Friday Night Pizza and a Movie: Eat, Pray, LoveAngie McGowan
It’s Friday Night and time for pizza, but forget the take-out. This homemade pizza, inspired by the pizza in Eat, Pray, Love is my version of a homemade Margherita pizza at home. The pizza featured in the movie was a Margherita pizza from the great Da Michele in Naples, Italy. These type of pizzas are cooked in high- temperature wood burning ovens to get a very crispy crust. I’ve heard many Italians like their crust so crispy, it’s on the verge of being burnt. To get this effect, I turn my oven to the highest temperature, which is 550 degrees, yours may be anywhere from 450 and up. The higher you can go, the better. Then I leave my pizza stone in the oven while it is preheating. To make sure it is good and hot, I let it preheat for at least 30 minutes before using. Then I pre-bake the crust until it is golden, add the toppings, and finish baking. This makes a pizza as close as I have found to a Margherita, outside of seeking out your local pizzeria with a wood burning stove, or going to the extreme and flying to Italy.
You’ll also want to to check out our round up of 20 delicious pizza recipes here.
I do sometimes add peperoni to my pizza, like the pizza I made today in the photo above. It is not traditional, but is just our own personal taste. Feel free to make this pizza your own by adding one or two of your favorite toppings. Don’t worry the Margherita pizza police won’t come knocking on your door because you aren’t following traditional Italian cooking methods.
Homemade Pizza Recipe
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast, or 1 packet
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
a few tablespoons cornmeal for stretching out the dough
1 – 6 oz can tomato paste, I like Cento brand
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon Italian Blend dried seasonings (oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, and sage) (Or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
a little pinch of red pepper flake, optional
1 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced, buffalo is best
a large handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
4 – 5 Roma tomatoes, sliced
2 – 3 cloves garlic sliced very thin
a very slight drizzle of olive oil (I omit this if I add peperoni)
peperoni, optional (I usually add but it is not traditional)
Parmesan, freshly grated
1. In stand mixer, add salt, yeast and warm water. Mix well to combine. Add oil. Add flour, a little at a time, until dough just starts to pull away from the bowl. Then use the kneading attachment and knead for 10 – 15 minutes. When the dough is done, it will be much wetter than you think it should be. Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray and transfer dough to bowl. Spray top of dough with non-stick spray and cover well with plastic wrap.
2. Put the dough in a warm environment and let it double in size. If you have the time, proof it in the refrigerator by letting it double in size for 1 day. However, I am usually impatient and use my oven by for proofing. I place a large bowl on the bottom rack full of hot tap water and the dough on the top rack. Let the dough double in size, about 2 – 3 hours.
3. When the dough has doubled in size, remove from oven and preheat oven and a pizza stone to it’s highest temperature. Prepare sauce. Add ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer until thickened, and it’s ready. Sprinkle work surface with cornmeal. Spread dough out and transfer to hot stone, being careful not to burn yourself. Bake pizza dough until it starts to turn golden brown on the edges, then remove. Add sauce, Parmesan, mozzarella, garlic, olive oil and tomatoes.
4. Bake pizza until cheese is melted and is just starting to brown. Remove and add fresh basil. Cut and serve.