A delicious gluten free pizza margherita with homemade sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. All the flavors of Italy from the comfort of your own kitchen!
Ah, pizza. Truly a classic and comfort dish to many around the globe. Who knew bread, tomatoes, and cheese could make such a delicious meal. It’s so simple, yet perfect. My favorite type of meal!
I’ve always preferred a plain cheese pizza over all the variety, but ever since eating margherita pizza (aka pizza Margherita) several years ago, I’ve found a new favorite!
So just how did this pizza acquire its name? Well, in the late 1800s, after the unification of Italy, King Umberto I and his wife, Queen Margherita, visited the city of Naples. It is said they feasted on the local Neapolitan fare and the queen took a liking to a particular pizza which was topped with soft white cheese, red tomatoes and green basil—the colors of the Italian flag. Soon after the pie was named pizza Margherita, in honor of the queen.
A couple of years ago, my husband, Rafael, and I took a trip to Italy to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We visited Venice, Florence, Rome, and the Amalfi coast. It was such a beautiful country, each city having something wonderfully charming to offer. We ate pasta, paninis, and pizza all day, everyday. Although it was some of the best food I had ever eaten, midway through our trip my stomach began to rebel against me and I had to take a break from all of the gluten-laden bread and pasta.
We ended up eating at a Chinese restaurant for dinner one night while in Rome. Who thinks to eat anything other than Italian food while vacationing in Italy? Apparently just us. We were the only tourists in the restaurant full of Italians..and Chinese people, of course. The funny thing was, the restaurant staff couldn’t speak any English, just Italian and Chinese, and can you guess what language the menu was in? Yep, Italian..Shocking, right? We pretty much pointed aimlessly at the menu and hoped for the best.
Of all the food we ate during those couple of weeks, a pizza we had on the coast of Italy was hands down the best pizza I have EVER had! You could tell the ingredients were fresh and the dough was soft and had a slight chew to it. I don’t know what their secret was, but now when I make homemade pizza, I like to use the freshest ingredients possible.
I’ve started making the tomato sauce homemade, which has such a great flavor plus you also know exactly what’s in it. I start with a can of San Marzano peeled whole tomatoes, instead of tomato paste or sauce. These tomatoes are grown in Italy, in the rich volcanic soil found at the base of Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano. They say these are some of the best tasting tomatoes one can find. If you can’t get San Marzano tomatoes, just get the best you can find. Getting them whole means that they are minimally processed and allows for some texture in the sauce.
I sauté onions, garlic, and shredded carrots (for extra sweetness) along with the spices to release their flavors. I then add the tomatoes and break them up with my wooden spoon. You can also add a splash of red wine, for depth of flavor, but it’s totally optional. Cover the pot and simmer the sauce to deepen the flavors.
This makes 2-3 cups of sauce, which is more than enough for these pizzas. You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for several days or use as a marinara sauce on top of spaghetti. You could probably freeze it too, although I have not tested it.
I have to admit that my favorite part of a pizza is the crust. This gluten-free dough that I modified from this recipe on Epicurious.com, is the best gluten-free pizza dough I have ever had. Seriously. I prefer to make the crust more thick and roll up the edges, but you can make thin crust pizzas, leave off the edge, or make it rectangular, the choice is up to you.
It has the chew that I love, is soft, bready, and taste so much like regular crust. I seriously doubt your gluten-eating friends and family would be able to tell the difference.
After you let the dough rise, no need to pre-bake. Just top it with your sauce, cheese, and whatever other toppings you want. Sometimes I like to add fresh chopped tomatoes, but it’s your choice.
Bake in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 15 minutes, give or take, depending on how thin/thick your crust is and your oven. Just keep an eye on it after 10 minutes or so and take it out when the crust is golden and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Garnish the top with fresh basil leaves *a must* slice and serve. This makes 1 large or 2 smaller pizzas and should be enough to serve 2-4 people, again depending on how big you made them.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, friends! May it take your tastebuds to the coast of Italy. Buon Appetito!Print