Classic Pizza Margherita represents the colors of Italy with its ingredients of ripe red tomatoes, white Mozzarella cheese, and fresh green basil. This beautiful combination of vibrant colors from the simple, yet delicious, ingredients explains why it is a favorite of pizza lovers worldwide.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Rising time: 4 hours
Serves: 4 individual-size pizzas, 2 large or 1 sheet pan pizza
1-1/2 c. very warm water (110˚-115°F)
2 t. sugar
1-3/4 t. salt
1-1/2 t. active dry yeast
1 T. olive oil
3-3/4 c. flour + extra as needed
2 c. prepared marinara sauce
16 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 c. fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Add water to a large bowl, followed by the sugar and salt. Briefly stir and pour the dry yeast on top of the water. Allow to sit for a few minutes until the yeast becomes bubbly and active.
- Stir in the olive oil and stir to combine. Gradually incorporate the flour into the bowl using a large wooden spoon or your hands. Mix just until a slightly wet and sticky dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for at least 2-3 hours, or until it doubles in size.
- Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface and lightly coat your hands with additional flour. Drop the dough onto the prepared work surface and gently work the flour into the dough. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and form into balls. Cover and allow the balls to rest and rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with a piece of parchment paper and dust with flour. On an oiled surface, gently roll out each ball of pizza dough with a rolling pin, or use your hands for a more rustic-style pizza. Each pizza should be approximately 10 inches in size.
- Transfer the pizza crusts to the prepared baking sheets and evenly spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce on each crust, then top each with 1/4th of the sliced mozzarella.
- Bake until the pizza crust is golden brown, and the mozzarella is melted and bubbly, approximately 8-12 minutes. Depending on your oven size you may need to bake in two batches. If baking both baking sheets at the same time, rotate at the 1/2-way mark to ensure even cooking.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool for several minutes before drizzling with olive oil and adding fresh basil leaves to the top.
- Alternatively, you can make one family-style sheet pan pizza, increasing the bake time by 3-4 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and cooked through.