Perfect Pizza Margherita // © James Baigrie

Let the dough for this pizza rest overnight for a chewy, slightly tangy crust. / © James Baigrie

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

There are three acceptable reasons to play hooky: gorgeous weather (wear sunscreen to avoid tan evidence), meeting your husband for "lunch" and mental burn-out. None of which applied to me today, but I ditched work anyway. I spent the afternoon at Matt Umanov's noodling around on guitars made by Bill Collings, from Austin (who happens to be the cousin of my sister-in-law), and falling in love with a piece of wood that far exceeded my annual dining-out budget (for my entire family, that is). Maybe that sister-in-law can put in a good word...

To console myself after walking out crestfallen and starving, I popped in to Keste pizzeria next door for just about the most delicious margherita pizza in the city. I think my version could be just as good, if only I had a wood-burning stove. Getting that crust just right was a true labor of love. I must have spent weeks perfecting the balance of ingredients, trying a multitude of flours, canned tomatoes and mozzarellas. The margherita is really just a jumping off point—a trip to the farmers' market can be a great inspiration for interesting toppings.

Purslane is awesome when it's available, as are baby kale, green garlic and nettles. It's a good thing I'm a better cook than I am a guitar player, because even if I tried REAL hard, I could never justify buying something so precious for myself. As it is, my husband bought me a gorgeous Breedlove guitar for Christmas, which (it turns out) exceeded my dining-out budget just a smidge. But I'm working it off by making pizza margherita for the family tomorrow night. SEE RECIPE »