Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Royal Pizza



My mother jokingly refers to herself as Queen Donna.  Okay, maybe not so jokingly.  I called her to ask if I could blog about her being the Queen, she said, "sure, because I am the Queen."  It all started out when she was a kid.  She made her younger sister call her Queen Donna or Her Majesty. She would tell her sister to go get her a Coke and she needed two ice cubes, not one, not three.  If it was wrong, she'd make her sister go back and do it over.  While it's typical that kids do those kinds of things, you'd think she would have grown out of it.  But she didn't.  She's still Queen Donna, ha ha.

So what brings me to tell you this story is Margherita Pizza. It doesn't have anything to do with Queen Donna, but it has everything to do with Queen Margherita of Italy.  The Margherita Pizza was supposedly made in her name and the colors, red, green, and white, represent the flag of Italy.  It's really a simple pizza with quality ingredients.  The red is the sauce, the white is good, fresh Mozzarella, and the green is fresh basil.  I have to tell you, this was my first time eating Margherita Pizza, only because I am a total meat lover's fan. But I invested a little more money in better ingredients for this pizza, and it was well worth the investment.  It didn't break the bank, but it was a little more than I'd spend on a typical meal.  If you haven't tried it, you should.  You'll be glad you did.  And you can call yourself a queen if you'd like.

MARGHERITA PIZZA
FOR THE DOUGH:
1 packet highly active yeast
1 1/4 C warm water, about 110 degrees
2 T olive oil
3 to 3 1/2 C flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

FOR THE SAUCE:
One 28-ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes, undrained
4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

FOR THE PIZZA:
Fresh Mozzarella (usually packed in a little water and shaped like a ball)
Fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

For the dough, put the yeast, water, and sugar in a stand mixer and let sit it until a little frothy.  (If you don't have a stand mixer, it's okay.  Put it in a bowl and whisk.)  Add in the olive oil, salt, and 3 cups of flour.  Knead the dough until it becomes a ball.  If it seems sticky or too wet, add in the rest of the flour.  Place the ball in a large bowl sprayed with pan spray and cover tightly.  Let it rise 1 hour.  

Meanwhile, put the sauce ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Put the sauce mixture into a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook about 15-20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and gotten thick.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Divide your dough into 4 equal pieces.  Roll them out into oval shapes about 6 to 8 inches long.  Drizzle a little olive oil onto each dough. Spread 1/4 of the sauce onto each dough. Slice the Mozzarella into thin slices and place a few slices on each pizza.  Place a few basil leaves onto each pizza.  Let the pizzas rise for about another 20 minutes.  Bake the pizzas for 15-28 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown and the dough is done.