Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Recipe for Health - Pizza Margherita

If you love pizzas, here is a healthful pizza recipe.

This classic pizza — a small amount of mozzarella and a lot of fresh, sliced tomatoes — may inspire other pies in your kitchen. Sometimes I substitute goat cheese for the mozzarella, and sometimes I make this on a yeasted olive oil pastry. So it’s really not a pizza, more like a tart...MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN of the NY Times.

For the garlic olive oil:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, halved, green shoots removed, and minced

Combine the oil and garlic in a small, heavy saucepan, and place over medium-low heat. Insert a thermometer, and when the oil reaches 140 degrees, just before the garlic begins to sizzle, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Strain. Refrigerate the oil, and use as directed.

For the pizza:

1/2 batch whole wheat pizza dough

2 tablespoons garlic olive oil (above)

3/4 cup grated mozzarella or crumbled goat cheese

About 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (I like to use a mix of mostly red with some yellow and green tomatoes)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Several fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a pizza stone inside if you have one. Roll or press out the pizza dough to a 12- to 14-inch round. Place on a well floured baker’s peel or an oiled, cornmeal-dusted pizza pan.

2. Gently brush the crust with 1 tablespoon of the garlic olive oil. Sprinkle the mozzarella or the goat cheese over the surface, and top with the tomato slices, overlapping them slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Slide the pizza directly onto the stone from the peel if using one, or place the pizza pan in the oven. Bake until the edges begin to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the tomatoes. Sprinkle on the basil and serve. Alternately, allow to cool, then sprinkle on the basil and serve.

Yield: One 12- to 14-inch pizza.

Advance preparation: The dough can be made up to three days ahead and held in the refrigerator. The pizza can be served at room temperature.

Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at