Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Janna & Ina's Margherita Pizza

The culinary goddess Ina Garten and I recently collaborated to come up with one seriously delectable pizza. Perhaps a little more accurate, I took a pasta recipe of Ina's that I'm in love with and decided to convert several of the ingredients into a pizza.... without consulting her. So, that's a bit of a let-down. BUT, I do like this pizza enough that I would serve it to Ina should she ever choose to come over for dinner. (Anytime, Ina!)

You can bet your perky little bum that I'll be sharing that pasta recipe with you, but I want to do it proper justice with a blog entry of its own. Patience, grasshopper. 

K, let's get this show on the road, shall we?
Janna & Ina's Margherita Pizza
Makes 1 large pizza

1 ball of your favorite pizza dough, room temperature
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves freshly minced garlic (not the kind you buy in the jar that's already minced!) 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 16 ounce ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4" slices
2 medium vine tomatoes, sliced
3 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/4-1/5 teaspooon crushed red pepper flakes (optional. I opted out this time because my hubs is quite sensitive to spicy foods.)
quality grated parmesan cheese
12 fresh basil leaves, sliced julienne
freshly grated black pepper, for seasoning

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. If using a pan, choose your largest one and lightly grease and flour it.
Take your room temp dough and roll it out so that it's very thin and will fit your pizza pan or stone. Place the rolled-out dough onto the pan and bake it in the oven for 5-7 minutes. In the meantime, combine the olive oil, garlic, and kosher salt. 

If the crust has bubbled up, poke a few holes in it with a fork and gently press it flat. Top the entire surface of the pre-baked crust with the olive oil mixture. (You probably won't use all of it.)
Next add the mozzarella, followed by the tomato so that they cover the inner surface of the crust. (Depending on how big your pizza is, you may not use all the mozzarella.) Top with the thyme, and bake for about 8 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and the crust is golden brown.
Juices from the tomatoes may emerge and run while in the oven. If this is the case, simply dab the pizza gently with a paper towel to remove the excess juice. Season the pizza lightly with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Finally, top it off with with parmesan cheese (not too heavy), and the fresh basil.  Cut into slices and serve while hot!
Behold my favorite pizza I've ever made.  (If you want Shawn's favorite pizza I've ever made, check out this Ham and Pepperoni Stromboli.)


  1. looks soooo good! But its kind of confusing as to whether you are baking the crust for 5-10 min as mentioned at the top or waiting till its topped to bake fro 8 min...

    1. Hey, Vic! Thanks for asking. The answer is: you bake it both times. I've found that the time it takes for the mozzarella to melt usually isn't enough time for the crust to bake all the way through. So I almost always give my dough a bit of a pre-bake.