Sometimes the most delicious recipes are also the simplest, and that is definitely the case with margherita pizza. Here's my take on the iconic Italian masterpiece—with an extra dose of herbaceous flavor.
Tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil. That's all you need to make the most classic of all pizzas. (Well, that and some olive oil, salt, and pepper.)
Though you can certainly use any store-bought marinara or pizza sauce for this pizza, I highly recommend making your own (it only takes 5 minutes!) and stirring in a tablespoon of minced fresh basil. That way, you get a double dose of bright-green basil flavor, some cooked on the pizza and some raw on top.
Can't find fresh basil? In a pinch, fresh mint will work, or you could try fresh parsley, too. It's not a margherita pizza without the basil, but it will still be delicious.
Also, if it's summer where you are, you can swap out the marinara sauce for sliced fresh vine-ripened tomatoes. Just brush the dough with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some minced fresh basil, and tile on the tomato slices, keeping them in a single layer. Then, finish with the cubed mozzarella, another light drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper, and bake.
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (if using a baking sheet) or as high as it will go (if using a baking stone/steel; place the stone/steel in the bottom third of the oven before you start preheating).
- Make a batch of Super-Easy Marinara Sauce, stirring in 1 tablespoon of minced fresh basil leaves for an extra dose of herbaceous flavor. Measure out ½ to ⅔ cup of the sauce and set it aside; put the rest in an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze for another use. (It's great on pasta or as a dipping sauce for bread or pizza crust.)
- If you're using a baking stone/steel, turn the oven to Broil on high.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle, then transfer it to an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Spread the sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border all around. Top with the cubed cheese, then drizzle the pizza lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt and a grind or two of black pepper.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has browned in spots—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- Remove the pizza from the oven. Tear the fresh basil leaves into small pieces and scatter them on top of the pizza. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.