Pizza Margherita with Fresh Tomatoes and Sliced Mozzarella
Pizza alla Margherita Contemporanea

serves: 4, 12-inch pizzas

In the cantine or kitchens of Naples, you're likely to see, hanging from strings, clusters of pomodorini (cherry tomatoes) put there at summer's end to preserve their flavor for the cold winter months ahead. Because of their dry texture, these pomodorini are ideal for topping pizzas. If you'd like to approximate the texture and taste of cantina-dried pomodorini, cut ripe cherry tomatoes in half, arrange them , cut side down, on a baking sheet, and dry them overnight in the oven with only the pilot light lit.

pizza dough
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
coarse cornmeal
2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
¾ pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
20 fresh basil leaves, cut into very thin strips


Prepare the pizza dough, dividing into four portions after the first rising. When the dough has risen for the second time, place the oven rack in the lowest position, center a pizza stone on it, and preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Roll or stretch each dough ball out to a 12-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick with a slightly thicker border around the edge. Brush each circle lightly with some of the olive oil. Working with one circle of dough at a time, sprinkle a pizza peel or flat baking sheet generously with the cornmeal. Place the dough on top and arrange alternating slices of tomato and mozzarella to cover the dough, leaving a thin border around the edge. Sprinkle the pizza lightly with salt and scatter some of the basil over it. Drizzle a little of the remaining olive oil over the cheese. Bake until the bottom is lightly brown.