If you've been through my previous posts on pizzas, you well know how much I love my pizzas loaded with toppings. Ironically, much against my liking, a vital element of a good pizza is not overloading the pie with toppings. Less is definitely more on pizza. And with thin, crisp crusts like this one, I can well assure that. :)
Pizza Margherita has been catching quite an attention from long. Every time I look up the pamphlet to place an order, Margherita calls out to me. But then, only tomato, basil loaded stuff doesn't appeal either, right? Is it just the name? I am not sure. I push the thoughts for a next time and go ahead for fancier toppings.
Something impelled me to make this classic pizza at home. First the recipe from the cookbook 'Vegetarian cookbook' said making this was a breeze and then Soma's blog compelled me further. I got down to making one of those classic recipes that's meant to stay the way it is. Did you know how Margherita Pizza got it's name? It is said that the Neapolitan chef, Raffaele Esposito created the Pizza Margherita, a pizza garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, in honor of the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. It was created to represent the colors of the Italian flag. Now isn't that pretty interesting how a simple pizza, laden with tomatoes and cheese alone can get an exotic name?
Pizza Margherita with Thin crust Millet flour pizza base
Homemade Pizza dough
1 tsp dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
A teaspoon of sugar
Salt to taste
1 cup flour mixture (Wheat Flour + Millet Flour in ratio of 3:1)
1 tsp Olive oil
1 cup tomato puree
4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp oregano flakes
1 tbsp fresh/dry basil leaves
1-2 tomatoes, chopped in rings (optional)
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Prepare Thin crust Millet flour pizza base:
In a mixing bowl, blend yeast in lukewarm water along with a teaspoon of sugar. Allow this to rest for 10 mins. This should be frothy by now.
Heap the flour mixture into a large bowl and make a pit in the center. Pour the yeast mixture, salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Knead gently to form a smooth, soft, slightly sticky dough. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for an hour like an oven until almost double in size. About 20 minutes before baking, punch down, knead a minute or two and then form into a ball. Roll out thin crust pizza base.
Prepare the Sauce:
To prepare the sauce, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic and oregano for a few seconds. Do not let the garlic brown, they should only sweat. Add pureed tomatoes. Boil till the sauce is fairly thick. Adjust salt to taste.
Assemble the Pizza:
Spread sauce over thinly rolled out pizza crust, layer tomato rings (optional), sprinkle basil, good helpings of mozzarella cheese and finally a dash of olive oil. Finish with generous black pepper and a little salt. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 220 deg C for about 20-30 mins. Cut into wedges and serve hot.
The base follows a standard recipe with a substitution of millet flour instead of all purpose flour, making it a much healthier version. Count a few perks of home baking :) Millet flour is gluten-free, hence the dough would have less elasticity; don't expect it to behave the way all purpose flour would. I used a mix of whole wheat flour and millet flour in 3:1 ratio.
You can leave out the tomato rings, instead use roughly chopped tomatoes in the sauce. used dry basil leaves, however I suggest you use fresh basil if available. Basil and tomatoes marry well with each other and they are a combination made in heaven, making this pizza simple, yet bursting with fresh flavors.
What sounds like a tedious amount of work isn't actually any. It's wonderfully aromatic when you have the otherwise awful smelling yeast sitting in the oven converting a yeasty dough to a freshly baked crusty base topped with tangy cheesy tomato sauce and the entire house envelops with the charming smell of freshly baked rustic pizza. What an end to a Sunday evening!!!