Saturday, May 30, 2015

Margherita Pizza with Home-made Parmesan Basil Crust

I am so excited today for 2 reasons!
(I know you want to know why.)
Reason 1:  One week from today our local farmer's market will be open for the first time this season.  I wait the whole brutal winter  to stroll among tables and tables of fresh produce.  Most of it comes just from the south at this point...planting season has just begun in the upper Midwest...but I don't care because it will be great to be outside and plan my meals based on the "pickins" from the market.  Ok, so that's reason number one for my abounding enthusiasm today.

Reason number 2 for my excitement level:  
this Margherita Pizza with Home-made Parmesan Basil Crust.
The flavor of this crust is so good.  The toppings may seem simple, but they are the perfect compliment.  I get excited over food (strange?) and this pizza is worthy!

Making your own crust is totally therapeutic.
So if you are feeling stressed, this pizza is for you.  Really, if you breathe air, Margherita Pizza is for you!  Ha!

Each Margherita Pizza is sized so that you have your own personal pizza.
Fresh mozzarella cheese and tomatoes top each Parmesan basil crust.

Let's start with the pizza crust.

Ingredients for Parmesan Basil Crust:
1 packet quick rise yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dried Parmesan
2 Tbsp dry basil
1 tsp garlic salt
In a large bowl, place the yeast.  Pour the warm water, honey and olive oil on top of the yeast.  Stir slightly and then let the yeast activate for 5 minutes.  Stir in flour, Parmesan, basil and garlic salt.  When combined, knead dough for 2 minutes.  Cover dough in plastic wrap and a damp dough.  Let rise covered in bowl for 1-2 hours. 
After rising has completed, divide dough into 6 wedges.  Shape into flat circles with your hands.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake dough on an ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes.

Now for the toppings.

Ingredients for Margherita Pizza:
6 Parmesan Basil Pizza Crusts
1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
olive oil from brushing on crusts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Crush drained tomatoes in a large bowl.  Add olive oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes and salt.  Top each pizza with the crushed tomato sauce mixture and thin slices of mozzarella.  Brush edges of pizza with some olive oil.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes are until cheese is melted.  Serve warm.

Something to be excited about, right?
Making your own pizza is always a good thing!
With the summer coming, make the pizza dough early in the afternoon with the kiddos.  Go to the pool for a few hours, return and whip up that pizza.  Summer fun!

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Celebrate the little things that make life sweet,

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