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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Traditional Margarita Pizza

The other day as I was lying in bed, pregnant and sick as can be. I tried distracting my emotionally drained mind and physically drained body, with one of  Rick Steves' Europe travel show on PBS. I love watching Rick Steves' and secretly wish I was a part of his camera crew or make-up crew or even his water girl, and could travel to all of the amazing countries and discover fun and food. This particular episode featured Naples. I had been there, over 11  years ago, and was interested to see where he would go and what he would see. Memories started to flood my brain and it was at that instant that Mr Steves' walked into THE most famous pizza place in Naples, in all of Italy I might say, to stop for a bite to eat. Oh my goodness! Pizzeria da Michele, I had been there and it was everything we had been told and more. 
We waited in line for what felt like centuries but once we ordered, sat down and were served it was a symphony in my mouth!!! You could say the restaurant is for pizza purists as the menu consisted of only two options of pizzas: margarita and marinara; much unlike our American pizzerias.
The pizza was so perfect they only needed two choices. When you are using the best and freshest ingredients why not limit the options and stick to what works best. The crust was perfect, not thick and not thin but so fresh. I ordered the margarita which came with a freshly made marinara sauce, tossed with fresh mozzarella and sprinkled with torn basil, then thrown in a fire oven and served pipping hot. At first glance you would be tempted to share the pizza with at least 3 friends since it was so big it hung over the serving plate at least 3 inches all around. But! Since the bread was not overwhelming and there was limited toppings it was not hard to finish the entire thing on your own...and that is exactly what I did!
After watching this episode I new there was only one thing I HAD to have for dinner...Margarita Pizza! And make it I did...consecutively for the next 3 days :)

Margarita Pizza

Dough (makes two medium pizzas or one thick crusted pizza)-
1 1/2 cups luke warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
3/4 tablespoon salt
3 1/4 cups flour

Tomato Sauce-
See recipe/previous post here

finely ground corn meal
Fresh mozzarella
10 or so basil leaves, sliced, divided
olive oil

Start by placing your water into a LARGE Tupperware container and add your yeast. Let sit for a few minutes then add your salt and stir. Add your flour and with a wooden spoon roughly mix together your ingredients just until all of your flour is mixed in. There is no need to knead your dough or over mix it. Place the lid on your Tupperware container then pop up one corner to allow for the gases from the yeast to escape. Let sit on your counter for at least two hours. At that point you can either make and bake your pizza or place your dough into the refrigerator to use at a later date, for up to two days.
Tomato Sauce-
Follow my recipe here for the BEST tomato sauce you will ever taste in your life!!
Once you are ready to bake your pizza, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. If you are using a pizza stone or pizza pan make sure that your stone/pan is in the oven while it is preheating. Sprinkle your pizza peal liberally with fine ground corn meal to prevent your pizza from sticking when sliding it onto your stone or pan. Take half of your dough from your Tupperware and form into a circle being sure to stretch it evenly. Place onto pizza peel. Spoon tomato sauce over dough and spread evenly. Top with slices of fresh mozzarella, sprinkle with 3/4 of your sliced basil and drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Slide pizza into oven onto stone or pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven with pizza peel, sprinkle with the rest of your basil and a few more drizzles of good olive oil, slice, and serve hot.

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