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Pizza Margarita

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For the dough:

  • 11/3 cups warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the topping:

  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
  • extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • salt
  • fresh basil

Mix the sugar into the water and add the yeast. Stir once and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Mix olive oil and salt into yeast mixture and begin adding flour a little bit at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon. When it becomes too thick for the spoon, mix with your hands. Add flour until you have a soft, but not sticky, dough. Knead dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes. Coat the inside of a mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball inside, flipping it so that its entire surface gets oiled. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch to deflate dough, turn it out onto a countertop and divide it into the number of pizzas you wish to make. Knead each small piece until smooth and uniform and allow to rest for 20 minutes under a dish towel before shaping.

Preheat the oven to 500°.

Simmer tomatoes over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Shape each dough piece into a 1/4-inch-thick round and place on a cornmeal-covered baking sheet without sides. Put a thin layer of tomato and mozzarella on each round of pizza dough and sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the crust is golden. Tear the fresh basil onto the pizza and serve immediately.

Makes 2 12-inch or 3 9-inch pizzas.

Recipe courtesy of Italian Cooking & Living magazine.  Click here to view more delicious Italian recipes!

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