The day I realized I wasn't going to be able to find a good Margherita pie in Columbia was the day I went out and bought a pizza pan and ingredients. One of the highlights of living in NYC (foodwise) was that at any time of day, pretty much whatever area you were in, you could get a decent slice of Margherita pizza...oh how I miss those days. If you ever find yourself in Park Slope, Brooklyn, check out Peppe's . It's an unassuming storefront joint, right next to the Prospect Ave R train stop, whose pies have caused a buzz among pizza lovers. Their chewy crust and simple sauce made from canned imported San Marzano tomatoes is bright, fresh-tasting and lightly seasoned. Sadly, I lack a coal oven, so my substitute isn't quite the same, but what can ya do?
Enter, delightful homemade pizza:
Pre-made dough (just makes life easier)
1 small bunch basil cut in a chiffonade
1 cup Fresh mozzarella ciliegine (small mozzarella balls)
1 1/2 cups canned whole Roma tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find 'em)
4 tsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Cover bottom of pizza pan with 2 tsp olive oil and spread dough thinly over pan. Cook dough in oven for 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and drizzle remaining olive oil over pie. Cut tomatoes roughly and squeeze to remove moisture (I find this prevents the pie from getting soppy or wet). Scatter tomatoes and cheese over pie and cook for 9-13 minutes, until edges brown and the cheese is bubbling. Remove pie from oven and sprinkle basil over. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting.
Indulge and love it.