Ultimate pizza Margherita

Ultimate pizza Margherita

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(32 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr, 15 mins Cook: 15 mins Includes rising time

For the keen cook

Makes 2 pizzas
Take your senses on a trip to Italy with this authentic pizza Margherita

Nutrition and extra info

  • Base only
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal593
  • fat24g
  • saturates10g
  • carbs74g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre3g
  • protein26g
  • salt3g
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For the pizza dough

  • 350g strong white flour



    Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

  • 25g coarse semolina, plus extra for sprinkling



    Semolina flour is pale-yellow in colour, high in gluten and used for traditionally made pasta,…

  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 7g pkt fast-action dried yeast



    Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, (not extra virgin) plus extra for drizzling

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 275ml tepid water

For the topping

  • 400g can plum tomato



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 2 plump garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 balls buffalo mozzarella, (about 140g each)
  • two small handfuls basil leaves, roughly torn parmesan shavings and rocket, to serve



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…


  1. In a bowl, mix flour, semolina, salt and yeast. Make a dip in the middle, pour in oil, water, then stir and squeeze everything together (hands are easiest for this). The dough should feel very sticky (pic 1). When it is well mixed, cover and leave for 15 mins.

  2. Tip the dough on to a lightly oiled work surface and rub your hands and the inside of the bowl with oil. Knead the dough about 12 times only, giving it a quarter turn each time you knead. Tuck the ends under so it is the shape of a ball and lay it in the bowl, seam side down. Cover and leave for 10 mins. Repeat the kneading and leaving for 10 mins again, then knead and leave for 15 mins, oiling the surface and your hands each time.

  3. In between kneadings make the sauce for the topping. Drain the tomatoes and tip them into a bowl. Snip them into small pieces with scissors (pic 2). Stir in garlic, tomato purée, and seasoning. Set aside. Brush a baking sheet with oil and sprinkle with a little semolina. Heat oven to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9.

  4. When the dough is ready, cut in half and put one half onto a lightly fl oured surface. Knead 4-5 times to squash out any air bubbles, then roll it out. At the point where it just keeps springing back, brush off the fl our from the work surface and rub on a little oil. This makes it easier to roll. Continue to roll out until you have a 28cm circle, pulling it into shape as well. Lift it onto the baking sheet (it’s easier if you drape it over a rolling pin).

  5. Drain the mozzarella, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Brush the dough with olive oil, then spread half the sauce over, almost up to the edge. Scatter over half the basil, then tear up one mozzarella ball and scatter over the basil (pic 3). Grate over pepper and drizzle with a little oil. Bake for 12-15 mins, until the topping is bubbling and the dough is going brown. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings. To serve, scatter with parmesan shavings, rocket leaves and drizzle with oil.

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Comments (37)

vrog's picture

This is always my go to pizza dough recipe. The topping is so easy, but of course it is just as simple to add whatever takes your fancy. As with all pizzas though avoid a topping that is too thick, or you'll get a soggy bottom :))

alasquodbeautyasitpast's picture

I've been searching for the perfect pizza base and I've found it! First time I made it I reserved the prepared dough and it was as good next day. Hats off to you! Bear with the stickiness by using oil oil oil.

abcdefghijord's picture

I made the sauce as I have a fool proof pizza dough recipe anyway. I added olive oil, 1/2 tsp of fennel, oregano and thyme. I swear it smells JUST like takeaway pizza sauce! Yum! I didn't chop anything, chucked toms, garlic and puree in the blender with some seasoning and the herbs then cooked it down and let it cool before topping the dough. I also used pregrated mozzarella just because I find the excess milk in the mozzarella ball too watery for the top of a pizza.

Conzie's picture

I did this recipe today and it came out wonderfully! If anyone finds that the dough seems too sticky (I noticed someone mentioning it got far too messy in the comments) then I would recommend lightly flouring the dough and kneading it slightly once you have first mixed with your hands and are ready to tip onto an oiled service, then not to oil your hands repeatedly or re-oiling the work service when you are leaving the dough covered for ten minute intervals. Good luck!

4/5 Stars.

fairy5's picture

This did not turn out well. All seemed to be ok until the final knead before making it into a pizza. It was so sticky it just wouldn't come together and we ended up making a huge mess. No idea how we went wrong as followed the recipe to the letter.

sarahclapton's picture

worth the effort , lovely

emily88's picture

Forgot the stars!

emily88's picture

I've just finished my dinner, having used this recipe to make the most delicious home-made pizza I've ever had! The dough was quite straight-forward to make, and was a lot quicker than some other recipes I'd looked at. It produced a really lovely deep-pan sort of pizza which was airy and light.

I actually mis-read the bit where it says to split the dough in half (!) so we made one gigantic pizza for 2 of us - we're having the other half of it cold for lunch tomorrow! It didn't seem to affect the cooking of the dough, although it was probably in the oven for closer to 20 mins.

For the topping I added anchovies, goats cheese, courgettes, spinach leaves and fresh basil on top of the tomato base. I also blitzed the tomato sauce in the blender for a few seconds instead of cutting the tomatoes with scissors - just to get it a bit more refined.

Great recipe - will be using this regularly in future!

jojo2012123's picture

I love pizza and this recipe was delicious

patsfat's picture

Great comments, so I will be trying this tomorrow. Hopefully I can ditch all those mushy, doughy, supermarket pizzas that although look great, taste terrible. Watch this space!

nicolawardhaugh's picture

Absolutely delicious. We used the other half to bake bread which then became bruschetta the next day using the rest of the tomato topping, basil and mozzarella. Just popped it in a loaf tin that had been oiled and shake of semolina then cooked along with the pizza but left it in about 15-20 minutes good.

stephie_kay's picture

After tweeking the recipe a little it returned an excellent soft, almost deep-pan like base. Instead of 350gr white flour and semolina, I used no semolina and used half self-rising flour and half wholemeal flour. It puffed up very nicely and resembled a deep pan, but was healthy and not oily. Furthermore to the sauce I added a very generous sprinkling of greek dried oregano (a must in pizza in my books!). An easy base in which the toppings can be easily swapped. e.g. I made a margarita but with Tilsit Light cheese instead of mozzarella, green peppers, mushrooms, olives and vine tomatoes from the garden, topped with some cubed halloumi cheese. Beautiful greek flavours ;) Family is definitly pleased

kvandermeijs's picture

Wow! What a seriously good pizza. I made this based on a lot of the comments that said it was the best dough recipe they had tried and I was not disappointed. I used polenta instead of semolina as that is what I had in the cupboard. The dough was very very wet and sticky and remained so up until the last kneading just before rolling out - I kneaded on a floured board and it transformed into a beautiful silky smooth dough. It was quite hard to roll. Actually, the second base was left in a kneaded dough for about 30 mins at room temp (while I cooked the 1st pizza for the kids!) and then it was much easier to roll out so next time I will rest the dough this way before the final stages. All in all, a fantastic pizza that looked and tasted like a proper Italian take-away pizza!

clarablackman's picture

Always always use this recipe for pizza base. Never fails, I use polenta which I think is the same as course semolina!

lirva_may's picture

i was quite disappointed with this, the dough was impossibly sticky, i resorted to adding more flour, and also i found putting oil on my work top made the problem much worse, a similar recipe suggested flour and i found this much easier to work with.
the biggest disappointment was after all that work the dough wasnt that great tasting.
i wont be trying this again, its not worth all the mess and effort

buell8abe's picture

This is a really fab recipe, one of my very favourites, and I use it often. It's great as-is, but easily adaptable too. I love to add sardines, tuna and olives. It's great for using up small leftover amounts of different bread flours. I substitute regular dried yeast (don't forget to activate in the water with a little sugar added first!) Great value and truly delicious.

ch4zn3y's picture

Made this for the 1st time tonight, it was really difficult to knead at 1st but it got easier the 2nd, 3rd time. I couldn't roll it out but i did manage to stretch it into a lovely square shape, taste just as good as round! Will definitely be making this again.

alicemcpalace's picture

ooh, fyi, make sure to use a block of mozzarella or grated because i find that mozzarella balls that come in packets of water "leak" all over the pizza no matter how much you dry them. Damp pizza is not a good look.

alicemcpalace's picture

Brilliant recipe, worked perfectly. (As far as I'm aware pizza dough is meant to be a flat white bread!) Was a little sticky but oiling my hands worked a treat. Base was lovely and crispy and so easy!

ricardo777's picture

I used this recipe to make the base. I'm considered a really good cook by a lot of people I know and this base was terrible. It just tasted like flat white bread.

I've spent years trying to find a recipe for an authentic base and I can't find one. No wonder the high street pizza chains are doing such good business.

If anyone can give me some tips to make a great base, please let me know.


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