Pizza Margherita

Any pizzeria or a restaurant I go that serves pizza, I’d first try their Margherita. If they can get the margherita right, I can trust them with the rest. Besides, I just love pizza margherita 😀
I find the store bought pizza base repulsive! Might as well use a large slice of bread. So I decided to make my own base. It’s quite easy actually. Just flour, yeast, sugar, salt and warm water and yes, I forgot, patience as well because it involves letting the dough rest for 2 hours or more.
Margherita is the most simple and unassuming kind of pizza but so delicious! Just tomato sauce, basil and cheese. Could it be any more uncomplicated? Just make sure you have good cheese. You do get ‘pizza cheese’ in supermarket which is fine but try to get some good cheddar as well. Just a favorite, that’s all.
3 ½ cups flour
1 cup warm water (not hot please)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry active yeast
4 ripe tomatoes
1 small onion
1 pod garlic
Salt to taste
Bunch of basil leaves
1 cup shredded cheese (combination of cheddar and mozzarella)
For the dough, in a cup mix the salt and sugar in the warm water and then add the yeast. Let this sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. In a large bowl sift in the flour and add the yeast mixture. Slowly bring it all together. When it becomes tough to mix any further, tip it on a clean floured surface and knead the dough till it is smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and let it prove (rise) for an hour. After an hour, knock back the dough to deflate it and let it sit again for another hour. Now make about 4-5 portions of the dough forming balls. Roll or pat it till desired thickness of the crust.
For the topping, sauté finely chopped onion and garlic in hot oil till it changes color. Add the tomatoes and let it cook for 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Churn this into a sauce using your blender. It’s alright even if it isn’t smooth.
Top your base with the home made tomato sauce, randomly toss basil leaves (the more the better) on the sauce, and top it all with the shredded cheese (the more the better). Leave about ¼ inch from the sides of the base. Pop it into your pre-heated oven and bake it for 20 minutes at 200 C, or till the sides are brown. Out it comes and you have your very own pizza margherita from scratch! You can go crazy with toppings. The pizza base is your canvas!

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