Welcome to Pizza Margherita heaven. Where you will eat this pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner for eternity. For realzzz.
There are several points worth mentioning about this pizza. It’s delicious. It’s pretty. It’s meatless (which I do 1-2 times/week). My kids and my meat-&-potatoes-loving-husband like it. And I use pre made pizza dough (gasp).
Remember the part about quick, easy, family meals on this blog? That’s where pre made pizza dough comes in. I know it’s easy to make your own but the trouble/BEAUTY is…. I found this incredible pizza dough in Edmonton at the Italian Centre Shop (see notes). It is in the frozen section and you get 4 pre made mounds of dough for $5.
So I usually grab a couple packages to throw in the freezer and I always have it on hand for a quick family pizza night or for last minute guests. Or you can make breadsticks to dip in marinara sauce, which truthfully I just came up with now and haven’t actually done, but it sure sounds like a darn good idea. Other options for a quick dough would be Pillsbury pizza dough and I have also seen frozen pizza dough at Sobeys (although I have never tried that).
Once you have found your perfect dough, whether purchased or homemade, give this version a try. The flavours are fresh and clean tasting. You will want to use nice, firm Roma tomatoes and fresh basil for optimal flavour. Everything melds together into perfect pieces of pizza heaven. I make this again and again, and I hope you’ll give it a try!
1 Pizza dough
3-4 fresh Roma tomatoes, sliced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, freshly ground
Your favourite pizza sauce (I like Catelli)
1-2 cups Shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Using a pizza stone is highly recommended. Heat pizza stone in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes while preparing the pizza. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use an inverted baking sheet.
2. Place sliced roma tomatoes and minced garlic in a small bowl of olive oil. Sprinkle with freshly grated sea salt and pepper and let sit on the counter for 15 minutes.
2. Place a large sheet of parchment paper over a pizza paddle (or a “floppy” cutting board, if you don’t have a paddle). Spread a light layer of cornmeal or flour to prevent sticking. Using a rolling pin, spread the pizza dough, working from the centre to the edge, into a large round circle, being careful to spread it evenly but not too thin.
3. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce on the dough, leaving about a half an inch on the edges. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and place the tomatoes evenly on the pizza. I like to drizzle the olive oil/garlic mix that the tomatoes were sitting in on top of the entire pizza, but be careful not to pour on too much or it will be soggy.
4. Take the hot pizza stone/baking sheet out of the oven and using the pizza paddle/cutting board, slide the pizza (including the parchment paper if you wish to make it a little easier) carefully onto the hot pizza stone (if you are really talented, you will use the paddle and slide the pizza – without parchment paper – directly onto the stone, which is still in the oven). Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are crispy and slightly browned and cheese is hot and bubbly.
5. While the pizza is in the oven, take your fresh basil leaves and roll up tightly. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls up into several strips. Once pizza is done cooking, add the strips of basil to the hot pizza. Slice up and serve!
1. If using another brand of pizza dough that comes with it’s own set of instructions, use those directions for the dough (i.e. I believe Pilsbury has you bake the dough for a few minutes before adding toppings and then instructs you to bake it again).
2. As far as I know, The Italian Centre Shop is only located in Edmonton and Calgary. If you check it out, you’re in for an experience – it’s actually fun to shop there. While you’re there, check out the pre-shredded fresh mozzarella and the jars of authentic pizza sauce in the aisles!
3. A pizza stone really does make a difference in the “crispy-ness” and lightness of the pizza dough. The baking sheet does not produce the same quality results as a stone, but it does do the trick. If I’m ever cooking two pizzas at once (I have a convection oven, so I can do this), I’ll often do one pizza on the stone and one on a baking sheet.
4. Parchment paper is not necessary to this recipe, I just find it easier to transfer the pizzas from the paddle to the stone using it.
Homemade pizza is popular in our house and in future posts I will be sharing some of our other favourites, including BBQ Ranch Chicken and Thai Chicken. What’s your favourite kind of pizza? Do you make homemade dough or use a shortcut, like me?