Cooking with PMQ – Jamie Culliton's Pizza Margherita

Jamie Culliton shows us his classic Pizza Margherita, and demonstrates his baking techniques on a wood-fired oven.  






Don't have a wood-fired oven? You can still try this pizza at home in your conventional oven with this basic recipe:

 1 12-inch round of pizza dough, stretched
 1/3 cup San Marzano tomato sauce
 Extra-virgin olive oil
 3 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into 10 to 12 pieces
 4 to 5 basil leaves, roughly torn
 Cornmeal for sprinkling


Place a pizza stone on the top rack of a cool oven. Set the oven to broil and preheat for 30 minutes.

On a floured counter, flatten the ball with your fingertips and stretch it into a 12-inch round. If your dough is tacky, use a generous amount of flour when forming the pizza round.

Sprinkle a pizza peel with cornmeal and lay the pizza dough round on it. Spread the tomato sauce onto the pizza dough, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch of dough uncovered around the outside edge. Arrange the cheese on top of hte tomato sauce. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with oil.

Give the peel a quick shake to be sure the pizza is not sticking to it. Slide the pizza off the peel onto the stone in the oven. Broil for 1 1/2 minutes, then turn the oven tempreature to the highest bake setting and cook for 4 minutes. Quickly open the oven door, pull out eh rack, and, with a pari of tongs, rotate the pizza (not the stone) a half turn. Cook 4 to 5 minutes more.

Using a pizza peel, remove from oven. Cut into slices and serve.

(Source: "Pizza A Slice of American History" by Liz Barrett)