Quick and easy homemade Margherita pizza is the answer to lunch on a summer day when it takes only about 45 minutes for pizza dough to rise. This pizza could be considered semi-home made since I’m using sauce from a jar.
Sauce from a jar, a small ball of fresh mozzarella sliced and a few fresh basil leaves sprinkled on after you bring it out of the oven.
I started making pizza dough long before you could buy it in the grocery store or at Trader Joe’s for a dollar. It was back in the 90s and my friend Lorna had just returned from living in New Zealand and was staying with us for a few days. She bought me The New Basics Cookbook and beside every recipe she tried and liked she added little star stickers. Naturally I trusted Lorna and made every recipe with a star. I love that you can make something so simple with just a few ingredients and it’s delicious.
I no longer need a recipe for pizza dough– it just comes naturally now. A packet of yeast mixed into a cup of warm tap water and stirred with a fork until it’s blended. Start with 1 1/2 cups of flour and add the yeast and water and mix together. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a 1/2 teaspoon salt and another 1- 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix togethers and dump onto a floured surface and knead with the the heel of your hand, turning it and over until it forms a ball. Place into large bowl that is coated with olive oil (a bowl large enough for it to double in size). Cover the bowl with a clean towel and set in a warm spot in the kitchen. In the winter time that may mean on top of the stove with the oven turned on low to keep it warm. On a hot summer day it takes only 45 minutes for the dough to rise.
Take the dough from the bowl and divide into two and form balls. Each will make a pizza that’s about 12 inches and can be cut into eight slices. Take each ball and flatten into a round disk that’s about 5″ wide and an inch thick at least. Spread flour on a clean surface and roll out to about 12″. Change directions so that it stays round. Sprinkle a thin coating of corn meal on your peel and place the dough onto the peel and then prepare it with your toppings. The corn meal helps it move easily from the peel to the stone in the oven. My husband likes to use a thin coat of olive oil that he brushes on before spreading the sauce. Another one of our favorites is this one with fingerling potatoes, but it takes a little more time.