a wet muslin cloth and set it aside to rise.

Once it doubles up (the time for this step will really depend on how your yeast works) knead the air out and divide the dough into four portions. I divided it into 2 portions and divided one of these portions into two. So I made one big pizza base and two small pizza bases.

Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 190oC. Bake the bread in the oven at 190oC for 10-12 minutes. Keep aside.

Making the Tomato Sauce

Boil the tomatoes, peel and chop them. Heat oil and add the chopped onion and garlic and fry till it softens. Add the chopped tomato and cook for 10 minutes. Now add the pureed tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes. Take off the heat and fold in the torn basil leaves.

To Assemble

Spread the sauce over the pizza bases, sprinkle the oregano and scatter the torn basil leaves. Cover with both the cheese and bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes at 190oC.

Serve hot.