Pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil
The Italian name for this pizza – which is traditionally topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil – is pizza Margherita. It’s one of the simplest pizzas, but also one of the tastiest.
Legend has it that in 1889 a pizza maker from Naples called Raffaele Esposito created this pizza – which matched the colors of the Italian flag – to honor the visiting Queen Margherita.
Our version of pizza Margherita is slightly different to the original, but we think it’s even tastier. Instead of just tomato sauce, we use a combination of a thick tomato sauce and fresh cherry tomatoes. These cherry tomatoes lightly roast during the cooking process and add a wonderful burst of flavor.
We also use regular (low moisture) mozzarella instead of fresh mozzarella because when it’s cooked it has a more gooey, stretchy texture – which we love. This mozzarella, however, isn’t white like fresh mozzarella – so don’t expect this pizza to fully resemble the red, white and green colors of an Italian flag!
This pizza is super yummy as it is, but it’s also very easy to vary by adding other rustic toppings such as olives, anchovies, mushrooms or thinly sliced red onion.
2½ tablespoons tomato paste
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 store-bought pre-baked thin pizza crust (or use a large whole wheat pita bread as the crust)
3 oz (85g) grated mozzarella cheese
10 cherry tomatoes — halved
20 small whole basil leaves (or 10 larger basil leaves, roughly torn)