Friday, October 29, 2010

Margherita Pizza: The Cure for Thursday Night Dinner Blues

Last night, I had a friend over for dinner. It was a casual night and I wasn't really in the mood for my usual all-hands-on-deck full out dinner involving multiple pots and pans and a couple of hours to prepare. I just wanted something simple.

Looking through my frig, I realized I had all the ingredients for Margherita Pizza (tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese). I've made this before and it was so good that I declared it The World's Best Pizza, but even for a casual dinner, I love trying new recipes and attempting to top my previous best. Thanks to the World Wide Web, I was able to do that in about 15 minutes.

Because this pizza was so good, I thought I'd share it with you. It's quick and easy, vegetarian, and everyone will love it. Keep in mind that I don't measure anything; I cook to taste. My notes are in italics. Note that this pizza does not have a traditional sauce, so it's important that the toppings really stand out. I'm just sorry I don't have a picture because it was gorgeous.

Margherita Pizza

2 T olive oil (This will depend on how many tomato slices you are using. I covered them and then added more.)
Sliced Roma Tomatoes (I used 1 large Beefsteak Tomato, sliced into 12 or so slices I think)
1 clove Garlic (We like garlic, so I used 3 or 4 medium-sized cloves)
1/2 t Salt (I don't like salt, so I used a very quick dash)
2-3 shakes Balsamic Vinegar (I added this ingredient because I thought it would be good. It was)
1 store bought pizza crust (I used the large Boboli crust)
Fresh sliced Mozzarella Cheese
Basil leaves (5-6, cut into julienne strips) (I left them whole and used probably 18, enough to cover the pizza, but not touching or overlapping)
1/4 c fresh shredded Parmesan Cheese

1. Combine Olive Oil, Tomatoes, Garlic, Salt, and Balsamic Vinegar into a bowl and let it marinade for 20 minutes (mine sat for an hour at room temp).
2. Brush the pizza dough with olive oil (I was quite generous with this). Top with a layer of Mozzarella Cheese (lightly). Add the Tomato slices on top of the cheese. Drizzle with olive oil (I used my left over marinade).
3. Bake in a pre-heated 500F oven for 8-10 minutes (I cooked it for 4 minutes, then added my basil slices and put it back in the oven for another 4 minutes) on a pizza stone or pizza pan (stone is better, but I didn't have either so I used a large cookie sheet). Cook until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
4. Remove from oven, top with Parmesan Cheese and Basil. Let cool on wire rack for 2-3 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

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