Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

A classic, homemade margherita pizza topped with easy, blender tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, red pepper flakes and lots of basil.

Friday nights have become a weekly pizza and movie night around here.  The tradition started with frozen Trader Joe’s pizzas interspersed with an occasional Friday night pizza pick-up, and a night “off” from cooking, but it’s morphed into all kinds of amazing homemade variations over the past 4 months, in trying to stretch our budget and our ability to make due with fewer trips around town.  I’m not ashamed to admit I now look forward to Fridays even more as we test different combos of homemade pizza, even though it’s no longer a night off.

Now that store-bought yeast is plentiful again and that challenge has been eliminated, the summertime heat presents a new hurdle for our weekly tradition: turning on the oven to its max temp when it’s 90 some degrees outside.  Enter this incredible grilled margarita pizza! (The oven still turns out a beautiful margherita pizza, so don’t shy away from this recipe if you’re not near a grill or not trying this pizza in the middle of summer.)

sliced and served Margherita pizza

With fresh basil now prolific, and tomatoes making their entrance into the season, we’ve fallen in love with this classic margarita pizza, adapted from Bonnie Ohara’s Bread Baking For Beginners. Here’s how to make it:

Make the dough:

Scale out your ingredients for more accuracy into four separate bowls, using small bowls for the salt and yeast, and larger bowls for the water and flour. Get the five-year-old to help and practice measuring with some big numbers! You’ll need 8 grams of instant or quick-rise yeast, 10 grams of salt, 375 grams of water (about 75 degrees warm, or warmer if your air temperature is cooler in your house…you want your dough temperature to be 76 degrees), and 500 grams of all-purpose flour. If you don’t have a scale, you’ll need about 2 ¼ t. instant yeast, 1 ½ t. salt, 3 ¾ cup flour, and 1 2/3 cup water. Since we’re in Colorado, we made some high altitude adjustments for the dough: reduce the yeast to 5 grams (1 1/2 t.) and increase the water to 400 grams (1 3/4 cup).

Pour the water into a large bowl and gently sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. You’ll start to see it activate as it swells. Let it sit for a few minutes. Pour the flour on top of the yeast & water, and lastly, add the salt.  Mix until well incorporated with a wooden spoon. It will be sticky. Let it sit for 20 minutes.

Make the blender tomato sauce: 

Pulse 1-pound cherry tomatoes (or 1-14.5-ounce can of no salt added diced or crushed tomatoes) with a scant ¼ cup of good extra virgin olive oil until it’s to your desired consistency. Add ½ teaspoon of sea salt. 

Fold the Dough:

With your hands, fold the dough over on itself 8-10 times, turning it around as you fold. It will be sticky and messy, but you want to develop the gluten some. Let that sit, covered with a kitchen towel, for 1½ hours. 

Check the dough:

If it’s grown considerably and looks bubbly and well risen, you’re ready. If not, give it another 30 minutes. You can refrigerate the dough at this point until you’re about 30 minutes from when you want to eat.

Prepare your grill:

Heat grill to at least 450 degrees or preheat your oven to 450 or hotter (lowest oven rack setting) and place your pizza stone in the grill or oven while it heats. Your stone should be on grill or in the oven at temp for at least 30 minutes.  

Shape your dough:

Working on a generously floured counter, divide dough in half and work with the first half. Shape into a ball with your hands and flatten on the counter, making sure it won’t stick to the counter while it rests. Shape the second half of the dough into a ball, and then gently flatten into a disc shape as well. Place a floured towel over the shaped discs to rest for 30 minutes while your grill/oven heats.

Flour a pizza peel or the back of a large cookie sheet.  Lift the first disc in your floured hands and spread it gently on the peel, making a bigger circle and forming a crust around the edge by dimpling around the outside with your fingers.  Pick up the dough and stretch it over your fists, alternating and letting gravity stretch it, being careful not to let it get too thin in the middle.  You want to stretch it to a diameter of about 12 inches before placing the dough onto the pizza peel. Give the dough a little shake on the peel to ensure it will slide off onto the grill easily. If it doesn’t move easily, lift the edges and add more flour underneath. 

Top your pizza:

Spoon the tomato sauce over the dough, followed by the fresh mozzarella, red pepper flakes, fresh basil leaves, and finally, a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse kosher or sea salt.

uncooked margherita pizza

Transfer to the grill:

Working quickly, slide your pizza onto the edge of the hot pizza stone on the grill or in the oven by giving it a little shake (a spatula can help guide the pizza).  Once the edge of the pizza is in line with the edge of the stone, pull the peel away quickly and your pizza should slide fully onto stone.

margherita pizza being transferred to grill

Grill/Bake your pizza:

Watch it closely. Ours took about 8-9 minutes, but it could take up to 16 minutes, depending on the heat intensity. 

sliced margherita pizza
sliced and served Margherita pizza
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Margherita Pizza

The perfect, pillowy crust + garden tomatoes & basil + fresh mozzarella. A delicious classic!
Prep Time2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 45 mins
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: grilled margherita pizza, grilled pizza, homemade pizza, margherita pizza, pizza
Servings: 6

Ingredients

Dough

  • 8 grams instant or quick-rise yeast 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 375 grams water 1 2/3 cup – about 75 degrees, or warmer if your kitchen is cool (you want your dough temperature to be 76 degrees
  • 500 grams all-purpose flour about 3 3/4 cups
  • 10 grams salt 1 1/2 teaspoons

Fresh Tomato Blender Pizza Sauce

  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes or 1-14.5 ounce can of no salt added diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil scant (a little less)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Pizza Toppings

  • fresh mozarella
  • sea salt to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves or to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste

Instructions

  • Scale out your ingredients for more accuracy into four separate bowls, using small bowls for the salt and yeast, and larger bowls for the water and flour.
  • Pour the water into a large bowl and gently sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. You’ll start to see it activate as it swells. Let it sit for a few minutes. Pour the flour on top of the yeast & water, and lastly, add the salt.  Mix until well incorporated with a wooden spoon. It will be sticky. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make your tomato sauce. Pulse 1-pound cherry tomatoes (or 1-14.5-ounce can of no salt added diced or crushed tomatoes) with your olive oil until it’s to your desired consistency. Add ½ teaspoon of sea salt. 
  • With your hands, fold the dough over on itself 8-10 times, turning it around as you fold. It will be sticky and messy, but you want to develop the gluten some. Let that sit, covered with a kitchen towel, for 1½ hours. 
  • If it’s grown considerably and looks bubbly and well risen, you’re ready. If not, give it another 30 minutes. You can refrigerate the dough at this point until you’re about 30 minutes from when you want to eat.
  • Heat grill to at least 450 degrees or preheat your oven to 450 or hotter (lowest oven rack setting) and place your pizza stone in the grill or oven while it heats. Your stone should be on grill or in the oven at temp for at least 30 minutes.  
  • Working on a generously floured counter, divide dough in half and work with the first half. Shape into a ball with your hands and flatten on the counter, making sure it won’t stick to the counter while it rests. Shape the second half of the dough into a ball, and then gently flatten into a disc shape as well. Place a floured towel over the shaped discs to rest for 30 mins.
  • Flour a pizza peel or the back of a large cookie sheet.  Lift the first disc in your floured hands and spread it gently on the peel, making a bigger circle and forming a crust around the edge by dimpling around the outside with your fingers.  Pick up the dough and stretch it over your fists, alternating and letting gravity stretch it, being careful not to let it get too thin in the middle.  You want to stretch it to a diameter of about 12 inches before placing the dough onto the pizza peel. Give the dough a little shake on the peel to ensure it will slide off onto the grill easily. If it doesn’t move easily, lift the edges and add more flour underneath. 
  • Spoon the tomato sauce over the dough, followed by the fresh mozzarella, red pepper flakes, fresh basil leaves, and finally, a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt.
  • Working quickly, slide your pizza onto the edge of the hot pizza stone on the grill or in the oven by giving it a little shake (a spatula can help guide the pizza).  Once the edge of the pizza is in line with the edge of the stone, pull the peel away quickly and your pizza should slide fully onto stone.
  • Watch it closely. Ours took about 8-9 minutes, but it could take up to 16 minutes, depending on the heat intensity. 

Notes

  1. Recipe adapted from Bonnie Ohara’s Bread Baking for Beginners
  2. High altitude adjustments! Reduce the amount of yeast to 5 grams (about 1 1/2 teaspoon), and increase the water to 400 grams (about 1 3/4 cups).


4 thoughts on “Margherita Pizza”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating