It was a warm summer night, the wind is blowing strong and warm breezes are flowing thru the house. The typical weeknight of appreciating the workday done, grateful for the beautiful weather, and ready to start the next experiment in the kitchen.
Tonight is Margarita Pizza night! I love this flavor combo…whether on a pizza or just a caprese salad version. Fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and fresh tomatoes – there is something very elegant in the simpleness of the ingredients.
I used a combination of roma and heirloom tomatoes to include varying tomato textures and flavors (would have been fun to find some of the multi-colored heirlooms – maybe another day).
Over the years we have made variations of this pizza and have experienced overly wet pizzas, with moisture pooling on top and the crusts a little soggy. Both the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella are naturally moist and can cause pools of liquid to form on the top of the pizza when it is heated. This time I let the tomatoes sit on paper towel for about 10 mins to soak up some of their moisture and it helped to eliminate as much of the moisture collecting on the top of the pizza.
We also added fresh shaved garlic. Why, you ask? I say – Why not?! I am a big fan of garlic and it compliments all of the other ingredients here and just added to this amazing pizza. I WILL be making this pizza again and again.
After pulling out the dough by hand and forming it, drizzled some extra virgin olive oil on top for the base. No sauce needed for this – keeping it simple.
In the herb garden this year, there is both green and purple basil and we used them both. In this preparation, I am not able to identify a difference in their flavor profile. I’m looking forward to uncooked uses for the basil to identify if they have unique flavors.
The Finished Product!
As with any pizza, everyone has a different definition for a ‘done’ pizza. I like my cheese browning and bubbly, where the teen, just likes hers cooked with very little brown on the cheese. The night of Margarita pizzas was also her night of straight up Cheese Pizza. It had the same crust and prep of the dough, just multiple white cheeses and when it came out, she did her own experimenting. Melted butter with garlic powder mixed in and brushed around the crust and over the top of her pizza. She was very satisfied with how it turned out, as was Eric and I. Pizza night success!
It’s early in the season and our basil leaves are still a bit small. When they get larger, I do cut them first before dressing the pizza.
(Makes 2 pizzas)
Pizza dough (home made or store bought**see note on store bought below)
2 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
6 oz shredded mozzarella
2 Roma tomatoes
1 heirloom tomato
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
3 cloves garlic, thinly shaved
1/4 cup fresh Basil leaves
For Crust: Butter, garlic power, onion powder.
Bring the homemade dough out to rest on the counter for 30 minutes and let come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 475°. Using a quarter sheet pan, flip over and butter the bottom side of the sheet pan. Then lightly shake garlic and onion powder on top of butter.
Using you hands (light flour may be needed on your hands), pull the dough apart and rotate until it starts taking the shape of your pan. Do not worry if you get a small hole, you can pinch the dough back together while you do a final form on the sheet pan. Lay the dough on the pan and finish shaping.
Start with drizzling 1 Tbls of olive oil per pizza. Using the back of a spoon, spread it around until you reach the crust line of the pizza. Do not go over edges.
For the toppings, do a base of shredded mozzarella, approximately 3 oz per pizza. Then scatter the tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and garlic. Top with just a sprinkling more of shredded cheese and finish with the fresh basil.
Bake in the oven 14 – 18 minutes, until it is done to your liking, for me that means the cheese is bubbly brown. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with a light dusting of kosher or finishing salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest another 2 minutes until it is firm enough to slice. Cut the pizza and enjoy!
Happy Pizza Time!
Note on Store Bought Pizza Dough: Make sure to read the directions on those doughs. Some may be very similar to this recipe, but others may require pre-baking the crust first or there may be other recommended baking temperatures. Follow their directions for the crust that you want.