Pizza Margherita is a delicious Italian (Neapoletan) pizza, having only tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil as toppings (and sauce). It is a simple pizza, yet a very delicious one. Try it at home with this recipe, and you’ll see why sometimes less is more.
According to the legend, pizza Margherita was created in Naples at the end of the 19th century, in honor of the than Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. Pizza Margherita has the colors of the then unified Italy: red (tomato), white (mozzarella), and green (basil).
Tips For Making Authentic Pizza Margherita
- Amounts in this recipe yield 1 large pizza Margherita.
- You need 280 g (10 oz) of dough for a regular size pizza, and 140 g (5 oz) for a small pizza.
- If you are making more then one pizza, cut the dough into equal sizes, about 10 oz or 280g each and form a ball for each one of your pizzas.
- For the best pizza Margherita experience, use fresh basil leaves.
- You can put the basil leaves on your pizza before baking it, or you can place them fresh right after you’ve taken the pizza out of the oven. Baked basil leaves will turn grayish. For best results use both methods, putting a few basil leaves on the pizza before and after baking.
- In your baked pizza Margherita, you want to see the white color of mozzarella. Use big chunks of the cheese for this effect. If you can find it in your local grocery store or online, use mozzarella di buffala (water buffalo mozzarella) for the most authentic experience.
- I like to bake Pizza Margherita for slightly less time than other types of Italian pizza. This way the mozzarella won’t melt completely into the tomato sauce, and it will preserve it’s whitish color.
- Don’t add anything else, especially canned pizza sauce. Authentic pizza Margherita is that simple: tomato; mozzarella; basil leaves.
- See my pizza dough recipe for more details.
- Also learn how to shape your pizza at home.
Extra Tip For Crispier Pizza Margherita
Mozzarella, especially water buffalo mozzarella, has a high water content. Take your mozzarella balls out of the packaging 1 hour before preparing your pizza Margherita.
Squeeze out some of the moisture, and place the cheese ball in a strainer. This way excess moisture can drain off your mozzarella, and it won’t soak your pizza dough.
- 10 oz pizza dough 280 g
- 4 tbsp tomato purée (passata) 66 g
- extra virgin olive oil a few drops
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- 1 pinch salt
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese 175 g, preferably mozzarella di bufala
- 10-12 fresh basil leaves
- Preheat your oven to the highest heat possible.
- Form a ball from the pizza dough. Start by making a circular motion with the palm of your hand, with some pressure. Then release the pressure gradually until you get a nice ball shape. Put your pizza dough balls on a lightly floured work surface. Dust them with some more flour, and let them proof covered with a kitchen towel for another 15 minutes.
- Shape your dough to form a large, thin disk and place it in a pizza pan.
- Put your tomato purée (passata) on top of your pizza dough, in the middle. With a back of a spoon or a ladle, using circular motions towards the edges, make sure the tomato covers your pizza dough. Leave an edge about 1 inch (2-3 cm) thick.
- Drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle some dried oregano and salt.
- Spread larger chunks of fresh mozzarella over the tomato purée.
- Add a few leaves of fresh basil.
- Transfer your pizza Margherita into the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned but you can still see the white color of the mozzarella.
- To get the nice vivid green color, and of course to add more flavors, top your baked pizza with some more fresh basil leaves.