The Perfect Pizza Margherita


A phone conversation, & a Home Delivery gone wrong…

It’s Friday evening…After pulling thru’ the 5 long weekdays, it’s finally here. Chilled Beer (lemonade for kids) & an evening out with friends in a local pizzeria is one option, the other one being having a quiet family time with a pizza home delivery. So one of these Fridays we opted on having that Oh! so precious (Quiet? no way!) family time & some thought of “custom pizza”.

I put the beer cans in the refrigerator, hubby goes up to pick a movie which we hope we can all enjoy together (mind it we have kids), & I pick up the phone and dial the number while I fish out the Pizza Coupon… here starts the drama-If you are like us ( “Picky Pizza People”) you would know what I am talking about.

“ring… Hello may I have your home phone number please?”
I say it out loud & clear.
“carry out or home delivery?”
Home Delivery Please…
“How can I help you ma’m?”
I have a Coupon.
“Can I have the coupon code please?”
I read it out.
“How would you like your pizza? ma’am?”
I want a Large regular crust…(mind it, this was pre decided among the 4 of us, since we do not need more than a Large & they cannot make half thin & half regular)
“What toppings would u like on it?”

[Now comes the exciting part- for all us want ours custom made. The kids like cheesy, we need ours easy. One kid likes her plain the other one with veggies. I like mine not so spicy, my hubby wants Jalapeno. Are you starting to see the trouble here?]

Well, we want half with a lot of cheese & the other half easy on cheese. [Ok so far]
“ok. & the toppings?”
On the cheesy half, I will have half  kept with no toppings  & the other half will be veggie…& on the less cheese part, we will have veggie with the Jalapeno on only the half of it….
I repeat again. [ Silence for about 2 minutes…] I say “Hello?”
“Would you please hold for a second?” [ by this time the lady on the other side must be ready to quit her job dealing with freaks like me on a Friday evening].

she dumps my order! Now the manager is one the phone..

25 minutes on the phone, 3 frustrated people & finally the order is done. 40 mintues later the beer cans are getting there, the movie has been decided on, it’s past dinner time for the kids, the bell finally rings, we run to the door…get the pizza, open it & Walllaaaaaaa every darn thing is in the wrong place.

Our mistake I agree. We should never complicate things for people taking orders, esp. on the phone. We should have ordered 2 pizzas or even 4 ( but I hate the shrivelled up tired looks of leftover pizzas – they don’t perk up when reheated). But for once we wanted everyone happy & a perfect rested evening. It’s upto you to imagine what happened after that:-)

The evening aside, I have been wanting to make pizza from scratch for a long time now.  First comes the baking thrill, then the satisfaction of “yes i did it!”, then of course u can make the desired size with the desired toppings, all demands fulfilled.  But this time, the first time I made this Margherita Pizza with Fresh Basil & Tomatoes. The recipe i followed as is from Food & Wine was indeed a perfect pizza – This time for a perfect evening for even the “Picky Pizza People”.

Now a little bit about the name of the Margherita…

“The popular pizza Margherita owes its name to Italy’s Queen Margherita who in 1889 visited the Pizzeria Brandi in Naples. The Pizzaioli (pizza maker) on duty that day, Rafaele Esposito created a pizza for the Queen that contained the three colors of the new Italian flag. The red of tomato, white of the mozzarella and fresh green basil was a hit with the Queen and the rest of the world. Neapolitan style pizza had now spread throughout Italy and each region started designing their own versions based on the Italian culinary rule of fresh, local ingredients.” ( source: internet article from Life In Italy..) Sending this to Homemade #2- Breads.



  1. 1 envelope /2 + 1/4 teaspoon dry Yeast
  2. 2 Cups Warm water
  3. 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
  4. 4 Cups All purpose Flour + more for kneading & dusting
  5. 2.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the topping:

  1. 1 can(14 oz) peeled whole San Marzano Tomatoes ( I used regular brand canned tomato)
  2. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano crumbled
  3. 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Oilve Oil
  4. Coarse Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
  5. 2 Pounds Buffalo Mozzarella Thinly Sliced
  6. 32 basil leaves torn in pieces.



In a large bowl mix the yeast with 1/2 cup of warm water & sugar & let it stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water, the 4 cups of flour and the kosher salt and stir until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead, adding flour as necessary until a silky, but soft dough forms. Use a pastry scraper to help knead the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and brush all over with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; punch down and divide into 4 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Rub each ball with oil and transfer to a baking sheet. Cover the balls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place for 1 hour.


Meanwhile, set a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500°, allowing at least 45 minutes for the stone to heat. (if you are like me who do not own a pizza stone.. here is what I do: Turn over a large baking tray, a circular one would work here & heat that for about 15 minutes in the oven. OR to make it easier take a few layers of aluminium foil, poke a few holes with the fork , generously dust the foil with flour & place the pizza on this. Place this directly over the rack of the oven.. the hot air thru the holes work on the crust:-)  … This is my secret but it works)

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill set over a medium bowl or pulse them in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in the oregano and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

On a lightly floured surface, stretch one ball of dough into a 13-inch round; transfer to a floured pizza peel, adding flour where the dough sticks.

Brush the  top of the dough some olive oil. Sprinkle some flour over the oil. This will prevent the dough from getting soggy. Spread 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over the dough to within 1 inch of the edge. Spread one-fourth of the cheese over the pizza and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with sea salt and pepper and slide the pizza onto the stone.

Bake until the bottom is charred and the cheese is melted, about 8-12  minutes. Scatter one-fourth of the basil on top and let stand for 3 minutes before serving. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.


All I can say is, we did have a great evening this time, with a perfectly yummilicious pizza & four happy souls! Really it was good. You know.. nothing ever beats the taste of a warm bread or pizza coming to your plate straight baked from the oven – Simple, Delicate, Fresh herbs, lovely crust!


I am taking my pizza over to the Festa Italiana held by Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita & Maria of  Proud Italian Cook.

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63 comments to The Perfect Pizza Margherita

  • What an eventful evening! Home made pizza rocks..this looks great.

  • Haha…I was lol’ -ing imagining the face of that poor gal on phone.:D
    Great grt Pizza Soma..The pic really speaks

  • No delivery pizza would look that attractive 🙂 I was a little confused there reading the conversation. Just lovely I can imagine the thrill the kids must have felt.

  • Just how I love…the pizza is singing to me!!!

  • It’s the best, simplest, tastiest pizza…long live the Margherita!

  • Cham

    gorgeous Pizza Soma 🙂

  • I do make pizza … but never the crust. Any particular reason why you use kosher salt?
    And I hate customizing orders …. my hubby does that … even when ordering a thali … and always gets to be disappointed. I love things as they are/come. 🙂
    Great looking slice Soma. 🙂

    Sharmila, I think u can use any salt:-) ami ei prothom base tao barite korlam, recipe te chilo ar amar bariteo chilo, tai I used it here.

  • nice post soma…hope ur margherita pizza suffices the need of all four distinct souls!!

  • omg i am droolin here,..;-) hppy holi,////

  • love your pizza…do you do home delivery?

  • this is the best. soeren always orders this at our fave italian place and am always amazed how great a few ingredients can taste. this looks simply lovely!

  • Wow my favourite pizza looks scrummy……

  • Wow they look perfect and so yumm.

  • Lolz….. talk about picky eaters……….I am sure every family has some or other way,same scenario like this.When we go out for lunch/dinner,the kiddie wants dosa(even in a fine Dine restaurant,and if we tell him tht it isnt avlbl in tht particular restaurant,he loudly proclaims,WHAT SORT OF RESTAURANT IS THIS?THEY EVEN CANT HAVE DOSA ON MENU),hubby wants something in gravy,while i need to dig in some Indochinese….finally we end up with some paneer dish in gravy,hubby happy,kiddie sulking but eating right away,and myself ,just thriving on the onion slices and a huge helping of pickle ,with some pauper share of gravy(i hate it) and roti….everytime same scene……lolz
    After my rants,its surely time to exclaim…….OH MY GOD,the pizza looks heavenly delish.After reading the title and looking the pic,i actually was wondering why u put up the DELIVERED pizza on the blog..gleeeeeee……it looks so much like those in Pizza huts or dominos…..just too perfect

  • Ann

    Lol lol…great evening…but those are great to remember SOma…And what a splendid click yaar..

  • YUMMO!! I am craving for some Pizza now. Looks perfect! 🙂

  • Pass me a slice please 🙂
    Thanks for joining us at our festa!
    Maryann xox

  • I would love a slice of that gorgeous pizza! Looks absolutely delicious! My daughter is going to demand some pizza tonight as she usually does on Mondays after her dance class. Maybe we’ll have a pizza night too 🙂

  • The pizza looks soo delicious Soma. Home made is definitely the best. I like mine with paneer, baby corn, olives, tomato and capsicum, no one can ever make that for me :)) I’ve tried weirder combo’s too, and ooh, some rosemary & red pepper flakes in the dough 😀 Where did you get the pizza stone ?

    I had some left over dough ( the recipe was enough for 4 large pizzas) & i added some oregano & rosemary to the dough & kneaded it again:-) .. then went really easy on cheese & sauce & topped it with only lots of veggies. it was great! like a grilled bruschetta.
    I still don’t have the pizza stone, I used the baking tray just like last time.. I copied the recipe from the original. that said pizza stone. i forgot to mention that i didn’t use one.

  • The conversation with the pizza people was funny. I can imagine the confusion;-). The pizza looks wonderful, it is lunch time here and that second picture is just killing me;-)

  • This really does look like the perfect pizza – I made pizza last night too! Great minds think alike 🙂

  • What a timing!I was looking out for a good pizza recipe..This is one such perfect pizza ..Will try it soon and let you know how it came.Thanks for sharing

  • bee

    i don’t order pizza from chains ‘cos when i say ‘no cheese’ they look a me funny. homemade pizza is best.

  • Soma, My favorite kind of pizza! You’re making me hungry just looking at it! Thanks so much for joining us at the festa, I’m sure this will fly off the table!
    xox, Marie

  • wow, this does look perfect! I am craving for that piece now 🙂

  • I had a smile on my face reading your experience with the pizza delivery. Sometimes though, the otherside perceives it as complicated, when in fact, it is not. But confusion happens. By the way, I really like the way your homemade pizza looks. We don’t eat much pizza, but I am tending to make more homemade pizza instead of the greasy kind we get at pizza shops.

  • Aww what a mess after all of that time on the phone. But I think your pizza would beat any store made pizza! Isn’t it funny how the most easygoing people somehow always like their pizza just so? I went through something very similar with my friends.

  • Uma

    LoL at the phone conversation! Home made pizza looks perfect and yummy. 🙂

  • A&N

    I love Margheritas 🙂 Simpicity rocks!

  • sandeepa

    It looks more than perfect. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring, please can I order one Large 🙂 ?

  • LOL funny post ! The pizza looks yum and perfect 🙂

  • that was funny to read! Nice post.. That margherita pizza looks simply fantastic, Soma!

  • Delicious Recipes
    Awesome effort
    Keep up the good work
    For Vegetarian Recipes Visit

  • Love the pizza margherita.Truly delish and its turned out perfect.Love it Soma

  • mohana

    delicious !!!

  • So much for customized pizza order,I bet its much easier and tastier to make it from scratch,looks perfect!

  • that’s a pizza baked to perfection. can i come over? i love pizzas…..

  • soma

    Thanks everyone!

  • Rashmi

    if u ever start a pizza joint, i will order from u, every time.

  • Wow…this looks absolutely delicious! I have been meaning to make it from scratch for a long time but dont have a pizza stone 🙁

  • That’s definitely a perfect pizza, Soma. It looks awesome. You are really good in the photography department.

  • PG

    looks awesome, wonderful pictures! I loved reading your story. We haven’t ordered a pizza in along time now as we make it at home. I am a veggie freak and always want lots of veggies on my pizza, but you are really tempting me to try Pizza margharita. Sunny boy would love it, I’m sure.

  • Friday night is pizza night in our house — from scratch is the best. Yours looks scrumptious, Soma. Less is more when it comes to pizza. So nice you brought this to the festa to share. : )

  • MR

    lovely !!!
    u r going to run down
    the business of all the other pizza corners out there
    ur pizza looks delicious

  • tbc

    That’s the prettiest pizza I’ve seen in a long, long time!
    And the pics of the drink (in your next post) are simply fabulous. 😀

  • Ben

    Hmmm what a delicious looking pizza and thanks for the little history lesson. I always enjoy learning more about where food comes from. And as a side note, yes pizza qualifies for Homemade #2 🙂

  • This looks heavenly 🙂
    I will order one to go please!

  • Very eventful//am glad there are more people like my family.

  • I just started out with my very own pizza blog and I was looking for other blogs pursuing the same interest, although I know that my niche is very limited in the amount of blogs. Anyways, good job and keep it up.

  • steve

    This has got to be one of the best pizza stories I have ever read…great.
    Poor poor pizza person who had to answer the phone. Just image if everyone ordered really complex pizzas with different toppings…it would be mayhem….and no one at home would ever get a pizza delivered….absolutely great.

    Anyway this pizza looks great and if I was another pizza I would be proposing for sure…

  • This looks fantastic. Margherita Pizza is on our menu for the next week. I’ll give this recipe a try. Thanks!

  • mouthwateringly delicious!

  • loga


  • Jack Vermicelli

    Christ, lady. You put two pounds of cheese on a pizza?

  • Long time subscriber, first time commenter. You have to love the pizza. I’ve just bought my own gas oven so I will be producing my own soon. Promise I’ll be around more often 🙂

  • My favorite kind of pizza! You’re making me hungry just looking at it! Thanks so much for joining us at the party, I’m sure this will fly off the table!

  • Pizza lover

    We made this for our anniversary.. wife & me both v. happy thanks!!

    Sorry for my late response.. but Happy Anniversary! Glad that you enjoyed.


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  • now i think i dont want to spend more money on pizza. i can prepare at home .its my favorite dish. thanks a lot for posting sucha simple and delicious dish.

  • kels

    why does the dough have to rise so long? wont it waste of beer because it has over risen?

    If you are refrigerating the dough, the rate of rise is slowed down, so the dough will work just fine. I have been using this recipe for a few years now. If you do not want to do overnight, allow it to rest at room temperature for about hours, knead and allow it rise for the second rise again.

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