Pizza Margherita

by Chef Daniel Morduchowicz

A well done pizza Margherita is simplicity itself: pizza dough, tomatoes, basil and cheese. Here the toppings should never overshadow the crust, which after all is the star of the show.

- Chef Daniel Morduchowicz


Main Course
Italian, American
Total Servings
8 slices (approximately)
Calories Per Serving
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 minutes
Resting time
No resting time (except for dough)
Total Time
19 minutes (excluding dough)


  • 250 grams pizza dough.
  • 0.50 cup olive oil
  • 2 or 3 basil leaves
  • 6 slices low moisture mozzarella or 140 grams shredded
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (made from a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes as explained below)
  • 1/2 cup of semolina flour


  1. Place a pizza stone or a pizza steel in the oven and preheat to 525 degrees, for at least an hour to an hour and a half. It is very important that the stone or steel absorb as much heat as possible
  2. Prepare the tomato sauce: blend the San Marzano tomatoes and measure 1/2 a cup. The sauce will be slightly acidic. To compensate, mix in small amounts of salt until your sauce tastes really well balanced.
  3. Flour a pizza peel lightly using a little bit of the semolina.
  4. Pour a large amount of the semolina on the dough while still inside your bowl.
  5. Invert the bowl and place the dough on the table. Create the border of the pizza by gently pressing on the edge of the pizza repeatedly until you have a ring all around the dough.
  6. Deflate the center of the dough gently making sure not to degass it completely.
  7. Stretch the dough allowing it to hang from your fingers. The dough will stretch with its own weight.
  8. Place on the peel.
  9. Spread the sauce. lightly, on the dough.
  10. Break the basil leaves into pieces using your hand, and distribute more or less evenly on the tomato sauce.
  11. Cover the pizza with the mozzarella slices, making sure the cheese stays inside the border.
  12. Make sure the pizza slides easily on the peel using a jerking motion. Lower yourself to the level of your oven rack and making sure the peel is totally horizontal, slide it directly on the stone or steel by making short but purposeful jerky movements.
  13. Bake until the crust browns and the cheese is bubbly.


  • Really good Italian food is always well balanced. The Italians think of the toppings or the sauce for a pasta as a condiment. You should top your pizzas keeping this idea in mind.
  • Popular legend was created in Naples to celebrate Italy’s unification, and named Margherita in honor of the Queen of Italy, the colors representing the green, white and red of the Italian flag.   However this is more than likely fiction, as there are indications that it was served well before. Some sources claim that it was named margherita as the arrangement of the mozzarella slices resembled the flower of the same name.
  • For NY style pizza Margherita we use blended tomatoes and low moisture mozzarella, which melts really well. (For Neapolitan pizza we would use crushed tomatoes, Fior de Latte mozzarella and a crust with thicker borders.)

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