This margherita pizza recipe was formulated by Enzo Coccia from Naples, who is an encyclopaedia of pizza knowledge. He has perfected the art of pizza making and turned it into a science.
for the pizza dough:
300g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon instant yeast
180ml cold water
for the tomato sauce:
1 x 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the topping:
grated Parmesan cheese
fresh basil leaves
To make the pizza dough, place the flour in a bowl and add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other. Gradually add the water and mix to form a soft dough. You may not need to use all the water.
Turn the dough out on to an oiled work surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cut off a small piece of the dough and stretch part of it as thinly as you can. If you can see the shadow of your fingers through the dough (the light should shine through the dough like a window pane) without the dough tearing, it is ready to prove. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Make the tomato sauce by tipping the tin of tomatoes into a frying pan. On a medium to high heat, cook until the liquid has evaporated. Squash the cherry tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stir until you have a thick sauce. Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining sauce ingredients. Leave to cool.
Divide the dough into four balls, cover loosely and leave somewhere cool for 10-12 hours.
Stretch or roll the dough into thin 22cm circles. Place a circle on a piece of silicone so the pizza can be easily transferred to the oven later. If you don’t have silicone, a heavily floured baking sheet will also work.
Place a pizza stone or flat baking tray on to the top shelf in your oven and heat to 220°C/Gas 7. If your oven has a fan setting with grill, then use this but keep your eye on the pizza to avoid it burning. Place the pizza dough onto the hot tray and bake for 2 minutes. This will start to cook the pizza.
Remove the part-cooked pizza base from the oven and spread a little of the tomato sauce on the base. Add chunks of the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan. Drizzle over a little olive oil. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the base is golden brown and the topping is bubbling. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves just before serving.