Pizza Margherita

Prep time: 2 hours 40 min 
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 3 hours
Yield: 2/3 servings (2, 16 inch diameter Pizzas)

Ingredients
  • 1 Pizza Dough
  • 12 oz water
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 16 oz Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 3 leaves Basil
To prepare the dough please use my recipe clicking here. Keep in mind that the dough needs at least two hours to rise, so if you decide to make Pizza for dinner you have to plan in advance. I usually prepare the dough right after lunch and let it rest throughout the afternoon. Or you can buy ready made dough.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 400°F. You should have your dough all risen and ready to rock. Very well, take it out of its bowl, or pack, and knead it until you have a smooth ball. Sprinkle the surface you’re working on with flour.
  2. Start kneading the dough in a flatter round form squishing it with your hands and finger. When it’s flat enough spread it with a rolling pin. I would love to be able to spread the dough by making it fly above my head as they do in Italy, but for us mortals rolling pin it is. Roll until you reach your desired thickness (0.2-0.4 inches ideally).
  3. Place the flattened dough on a pizza pan. This is key, do this before you add the toppings or it will end in tragedy. When I forget and have to move the already garnished Pizza it’s hell. I line the pan with parchment paper because it happened before that even if the pan was nonstick the pizza did stick. 
  4. If the dough is larger than the pan you can cut the borders with a knife and reuse the scraps.
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  5. Mix the tomato puree with the oil and salt and spread it on the raw pizza with a spoon.
  6. Depending on the mozzarella you’re using and the dough thickness you chose you’ll have to do things differently. I suggest using fresh mozzarella, if you only find dried mozzarella it’s fine.
    Dried mozzarella/Thick dough: dried mozzarella tends to cook and burn more quickly, so before you add it on top i suggest you precook the tomato garnished dough for about 7/10 minutes, then take it out of the oven add the mozzarella sprinkling it evenly on top and cook for another 5/10 minutes. At the same time a thick dough requires more time so a 5 minutes precook (even if using fresh mozzarella) is good.
    Fresh mozzarella: mince it in the food processor and sprinkle it in on top of the tomato, cook the pizza for 15/20 minutes. Check for when the mozzarella becomes golden. I like it crispier so I leave it a bit longer, but you can adjust the cooking to your preferences. Do the first check 10 minutes in.
  7. I prefer to cook one pizza first and then the other because this way they don’t “shadow” each other in the oven. When the first pizza is in, I repeat everything for the second one starting on step one. I cook pizza number two while we eat pizza number one.
  8. Before serving the pizza I like to add some leaves of fresh basil.
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Pizza Margherita by Camilla Isley August-03-2015

Amatriciana

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
Total time: 15 min
Yield: 2 servings
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 3 oz Pancetta
  • 1 cup Tomato Puree
  • 3.5 oz Pecorino Cheese
  • 6 oz Long Pasta
  • 1 Hot Pepper
This is another regional recipe from Rome, Italy. You can make it spicy adding one hot pepper, or mild leaving the pepper out. The original recipe is made with Guanciale-the cheek of the pork-but since it’s not so easy to procure I’ve substituted it with Pancetta (bacon).
Instructions
  1. Prepare all your ingredients and set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. You can prepare the sauce in the time it takes for the water to boil and the pasta to cook. The original recipe is made with a pasta called Bucatini (thick hollow spaghetti). Since they’re not so common, any kind of long pasta will do. I’m using Linguine.
  2. Slice the pancetta in small strips and put it in a frying pan to cook. It is not necessary to add oil or butter.Cook the bacon until the fat has become transparent. If you prefer it crispier leave it a bit longer. However, it has to remain soft.
  3. At this point I do the unthinkable and dry the bacon of its fat in a colander over the sink. But you can skip this step in favor of deliciousness.
  4. Slice the hot pepper in tiny pieces and add it to the bacon. Skip if you don’t like spicy food.
  5. Add the tomato puree, a pinch of salt, and mix. Again, the original recipe would be with fresh tomatoes, but since I’m still a bit of a kid cooked tomatoes with seeds and skin gross me out and I prefer the creamy puree. Lower the fire to a minimum until the pasta is cooked.
  6. Dry the pasta and toss it in the pan. Mix while adding about half of the cheese.
  7. Plate and sprinkle the remaining of the cheese on each plate.
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 Amatriciana by Camilla Isley May-12-2015
Regional Pasta Recipe from Rome, Italy