I’ve said my spiel on how to cook the perfect pizza at home numerous times before, so I will keep the details brief. If you are new and need to catch up, you should read this quick post first on some easy tips for making perfect homemade pizza. For this recipe I use a pizza stone. I heat the stone up for one hour in the oven at 500° F before baking. Then I throw the pizza in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes for the perfect finish every time.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I have a small confession to make. I’ve been making margherita pizza incorrectly my entire life. Well, maybe not entirely wrong, but with my own “personal variation.” When I typically make margarita pizza, I don’t use red sauce. Which I’ll be honest, joke’s on me because I actually thought this was the “classic” approach. Typically I use pesto sauce as a base instead of red sauce for loads of pesto flavor.
One evening I was craving cheese pizza with fresh mozzarella, red sauce, and maybe some fresh basil for a change. Patty thought we were making our usual margherita pizza and bought fresh tomatoes to slice on top—which we added because, why not? And there you have it, classic margherita pizza by complete accident. It’s different than our typical version but a classic is a classic for a reason.
Red sauce or not, you can’t go wrong with margherita pizza. A quick tip, use very thinly sliced tomato. Too thick and it will start to weigh you down and make the pizza too thick. Fresh mozzarella contains more moisture so keep toppings light so your crust stays crispy.
- 18-20 ounces pizza dough
- ½ cup pizza sauce
- 1 tomato, thinly sliced
- 6-7¼ inch slices fresh mozzarella
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ½ cup cornmeal, for pizza peel
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, for crust
- Garlic powder, for crust
- Oregano, for crust
- Preheat the oven to 500° F. Place the pizza stone in the oven and let preheat for one hour.
- Meanwhile, roll out the dough into a 12 inch crust.
- Place a small handful of cornmeal onto a pizza peel and spread evenly to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Transfer the dough onto the peel. Top with a light coating of evenly spread olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and oregano if desired. Evenly coat with pizza sauce leaving a ½ inch crust. Add the fresh mozzarella first and then top with sliced tomato and fresh chopped basil.
- Slide the finished pizza onto the pizza stone and bake for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to carefully watch the pizza because all ovens will cook at different rates. Sometimes it will only take 10 minutes to fully cook.
- Remove from the oven, let cool, and serve.