Sunday, March 6, 2011

Eh Mambo! Mambo Italiano!

Caio e benvenuto! Yes, as I'm sure all of you smart cookies out there have guess, we are entering Italy once again. Do you know why? Because it's Italy week here on Everyday Meals. That means 1 full week of colorful, delectable dishes from the pasta mainland herself. To kick off this glorious celebration, I have decided to make a little something called Pizza Margherita. We will start from scratch, making the dough and then move on to the actual pizza and ingredients. Here we go!

Pizza Margherita

For this dish, you will need:

(For the dough):
  • 1/2 ounce dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 9 fluid ounces hot water
  • 12 ounces white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
(For the pizza):
  • 6 tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, drained and sliced thinly
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Now we will begin with making our dough...
  1. Put the yeast and sugar together in a measuring cup and mix with 2 fluid ounces of the water. Leave the mixture in a warm place for 15 minutes or until frothy.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the salt and make a well in the center. Add the oil, the yeast mixture, and the remaining water. Using a wooden spoon, mix together to make a smooth dough.
  3. Turn the dough onto a floured counter and knead for 4 to 5 minutes until smooth.
  4. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a clean, damp dish towel, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Knead the dough for 2 minutes then stretch the dough with your hands to form a round. Then place it on an oiled baking sheet, pushing out the edges until even. The dough should be no more than 1/4 inch thick because it will rise during cooking.
Back to our pizza!
  1. After you have turned out your pizza dough and placed it on the baking sheet, arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices alternately over the pizza base. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with basil, and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the cheese has melted. 
  3. Serve!

There you have it. A simple pizza and dough recipe. Did you know, the red, white and green colors and ingredients of the pizza were created to honor Queen Margherita? This was in 1889. Her name literally means "daisy". Anyway, this pizza recipe can be the base for more elaborate pizzas. The choice is up to you. Conquer and eat my friends! See you all soon! Caio!