Simple Grilled Pizza Margherita
There’s an Italian restaurant a few minutes away that serves a wood-fired Pizza Margherita that is absolutely mouthwatering. What makes the pizza so amazing is its simplicity, the only toppings are olive oil, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and seasoning. No sauce. That might sound boring but trust me, the flavors combine to perform a sleight of magic on your taste buds.
I was eager to recreate the recipe at home but I sadly remembered that I don’t have a wood-burning pizza oven. Who does? Well besides Elijah Wood and Jamie Oliver. Grilling sounded like the next best thing. And I’m happy to report, it was. The pizza crust is thin and crisp, just like at your favorite restaurant. I’ve actually never managed to get such a beautiful crust in the oven, even with my pizza stone. And the best part about grilling pizza during this time of the year is that you don’t have to crank your oven to the hottest temperature it can handle, thus turning your house into an active volcano. Also, grilling pizza is quick. So quick, in fact, that it’s a good idea to have all your toppings prepared and at your side while grilling.
Taste: Just perfect. Fruity, rich, fresh, sweet, simple.
Texture: The crust is perfectly crisp with a slight tender, chewy bite. The cheesy is wonderfully melted yet still firm.
Ease: The instructions might appear lengthy, but not a single part is difficult. I like to make the dough when I have some time and toss it in the freezer until I want to use it. Having dough on hand makes homemade pizza super easy.
Appearance: I just love the grill marks in the pizza dough and the rustic quality of the shape and toppings.
Would I make this again? Yes.
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) quick-rise yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees), plus extra if needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra if needed
For the toppings:
- 5-6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
- handful fresh basil leaves, torn
- extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the dough
Food processor method: In a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Pulse to mix together. With the motor running, add the water and olive oil in a steady stream, and then pulse until the dough comes together in a rough mass, about 12 seconds. If the dough does not form into a ball, sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of water and pulse again until a ball forms. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Process again for 25-30 seconds, steadying the top of the food processor with one hand. The dough should be tacky to the touch but not sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball with your hands. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk and spongy, about 1 1/2 hours.
Stand mixer method: Fit the mixer with the dough hook attachment and combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast, and salt. Mix together. On low speed, add the water and olive oil in a steady stream and mix until the dough comes together in a rough mass. If the dough does not form into a ball, sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of water and mix again until a ball forms. Let the dough rest 5-10 minutes. Process again 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball with your hands. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk and spongy, about 1 1/2 hours.
Once dough is risen, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down, and shape into a smooth cylinder. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, dusting with flour only if the dough becomes sticky. Cover both balls of dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes before proceeding.
Place one ball of dough in a zip-top bag and freeze for up to 2 months for later use (when ready to use, thaw the frozen dough for 3-4 hours at room temperature).
Once ready to grill, place dough rounds on a flour or cornmeal-coated pizza peel, rimless cookie sheet, or other flat surface. Slide or carefully lay the dough, oiled side down, directly on the grill plates (don’t worry about it falling through the grate, it firms up almost instantly). If you have a big grill, you can grill both dough rounds at once. If you have a small grill, work in batches. Quickly brush the side of the dough facing you with olive oil. Using a pair of tongs, check every few minutes to see how the dough is browning. Pierce any bubbles that rise with a knife or fork. Once the dough is golden brown and slightly blistered, use your tongs to flip the dough over. Quickly place the cheese, tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper on the dough. Close the lid to let the dough finish cooking and allow the cheese to melt, 4-7 more minutes. Once cooked, carefully slide the pizza back onto the pizza peel or other flat surface. Allow to cool for a few minutes then serve.
Dough recipe from Pizza