Makes Two 13-Inch Pizzas
This pizza was created around 1890 for Queen Margherita of Italy and was said to be one of her favorites, so it bears her name. The rolled dough is topped with paper-thin slices of fresh plum tomatoes, chunks of creamy fresh mozzarella cheese, and whole leaves of fragrant, peppery basil. It is baked quickly in a hot stone oven and is a triumph of Neapolitan cooking.
1 recipe Pizza with Cresciuta
3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into thin rounds
2 cups diced fresh fior di latte mozzarella cheese
12 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Divide the dough in half and roll each piece out on a floured surface into a 13 1/2-inch round and place the rounds on lightly oiled 13-inch pizza pans. Turn in the overhanging edge 1/2 inch to form a rim. You can stretch the dough to fit an even larger pan if you wish. Place the dough on 2 wooden peels, dusted with cornmeal, if you plan to use baking stones to bake the pizza.
Brush each round with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Divide the tomato slices between the rounds. Divide the cheese and sprinkle it on top of the tomatoes. Divide the basil leaves and sprinkle them on top of the cheese. Divide and sprinkle on the salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.
Bake the pizzas for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top and bottom crusts are nicely browned. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
If using baking stones, preheat the stones in a 450ºF. oven for 20 minutes. Just before placing the pizza on the stone from the baking peel, sprinkle each stone with a handful of cornmeal. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust in nicely browned on the bottom.
This recipe is from NELLA CUCINA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1993.
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