PIZZA MARGHERITA

by - 5:40 AM

In my travels researching Lidia’s Italy in America, I encountered many different kinds
of pizza across America, such as deep-dish in Chicago, a crackerlike pizza in St.
Louis, and the classic New York pizza pie. Pizza in Italy is quite different: it’s
usually a small pie serving one individual, often made with bufala mozzarella—
crisp in most regions of Italy, but with a chewy crust in Naples. I enjoy my pizza
most with a thin, crispy crust and bufala mozzarella, as in this recipe I’ve given
you, but the fun of pizza is trying all types.
MAKES 2 PIZZAS
1 batch pizza dough
½ to ¾ cup Marinara Sauce
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a pizza stone on the rack in the lower third of the
oven. (You can use a sheet pan or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet to bake the pizza if you do
not have a stone.)
Divide the dough in half, then form each half into a flat round and let rest on top of
your knuckles on both raised fists. Use your knuckles to pull out and stretch the round
into a thin circle. Place the dough circle on your work surface, and press it out as thin as
you can with your fingertips.
Place the dough circle on a piece of parchment on a pizza peel-paddle (or, if you do
not have a pizza paddle, slide the parchment paper with the pizza-dough circle onto the
back of a sheet pan). Spread half of the sauce on the dough, using just enough sauce to
dot about half of the pizza’s surface, leaving a lip around the edge. In the spaces where
you haven’t dotted sauce, lay half of the cheese. Drizzle with half of the olive oil. Slide
off the pizza peel or sheet pan onto the baking stone (or onto your cast-iron skillet).
Bake the pizza until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust is browned and
crisp on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and repeat with remaining
dough, sauce, cheese, and olive oil.
Pizza Stone
A pizza stone is usually a rectangular stone made of terra-cotta—it helps in baking a
good crusty pizza and focaccia, because it heats to high temperature and disperses the
heat evenly, cooking the bottom of the pizza evenly and crisply. A pizza stone should
not be washed, since it is porous—just scrape and brush off any remaining debris.

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