Perfect Pizza Margherita

Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight, Grace Parisi found, results in a chewy crust with a slight tang. She's let hers sit for up to three days, which adds even more texture and complexity.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: makes four 13-inch pizzas
  • Time(Other): plus overnight resting


  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (90° to 105°)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 14-ounce can peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 32 large basil leaves, torn into pieces

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast with 1/2 cup of the warm water and the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water, the 4 cups of flour and the kosher salt and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead, adding flour as necessary until a silky, but soft dough forms. Use a pastry scraper to help knead the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and brush all over with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.

  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; punch down and divide into 4 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Rub each ball with oil and transfer to a baking sheet. Cover the balls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place for 1 hour.

  3. Meanwhile, set a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500°, allowing at least 45 minutes for the stone to heat. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill set over a medium bowl or pulse them in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in the oregano and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

  4. On a lightly floured surface, stretch one ball of dough into a 13-inch round; transfer to a floured pizza peel, adding flour where the dough sticks. Spread 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over the dough to within 1 inch of the edge. Spread one-fourth of the cheese over the pizza and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with sea salt and pepper and slide the pizza onto the stone. Bake until the bottom is charred and the cheese is melted, about 8 minutes. Scatter one-fourth of the basil on top and let stand for 3 minutes before serving. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.

Contributed By Photo © James Baigrie Published March 2007

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468898 recipes/perfect-pizza-margherita 2013-12-06T23:41:30+00:00 Grace Parisi test-kitchen|game-day|kids-party|italian|pizzas|8|staff-favorite|vegetarian march-2007 recipes,perfect-pizza-margherita 468898

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