YOU GUYS! I made a PIZZA!!!! ???????????? From scratch and EVERYTHING!!! Usually I cheat on the crust, because baking...But I made one and it was DELICIOUS!
Can you tell I'm excited? Let's just dive right in: Margherita Pizza with Homemade Crust (and homemade marinara sauce!).
Margherita Pizza is one of my favorite pizzas, it might even tie with my go to Five Cheese Garlic Chicken and Pesto Pizza. Some may find it a little simple, a little basic AKA why I just love it. The simplicity really lets the flavors shine. A good marinara sauce with fresh herbs, a ball of mozzarella thinly sliced, and some julienned basil....yes please!!! Literally just 3 toppings but OMG it's just sooo goooood.
About that crust: easy peez! I was nervous when I first attempted it. As previously noted, baking stresses me out. It's just not like cooking; measurements have to be exact, mistakes are hard if not impossible to fix...not this pizza crust! There's only 4 ingredients (repeat that, 4 ingredients): active dry yeast, flour, salt, and sugar. Well and water but does that count ?????
It also does most of the work for you, especially if you have a kitchen aid stand mixer. The dough hook is extremely helpful for kneading. The "1-2 hours" is literally just waiting for the dough to rise. After that, roll it out and you've got a fabulous homemade Margherita Pizza crust!
OH quick tip on that yeast. Hot but not boiling water (the temperature for hot water I use to wash dishes works just fine), and sugar. I've seen quite a few recipes add the sugar to the flour mixture instead of the to the yeast and water mixture. After some trial and error, adding the sugar to the yeast and water mixture gives it something "to eat" or activate. Give it a stir and let it sit 5 minutes. When it starts bubbling your yeast is active and ready to go!
For the Dough
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + extra to coat bowl
For the Marinara Sauce
- 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes (alternatively, if you do not have an immersion blender, you can use pureed tomatoes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine
- 2 large, fresh basil stem with leaves
- 1 large, fresh stem oregano with leaves
For the Toppings
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella ball, thinly sliced
- Fresh basil, julienned plus several small leaves
- Ground black pepper, to garnish
- Make the dough: Gently stir together yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup hot water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes, until bubbling, to activate the yeast.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, stir together flour and salt.
- Once yeast is activated, add the yeast mixture and olive oil to the flour, stirring until it just comes together to form a sticky dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a ball. Knead the dough for about 2-3 minutes until smooth. If too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time. (If using a standing mixer, use the dough hook to knead the dough.)
- Rub the large bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn it to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for 1 hour, allowing dough to rise.
- Make the Marinara Sauce: While the dough is rising, heat a small pot with the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir frequently, cooking for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Pour in red wine and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in tomatoes and blend together using an immersion blender (skip blending if using tomato puree). Bring to a boil. Add the basil and oregano, stirring into the tomato mixture. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until slightly reduced. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Assemble the Pizza: Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
- Turn risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down and using a rolling pin, roll out into a a flat disk shape of desired size and thickness. You can also use your hands to gently tug the dough into the desired shape. Place onto a greased or parchment paper covered baking sheet.
- Spread the dough with as much cooled marinara sauce as desired, and slices of mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove from oven and top with basil and freshly ground black pepper.