For the Pizza Dough:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Pizza Toppings:
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Prepare the Pizza Dough:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water and active dry yeast. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.
- Add the flour, salt, and olive oil to the yeast mixture. Stir until a dough forms.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball.
- Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
Assemble and Bake the Margherita Pizza:
- Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while preheating.
- Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface into a circle or your desired pizza shape, about 12 inches in diameter.
- Transfer the rolled-out dough to a pizza peel or an inverted baking sheet dusted with cornmeal or flour to prevent sticking.
- Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the pizza dough, leaving a small border around the edges.
- Arrange the fresh mozzarella slices or shredded cheese evenly over the sauce.
- Tear the fresh basil leaves and scatter them over the cheese.
- Drizzle olive oil over the pizza, and season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- If you're using a pizza stone, carefully slide the pizza onto the hot stone in the preheated oven. If not, place the pizza on a baking sheet.
- Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
- Remove the Margherita pizza from the oven, let it cool for a minute or two, then slice and serve hot.
Enjoy your homemade Margherita pizza, a classic Italian favorite with simple yet delicious flavors!