Christian Petroni's Margherita Pizza

Photo: Bryan Gardner
1 12-inch pizza

Possibly the ultimate pizza recipe, the combination of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil proves that simplicity is beautiful. Martha and Christian Petroni made this recipe on Martha Bakes episode 503.


  • 8 ounces Christian Petroni's Pizza Dough

  • Semolina, for peel

  • 4 to 6 tablespoons Simple Tomato Sauce for Pizza

  • 2 to 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 5 to 7 fresh basil leaves

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil

  • Semolina, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to the highest temperature possible with a pizza stone on the upper rack, for 1 hour.

  2. Stretch pizza dough with your fingers, working in a circular motion, with your fingers positioned between the center of the dough and the edge, forming a rough disk that will gradually become thiner as you proceed. Then toss dough between the palms of your hands, allowing gravity to stretch it, and the center becomes thinner. Use your fists to move the dough in a circular motion to further stretch it, until it is about 12 inches in diameter, with the edge being slightly thicker. Place dough on a pizza peel lightly sprinkled with semolina to ensure it won't stick.

  3. Using a small ladle, evenly spread tomato sauce over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Distribute mozzarella uniformly over sauce; garnish with basil leaves. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil.

  4. When transferring pizza to the heated pizza stone in the oven, use one continuous, but quick, jerking motion. Once in the oven, turn the oven off, and turn broiler to high, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Serve drizzled with remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

Cook's Notes

If using a gas oven -- once in the oven, turn the oven off, and turn broiler to high, and cook for 3 minutes. Bake until golden and bubbly, then turn oven back on to 500 degrees and cook for another 4 minutes.

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