Pizza Margherita

For me, pizza needs a good quality thin base and tasty yet simple toppings – it’s a case of less is more.
I bought a pizza stone (basically a slab of granite) a couple of years ago and I find this really adds to the authentic pizza flavour. Simply pre-heat the stone in the oven at its top temperature before placing your pizza directly onto it. Bellisimo!

300g of strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon of dried yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
200ml of warm water
1 tablespoon of olive oil
100ml of passata
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
A handful of fresh basil
130g of sliced mozzarella
4 tablespoons of shaved Parmesan

For the base: put the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl and stir together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water and olive oil. Slowly bring the mixture together (I use a fork for this) in a circular motion until all the flour is mixed into the liquid. At this stage the dough should resemble thick porridge. Turn the mix onto a floured surface and with floured hands knead the dough well for five minutes or until you have a smooth and springy dough. Flour the top of the dough, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for fifteen minutes at room temperature.
To make the sauce: simply mix the passata, basil and chopped garlic together, season to taste and set aside.
Give the dough a quick knead and split into two balls. Roll each ball on a floured surface until they form large circles. The dough needs to be very thin as it will rise once in the oven. If you are not using a pizza stone, place the pizzas onto two floured baking sheets.
When ready to bake: heat your oven to 240ºc. Using the back of a spoon smooth the sauce over each pizza base, add the mozzarella and parmesan and bake for eight to ten minutes until crisp. Serve with a sprinkle of freshly torn basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

Other great pizza toppings include roast peppers and rosemary, ricotta and pine nuts or Parma ham and rocket.

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