Pizza Margherita

This popular pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, in the late nineteenth century
to welcome Queen Margherita, the reigning monarch, who was visiting the
city. The pizza maker chose the three toppings, basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes,
in honor of the colors of the Italian flag, green, white, and red.

1 ball Pizza Dough (page 124)
Cornmeal for dusting
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
and drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup Marinara Sauce (page 124)
or store-bought pizza sauce
3 ripe plum tomatoes,
thinly sliced
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese,
thinly sliced and then torn
into 1-inch pieces
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Press and stretch
the dough into a round 12 inches in diameter. If the dough springs
back as you shape it, let it rest for 5–10 minutes, then continue.
Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 435°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly
with cornmeal. Place the dough circle on the prepared baking
sheet. Brush the entire dough round with oil and season
with salt and pepper. If using the sauce, spread it evenly over
the dough with a spoon, leaving a 1-inch border uncovered
on the edge. Sprinkle on the cheese, then top with the tomato
slices. Season again with salt and pepper.
Bake in the lower third of the oven until the crust is golden,
12–15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, drizzle
the pizza with a little oil, and let cool for a few minutes. Slide the
pizza onto a cutting board. Scatter basil leaves over the pizza,
cut into wedges, and serve hot.

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