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Margarita Pizza

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse.

A couple days ago, I received a large bunch of fresh basil and was trying to brainstorm what to make with it.  I ended going Italian and taking a shot at Margarita Pizza (aka Pizza Margherita).  This is a dish that was originally made for Queen Margherita of Italy, which consists of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil (representing the three colors of the Italian flag).  Since the ingredients are fairly minimal, the key to a good Margarita Pizza is highlighting the freshness of each component.


Sauce (makes 3 cups):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
4 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 tablespoons red wine
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
Kosher salt and pepper 

6 ounces cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper

16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced to 1/2" slices
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated

10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded


Two days in advance, prepare the pizza dough and let rest in the refrigerator.

For the sauce, place a medium sauce pan over medium heat and heat the olive oil.  Add the red onion and garlic, and cook for about five minutes.  Deglaze the pan by adding the red wine, and then add the tomatoes and basil.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low for 30 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Let the sauce cool, and then use a food processor or blender to reach the desired consistency.  [Side note:  this recipe makes roughly three cups of sauce, which is enough for 8 to 10 pizzas.  Feel free to freeze what you don't use].

When you're 30 minutes away from putting the pizzas in the oven, begin preheating your pizza stone and forming your pizza dough using my standard pizza procedure.

Lastly, half your cherry tomatoes and toss with oregano, salt, and pepper.

Top each pizza with roughly 1/3 cup sauce, half of the Parmesan and mozzarella, and half of the cherry tomatoes.  Bake using the previously linked procedure for 8 minutes, or until the cheese is just starting to brown.  Right before serving, garnish with basil (if you bake with the basil or let it sit on the warm pizza for too long, it will brown quickly).

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