Pizza Margherita is a delicious Italian (Neapoletan) pizza, having only tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil as toppings (and sauce). It is a simple pizza, yet a very delicious one. Try it at home with this recipe, and you’ll see why sometimes less is more.
According to the legend, pizza Margherita was created in Naples at the end of the 19th century, in honor of the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. Pizza Margherita has the colors of the then unified Italy: red (tomato), white (mozzarella), green (basil).
Pizza Margherita Recipe
Amounts in this recipe yield 1 large pizza Margherita.
- Preheat your oven to the highest heat possible.
- To make pizza Margherita, first prepare the pizza dough. You can use store-bought, but it’s so simple to make it at home. Please refer to my pizza dough recipe to make your pizza dough at home.
- Form a ball from the dough. Start by making a circular motion with the palm of your hand, with some pressure. Then release the pressure gradually until you get a nice ball shape.
- Put your pizza dough balls on a lightly floured work surface. Dust them with some more flour, and let them proof covered with a kitchen towel for another 15 minutes.
- Shape your dough to form a large, thin disk and place it in a pizza pan. Read my detailed instructions on how to shape your pizza dough by clicking on the link to get more help with this step.
- Put your tomato purée (passata) on top of your pizza dough, in the middle. With a back of a spoon or a ladle, using circular motions towards the edges, make sure the tomato covers your pizza dough. Leave an edge about 1 inch (2-3 cm) thick.
- Drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle some dried oregano and salt.
- Spread larger batches of mozzarella over your tomato purée.
- Add a few leaves of fresh basil.
- Transfer your pizza Margherita into the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. For more detailed instructions on how to bake your pizza in a wall oven, click the link.
- As you can notice, your basil leaves turn into almost grey in the oven. To get the nice vivid green color (and of course to add more flavors), top your baked pizza with another few fresh basil leaves.
You need 280 g (10 oz) of dough for a regular size pizza, and 140 g (5 oz) for a small pizza.
If you are making more then one pizza, cut the dough into equal sizes, about 10 oz or 280g each and form a ball for each one of your pizzas.
In your baked pizza Margherita, you want to see the white color of mozzarella, so use big chunks of the cheese. If you can find it in your local grocery store or online, use mozzarella di buffala (water buffalo mozzarella).
I like to bake my Pizza Margherita for slightly less time than other types of Italian pizza. This way the mozzarella won’t melt completely into the tomato sauce, and will preserve it’s whitish color.
Your pizza Margherita is ready. Take it out of the oven, let it rest for a minute, and serve warm. Enjoy!
Extra Tip For Crispier Pizza Margherita
Mozzarella, especially water buffalo mozzarella has a high water content. Take your mozzarella balls out of the packaging 1 hour before preparing your pizza Margheriita.
Squeeze out some of the moisture, and place the cheese ball in a strainer. This way excess moisture can drain off your mozzarella, and it won’t soak your pizza dough.