Back in April, I took a trip to the wonderful Pizza Lola in Minneapolis with a foodie friend. (Brilliant place, you should definitely check it out if you ever get the chance.) We ordered a simple Margherita Pizza and fell in love with the medley of ingredients. I just laugh, laugh, and laugh when people try to tell me that there isn’t any tastable difference when the produce comes from the supermarket versus when it comes from a local farm.
Now, for this recipe, I didn’t have any farm-fresh produce on hand, but I just HAD to attempt to recreate the magic Pizza Lola created. This recipe isn’t a copy of what Pizza Lola made, but it is pretty dang good for a home-chef.
Lets get started!
- 2 1/4 teaspoon (1 package) instant dry active yeast
- 1 cup warm water (not hot!)
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 3 cups bread flour, or as needed
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- A few shakes of garlic powder (optional)
- A few shakes of dried basil (optional)
- A few shakes of oregano (optional)
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 5 medium-large plum (also known as Roma) tomatoes
- 1 & 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the water, yeast, sugar, and a 1/2 cup of the flour into a mixing bowl. Stir well and let sit for 20 minutes. It might get bubbly.
- Add olive oil, salt, garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, and 2 cups of the flour, and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until it’s together enough to turn out on to a lightly floured work surface to knead.
- Knead for about 10 minutes, while adding more flour a little at a time, to produce a soft, elastic and slightly sticky dough. Do not add too much flour, just enough to keep it from sticking to the work surface as you knead.
- Form the dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Drizzle a few drops of oil and coat the top of dough to prevent the surface from becoming dry.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot for 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
- Once the dough has risen for 2 hours, plop it onto a greased cookie sheet and squish or pat it into a 11 by 13 inch rectangle. It doesn’t have to be perfect, after all, it’s just going into your mouth and stomach , where your eyes can’t see!
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and pop the pizza dough into the oven for 8 minutes.
- While it is baking, take out those deliciously plump tomatoes and fresh basil. Thinly slice the tomatoes, shred the basil, and halve the garlic clove. I could probably have sliced the tomatoes thinner, but it worked out all the same.
- Also, mix 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and whisk until combined.
- Once that is all done, the 8 minutes should be up. Remove the pizza from the oven and brush it with olive oil before rubbing it with the halved garlic cloves. Mince the garlic cloves into tiny pieces after rubbing the crust with the halves and sprinkle over the crust.
- Arrange tomato slices on crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border; sprinkle evenly with cheese.
- Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until cheese melts and crust is golden.
- Sprinkle pizza evenly with sliced basil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the vinegar mixture evenly over the pizza. Serve to your very impressed guests!