Pizza Margarita

If you’re going to make homemade pizza, a good Pizza Margarita needs to be in your repertoire.  In this recipe video I show you how to make my version of this classic pizza.  It’s really where pizza started, and the simple flavors of great pizza sauce, creamy, fresh mozzarella and a crispy crust can’t be beat.  This recipe is a great one for date night, as just about everything can be done ahead of time, then put together and cooked in about 20 minutes.  While take out and delivery is great, don't shy away from homemade pizzas.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

What makes a great Pizza Margarita?  Just a couple things, and if you follow these key steps and you'll do just fine.

  1. As with all simple dishes, use great ingredients.  I like to use fresh mozzarella and cut slices to lay on the pizza.  Also make sure you use fresh basil – not the flakes
  2. I’m a big advocate of using a pizza stone – always pre-heated.  I think it gives the best/crispiest crust.  If you don’t have one, use the heaviest/thickest cooking sheet you have.
  3. I also make my homemade pizzas in an oven set to the highest temperature possible…500 or so degrees.
  4. Finally, I like to use polenta/grits to help slide the pizza from my cutting board onto the pizza stone.  The grits act like little ball bearings and help the raw dough slide more easily – otherwise the transfer from cutting board to pizza stone can be a real pain

Ingredients for Pizza Margarita (for two)

  • Homemade pizza sauce – two thirds cup
  • Pizza Dough - Don't make it; buy it from your local pizza shop - they've already sized it for small, med, large
  • One large ball of fresh mozzarella (about 12 oz)
  • One tomato - I like Roma
  • 5 – 6 medium size basil leaves
  • Dry polenta (or grits) to help slide the pizza
  • Flour to dust your hands & cutting board

Making the Pizza Margarita

  • Turn your oven all the way up, and pre-heat your pizza stone or baking sheet for at least 20 minutes, while you roll out your dough.
  • You need to roll out your dough (you can watch me roll out pizza dough here) so that it is about an 1/8 of inch thick.  You could go thicker or thinner, if you’d like, but I find this size works well for crispy crust, while still being fairly easy to roll out.  You will likely need to flour the dough to prevent it from sticking.  My homemade pizzas are never round – so don’t worry about that. Square, triangle, otagon...doesn't really matter
  • Before putting your rolled pizza dough on the cutting board, and putting on the toppings, spread a layer of the polenta on the board, then place the crust down.  That polenta will allow you to slide it off more easily into the oven.
  • Spread the pizza sauce over the dough using the back of a spoon.  The sauce should be evenly distributed, about half as thick as the dough itself
  • Slice enough ¼ inch pieces or “disks” from the mozzarella ball to spread around the pizza with 2 – 3 inch gaps around each, and place them randomly around the pizza
  • Slice 5 – 6 thin pieces of tomato and spread around the pizza dough; at times overlapping with the cheese
  • Spread the whole basil leaves throughout the pizza, I like them pushed down a bit into the sauce and sometimes overlapping the cheese.

Getting the Pizza in the Oven

  • The first time I made pizza, I found this step to be the most tricky.  With the toppings on the pizza, the dough is weighed down and doesn’t slide easily.
  • By putting the polenta down on the board, you essentially make little ball bearings that help the pizza slide more easily….I would not skip this step
  • Once the toppings are on, open up your oven and pull out the grate so the pizza stone is accessible.  With your pizza on the cutting board, tilt and shake so the pizza starts to slide down toward the pizza stone.  You want the far side of the pizza to slide off onto the far side of the stone.  Once it hits the dough will “grab” the stone a bit, and keeping the board titled, you should be able to pull away with little shakes leaving the pizza on the stone
  • The pizza will take about 10 – 12 minutes to cook.  It’s best not to open the oven as that lets heat out, and lengthens cooking time
  • Once the top is nicely browned, I run a fork or spatula under the crust to make sure it’s nice and crispy, and once it is, I pull the entire pizza stone out of the oven and set it on the stove top
  • I’ll then let the pizza rest on the stone for about 10 minutes.  That time allows the cheese and sauce to cool a bit – so you don’t kill your mouth, and also helps get the crust really crispy
  • Once it’s cooled off a bit, you ready to slice and serve.

Hope you have fun making your pizza margarita. Go ahead and leave me a comment and let me know how it goes.


Pizza Margarita

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