nothing better than pizza

Pizza is the best.    I mean who does not like hot bread and melty cheese coming straight from the oven.  Making homemade pizza is super easy, can be topped with many different ingredients.... and is much more interesting than your local delivery.

We start at the basics with this simple pizza recipe. Once you feel comfortable with this one, go ahead and start getting creative-try marinated artichokes, olives, slices of salami, fresh sliced tomatoes or sausage, you can even change the cheese to goats cheese and add figs and arugula...and being totally decadent with a sprinkle of truffle oil.  

I always buy the fresh dough because fussing with pizza dough feels overwhelming.  Good, fresh dough can be found at Trader Joes though there are many others out there, or you can even experiment with flat bread.  I like to use whole wheat dough for the flavor (and to be a bit healthier) but take your pick.

 Pizza dough on tray, no need to make it too pretty

Pizza dough on tray, no need to make it too pretty

 Pour on a bit of tomato sauce

Pour on a bit of tomato sauce

 Finish pizza with cheeses

Finish pizza with cheeses

1 package pizza dough

½ cup tomato sauce (homemade or store bought)

3/4 cup grated mozzarella or more traditional type Italian pizza just sliced fresh mozzarella (buffalo or fior de latte mozzarella)

olive oil

fresh basil for garnish 

time.  15 minutes prep. 20 minutes cooking

level.  easy- though getting the dough to right shape sometimes takes practice

serves.  6 to 8 pieces large, 0 for small appetizer portions.

1.  Preheat oven to 425-degrees

2.  Lightly oil a large baking sheet to prevent pizza from sticking

3.  Remove pizza dough or flatbread from package and place on baking sheet.

4.  For fresh pizza dough, begin to pull out from center either directly on the sheet or in the air trying to create a rectangular shape that fits on your pan.  It may be a little tricky at first but you can do it. And no worries if not perfectly shaped, the lopsidedness of the dough makes it more lovable.

5.  Once dough is in the rectangular shape, add the tomato sauce in a very light layer because too much sauce makes the dough soggy.

6.  Sprinkle the grated mozzarella all over the sauce, or place sliced pieces around as desired.

7.  Pop into the oven and cook until cheese is nicely melted and crust feels  slightly hard to the touch.  It should be no longer than 20 minutes.

8.  Take out of oven, slide onto a large cutting board.

9.  Squirt a bit of olive oil over pizza for some extra flavor (optional), add few basil leaves and cut into squares.

The pizza margharita was created in 1889 to commemorate the queen of Italy, yes Queen Margharita, on a visit to Naples.  The colors on the pizza of red, white and green represent the Italian flag.   Traditional Italian pizza is served in a round shape from a wood burning pizza oven.  Throughout cities in Italy, pizza al taglio (translated to cut pizza) or pizza rustica, is sold by weight and eaten as a snack in between meals and is usually rectangular in shape.  The first pizzeria in Italy is believed to be the Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba.  It was opened in 1830 and still operates today in Naples. 

To finish

Garnish with a few gorgeous basil leaves.

Cut into squares or bit size pieces depending on what you are doing it for as it is a great appetizer.