Classic Pizza Margherita

This Classic Pizza Margherita features slices of Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
This recipe is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching a movie!

This Classic Pizza Margherita features slices of Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. This recipe is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching a movie!Remember how I joked that Laura and I spent our honeymoon at the North Carolina State Fair?  Well, that’s not entirely true.  We were both in grad school at the time, and money was a bit tight.  Plus, Laura was in the midst of job hunting, so we decided to hold off an take a delayed honeymoon.  Best.decision.ever.  Seriously!  Laura ended up getting a job offer the week before our wedding, and we transitioned straight into moving mode.

This Classic Pizza Margherita features slices of Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. This recipe is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching a movie!8 weeks later, our house in Atlanta was sold, and we were driving north.  A long way north.  Settling into our new digs in upstate New York was a rough transition for both of us.  Laura had a new job.  I was at home toiling away on my dissertation.  And we were living in a little 1½ bedroom condo while we searched for a house.  It was a particularly rough year for snow, and the management company only plowed the parking lot about once every two weeks.  Add in the fact that our downstairs neighbors used a massive speaker (like the kind you see at concerts) as their coffee table and our next door neighbor was a DJ who “practiced” at 8:30am…yeah, we were ready for that delayed honeymoon!

This Classic Pizza Margherita features slices of Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. This recipe is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching a movie!On a late April morning, we quietly snuck out of our apartment (we didn’t want the neighbors to know we were leaving for 2 weeks), and headed out of town.  Next stop: Italy.  This was seriously the trip of a lifetime!  We traveled all over Italy taking in the sights, sounds and tastes.  Oh, I could write and write and write about the tastes of Italy.  But for the purposes of today’s post, I’ll limit myself to pizza.

We quickly learned that Italian pizza is so very different than American pizza.  Both delicious, but both different.  And we fell into a really bad habit of splitting a small classic pizza margherita as an appetizer before dinner each night.  Pizza plus a glass of wine?  Sounds pretty awesome to me!  Plus, you know the saying.  When in Rome…

This Classic Pizza Margherita features slices of Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. This recipe is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching a movie!I’ve mentioned before that Saturday nights are typically pizza nights in our house…especially in the Fall when there is college football on tv!  So the other night, I whipped up a batch of our rustic pizza dough.  Instead of making our traditional pizza with pepperoni and jalapenos, I opted for a classic pizza margherita.  As with many Italian recipes, this one is pretty simple…and therefore it’s worth splurging for quality ingredients if you can afford it.  For instance, I opted for canned San Marzano tomatoes instead of ‘regular’ tomatoes.  It cost an extra $2, but one spoonful of that sauce proved that it was definitely worth it!

This Classic Pizza Margherita features slices of Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. This recipe is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching a movie!And I can’t stop without at least mentioning the fresh mozzarella on this classic pizza margherita.  We were fortunate enough to have super fresh mozzarella (like made each morning fresh) on our Italy trip.  I grabbed some fresh mozz from the store, sliced it up and layered it on this pizza along with some fresh basil leaves.  Pizza success!  Enjoy!

This Classic Pizza Margherita features slices of Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. This recipe is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching a movie!

Classic Pizza Margherita

This Classic Pizza Margherita features slices of Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. This recipe is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching a movie!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 290kcal

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • 1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes, drained
  • tsp garlic diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 8 large basil leaves
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

For Topping Pizza

  • Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella sliced into ¼” slices
  • 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
  • 3-4 large basil leaves torn

For Herbed Olive Oil (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 460°. (Tip: If you have a pizza stone, place it in oven before preheating.)
  • To make the sauce, place all ingredients into food processor and pulse until smooth. (Note: This sauce is enough for several pizzas. Store leftover sauce in refrigerator for up to several days or freezer for up to several months.)
  • Stretch/roll pizza dough into a 16” round circle.
  • Brush the top of the pizza with olive oil. Spread ½ cup of sauce evenly on top, leaving ½” border on all sides. Top with sliced mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.
  • {Optional} Brush the outer ½” crust of the pizza with the Herbed Olive Oil.
  • Bake pizza for 12-14 minutes, or until crust is browned and cheese has melted.

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38 Comments

  1. I do love a good margherita pizza, or any pizza really. Ironically, its what I’m currently making for dinner tonight. Very jealous of your trip to Italy, I still haven’t been. My in-laws went a few months ago and still keep raving about it. While I do like ‘Italian’ pizza, I still prefer American style – make that NY style when I have a slice you gotta fold to eat! Looks delicious as always!

    1. No way! Guess we were channeling the same delicious thoughts with that margherita pizza the other night, Matt. I’m like you…I will never turn down a good pizza night! And yes, definitely put Italy on the list soon. You absolutely won’t regret it. (As long as you do what we did and split a pizza every night as an appetizer…hah!)

  2. Hi David! We just had pizza the night before last and now I want more pizza!
    In fact I ate the last slice of that pizza around midnight last night 🙂 We usually have pizza about twice a month, sometimes homemade and sometimes take out, just depends on how ambitious (or lazy) I feel! Happy pizza weekend!

    1. Yes! There is no such thing as too much pizza, Dorothy! 🙂 I agree with you…I’d say we do pizza about twice a month around here, too. Perhaps 3 times. And it’s usually on Saturday night while watching college football or perhaps a movie if my team isn’t playing. Hope you and Gary had a great (pizza-filled) weekend!

  3. I’ve never heard of using a large speaker as a coffee table or a DJ “practicing” at 8:30 am. I would be ready for that delayed honeymoon too. I’ve also visited Italy, and it was breathtaking, the sights the sounds and the food were out of this world. I got hooked on this chickpea crust pizza, OMG it was melt in your mouth, write home to mom, forget it I’m moving here kind of good. We tried pizza everywhere we went and were never disappointed. Gotta use fresh Mozz David! 😉 This pizza looks like the real deal

    1. Oh my god, Mary. That apartment situation when we first moved up here was terrible. And terrible is putting it nicely. So, yeah, we were ready for that honeymoon! Chickpea crust pizza, eh? That’s a new one, but I’m totally intrigued. And if you say it’s good, then I believe you! I need to try that! Thanks so much, my friend. Here’s to an awesome week ahead!

  4. Yes to the classic! As is that story about moving into that condo with the neighbors. Lucky you guys… practicing Dj, ha! This is my kind of pizza, too. I’m not a fan of the deep dish (sorry Jeff) and my Chicago experience was terrible. I love the kind with minimal, quality ingredients and near me here in San Diego is a place called Bronx Pizza. Thin crust heaven. I may hit that up tonight as Dave is off visiting his mom up North to work on a “honey do” list of things around her house for her. Have a great weekend and enjoy taking Robbie out for Halloween! Pictures please… 🙂

    1. Yeah…”lucky” us, Kevin. That DJ cranking up his “operation” at 8:30am every morning was just great. Let me tell you. I hope you made it out to Bronx Pizza this weekend…that sounds delicious! I’m like you with the deep dish. I didn’t hate it, but I certainly didn’t understand what the hype was all about. (*Ducks as Jeff throws a pizza at us.*) And yes to Robbie Halloween photos! I just got an amazing one this weekend, so I’ll have to squeeze it into one of the posts this week! 🙂

  5. You can never go wrong with a classic margherita pie! My hubby and I were just talking about pizza in Italy yesterday… Anytime I’ve been in Italy, I eat either pizza or pasta or gelato every single day (sometimes all three!). You just can’t beat it, but I love homemade pizza nights too. That tends to be Friday nights in my house – also with football involved 🙂

    1. Haha…I totally do the same thing, too, Nicole. Pizza + pasta + gelato is like an Italian trifecta. And it HAS to happen every.single.day. Because where else in the world can you get such amazing food so easily?? Hope you guys had an awesome, pizza-filled weekend!! 🙂

  6. Although tomato, mozzarella, and basil make the combo which is more associated with summer to me, I don’t mind. I will always have a place in my heart for the Italian cuisine. But David, I think you do not post enough Italian recipes on your blog. Let’s say…Italy has some fantastic Christmas treats. And guess what? Christmas is coming! I mean, challenge accepted?:)

    1. I hear ya about the summer combination there, Ben. But for me, pizza is totally a winter food. I mean we eat it in the summer, too, but a cold winter night curled up on the couch with a homemade pizza? Yeah, that’s hard to beat! So an Italian Christmas treat, huh? Sounds intriguing…and you know I love me some Italian food! 🙂

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Medha! We usually do jalapeno + pepperoni on our pizzas, but there is just something so alluring about a good margherita pizza! 🙂 Happy Halloween, my friend!

  7. “This recipe is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching a movie!”

    I read that as this recipe is perfect for curling lol! Oh man, I love it- A Margherita in Italy as an appetiser, not the main .

    Now who was that DJ….cray!

    1. Oh man, it sounds like you’ve been bitten by the curling bug, mate! Get on up here, and we’ll turn you into a curling fanatic, too! 🙂 Oh, and that DJ was a nobody. I’m pretty sure he ended up in jail before we moved out…

  8. I love homemade pizza and this is definitely a winner! What great memories of your trip to Italy and thank goodness you’ve moved away from the noisy neighbors. It’s amazing the things we have to do and the places we live when we were young! I remember one neighbor that I could hear snoring through the walls of our apartment during my college days!

    1. Yeah, we couldn’t wait to get away from those neighbors! We thought we had found a nice inexpensive place to rent while we searched for a house…what we didn’t realize was that cheap meant you ended up with less than ideal neighbors. Hah…I can’t believe you could hear snoring through the walls. Insane! Isn’t it nice being an adult sometimes? Haha! Hope you have a great Halloween, Kathy! 🙂

    1. I definitely think you need to start a designated pizza night…and I might suggest Saturday. After all, Saturday night is just meant for curling up on the couch with tasty pizza and a good movie…especially when it’s cold outside. 🙂 Thanks, Megan!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Jess! It’s really hard to beat a good margherita pizza. And that herbed olive oil is a game changer for pizza crusts. Do it! Seriously! 🙂

    1. That herbed olive oil crust is amazing, Dawn. Laura came up with that trick years ago, and it changed the way we view pizza crust! 🙂 Thanks so much!

  9. Oh man – I wish I had seen this on Friday or even Saturday (instead of touring KSU) as those were two nights we spent on the couch armed with The Purge. Nerve and Central Intelligence – and no pizza! Yes foodie parent fail – but University touring is tiring – especially tiring to stay awake during those long long boring speeches! 🙂
    David – when Lil Shashi and I were in NYC this past summer, I think we split a Margherita Pizza from Don Antonio By Starita about 5 out of the 8 nights we were there – so I cannot wait to try this – and – I cannot wait to hear more about the tastes of Italy through y’alls tastebuds!
    Hope y’all had a wonderful weekend

    1. Oh man, those college speeches. SO boring. But no pizza? What the heck? I thought college campuses were like made of pizza?? Haha! Mark Kennesaw off the list. Plus, we know Lil Shashi is coming up here anyways. 🙂 Thanks, Shashi!! Oh, and I need to try Don Antonio’s pizza. Next time I make it down to the city (who knows when that will be!), it’s on my list!

  10. Pizza with fresh mozzarella ,you can’t beat that. Your pizza looks so good David. Everyone at home loves pizza and pizza margherita is my sons favourite.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Ruwani! We often just use shredded mozzarella on our pizzas, but the fresh mozz really takes it to a whole new level! 🙂

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