Pizza margherita

  • for 4 people
  • Takes 30-35 minutes to make, 30-40 minutes to cook, plus proving and resting
The tomatoes, mozzarella and basil of this classic pizza recipe are said to represent the colours of the Italian flag. Have a go at making your own at home.

Nutritional info per serving

Per serving: 463kcals, 22g fat (9.9g saturated), 18.9g protein, 50.6g carbs, 5.9g sugar, 2.2g salt

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2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
227g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
Good pinch dried oregano, plus extra for sprinkling
2 x 125g balls mozzarella, sliced
Fresh basil leaves, to serve
(sh)For the dough
225g strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing


1. Make the dough. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl; add the sugar and yeast. Measure out 150ml tepid water in a jug. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil and a little of the water. Lightly oil your hands and use them to gradually incorporate the flour into the liquid, adding more water until it comes together (you may not need all the water).
2. Dust your work surface with flour. Tip out the dough, scraping out any that sticks. Knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and soft. Put in a lightly oiled bowl and leave in a warm place for 1 hour until it’s double the size.
3. Meanwhile, make the topping. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and oregano and season. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until thick. Set aside.
4. Knock back the risen dough and knead briefly. Divide into 2 portions, roll each into a ball, place on a lightly floured work surface and cover with a damp cloth. Rest for 10-20 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to its maximum setting and place 1 or 2 large baking sheets inside. Stretch and shape each dough ball with your hands and a rolling pin until you have 2 x 20-25cm diameter pizza bases. Spread each with tomato sauce, then top with mozzarella, sprinkle with oregano and season. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bases are crisp. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.

  • You can freeze the pizza dough at the end of step 4, just put the dough in sealed freezer bags for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature before continuing. You could make 4 individual pizzas instead of 2 larger ones. Ready-made bases don’t come up to scratch, but if you want to cut corners, try pizza dough mix, with the dry ingredients weighed out for you. We like Sainsbury’s pizza base mix.
  • While a beer would be nice, a young, unoaked Italian frascati is the perfect match.

From October 2009

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