Pizza is Italy’s representative to the world when the topic is related to extraordinary food. Devouring a delicious slice of pizza seems like a spicy Italian dream.
There are tons of different types of pizza to order, but Margherita pizza stands alone because of its taste, craft, and severity.
What is Margherita Pizza?
Margherita pizza is a unique variety of pizza originating in Naples, Italy. This pizza is a guarded food by Associazione, Verace Pizza Neapolitan, that requires it to be prepared in a specific way to hold the label ‘Pizza Margherita’ in Italy.
Only Italian government-certified bakeries have the authority to prepare it. It is a simple pizza enhancing the freshness of the ingredients and the wholesomeness of the high-quality pizza dough. It is also a cornerstone for many pizzas prepared worldwide and for the cooks who make it at home.
History of Margherita Pizza
“Pizza Margherita” was supposedly served for the first time in the late 1800s by a Neapolitan pizza maker (pizzaiolo) named Raffaele Esposito.
Back in 1889, King Umberto and Queen Margherita visited Naples. After some days, they got sick of continuously eating regular French food; hence they wanted to try something new and local, ‘peasant food.’
At that instant, local people thought the pizza was a peasant food they could not sell in large hotels. So, the queen asked the pizza maker Rafaello to make the pizza. He made the pizza representing the Italian flag: white from mozzarella, red from tomato sauce, and green from basil.
She liked the pizza so much that she commanded her people frequently to get the pizza.
Its Queen Margherita of Savoy
People firmly believe that Margherita pizza is named after an Italian queen in the 1800s, Queen Margherita of Savoy.
Since then, this pizza type has become popular and spread across Italy and worldwide. In 2009, Margherita pizza received a European Union award for being a preserved recipe for conserving the heritage of the first-born pizza.
Pizza Margherita ingredients
Ingredients for an authentic Margherita pizza are pretty simple: tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil. Yes, I haven’t forgotten about the dough. Let’s look at them in detail.
The original Margherita pizza dough is usually made of 00 flour. But if you prepare it home, you can use whole-wheat pizza dough. If you are in a hurry, you can also use store-bought Margherita pizza dough near you.
- San Marzano Tomatoes
San Marzano tomatoes are a unique variety of plum tomatoes that are tender and rich in flavor. The canned tomato sauce is thicker than other whole-canned tomato sauces.
San Marzano tomatoes are the traditional priority for making a Margherita pizza. If you do not find it, you can use regular fresh tomatoes. Do not forget to crush the tomatoes into a bowl before the preparation.
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Balls
Search for mozzarella cheese balls packed in water instead of vacuum-sealed, as the water-packed mozzarella is more flavorsome, while vacuum-sealed mozzarella can taste rubbery.
You can also use Ovoline mozzarella balls for Margherita pizza as they come in the perfect size, which is 1-inch in diameter. You can also use larger or smaller cheese balls according to your convenience.
Tear them into smaller pieces if you use larger cheese balls as necessary. You can also use Bocconcini mozzarella cheese balls.
- Fresh Basil
Fresh basil is another crucial element. When you take your pizza from the oven, sprinkle a handful of finely chopped basil. You can also add small basil leaves to increase the visual aesthetics of your Margherita pizza.
- Olive Oil & Salt
Margherita pizza is incomplete if you don’t pour a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Add kosher or flaky sea salt, as this pizza sauce doesn’t contain extra salt. Hence, a sprinkle of salt will elevate the pizza’s best flavors.
Margherita pizza vs cheese pizza
The pizza reminds us only about cheese and yummy toppings. All pizzas contain cheese on them, yet we get confused about the different types of pizza.
Every single pizza has a key ingredient that makes it unique. When people think of Margherita pizza and cheese pizza, they expect high-quality ingredients and cheese that melt into your mouth.
People get confused between Margherita pizza and cheese pizza as they have similarities. As an authentic Margherita resembles a Napolitan pizza, it has its own rules for preparing it.
Cheese pizza is an American derivative where people can refine recipes. Let’s see what we can find in Margherita vs cheese pizza.
1. The dough
The classic 00 flour from Naples, Italy, is perfect for a Margherita pizza. Caputo 00 flour is the most popular for making an authentic Margherita pizza because of its quality.
As the queen preferred the dough made of this particular flour, you should remember the queen’s fondness while making Margherita pizza.
On the flip side, a cheese pizza is made from whole-wheat flour, and you can use any local brand because high-end flour is not required.
2. The toppings
San Marzano tomatoes are one of the essential ingredients for making a Margherita pizza. The perfectly ripened tomatoes keep the consistency of the pizza crust and make it crunchy without making the middle part soggy.
Delicate ingredients like olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and salt in the other toppings make the Margherita pizza delicious.
You can customize the topping combination for a cheese pizza according to the consumer or chef. It can be full of only cheese and pizza sauce or tons of toppings, which can make anyone fall in love with just one bite.
Onion, mushroom, capsicum, and olives are the most popular toppings for a cheese pizza.
3. Is it all about Cheese
Fresh Mozzarella cheese balls are crucial for an authentic Margherita, as, in Naples, buffalo mozzarella was used to make a Margherita pizza. Without using fresh cheese, the Margherita pizza remains incomplete.
A few retail brands of cheese available are Bocconcini mozzarella and Ovoline mozzarella, which you will easily find near you.
Cheese pizza is an open canvas where you can use different mixes of various cheeses to make the pizza as a base. Generally, local mozzarella is used for cheese pizza, but four-cheese pizza is quite popular worldwide.
You have complete independence to experiment with the flavors in a cheese pizza that will create a taste fiesta in your mouth.
4. The baking process
As Margherita is an Italian treasure, it has a specific way of being baked. Due to using fresh mozzarella cheese balls, the liquid content in this pizza is higher than any other pizza. Besides, Margherita pizza has a fixed ratio for every ingredient and maintains strict rules while making.
To make the pizza light, crunchy and refreshing, you must bake it using wooden ovens for less than 20-30 seconds. It is recommended not to add any sauce as it may ruin its original taste.
On the other hand, you can add any topping to your cheese pizza to satisfy your craving. Cheese pizza dough is made like a deep dish with a medium crust. You can also pour extra sauce or mayo on the side dish to enhance the taste.
Is Margherita pizza healthy?
Margherita pizza has a pristine and simple pie. The stretchy mozzarella cheese, peppery basil, and tangy tomatoes are all chunked on the chewy, crispy crust.
Although this pizza is made with fresh ingredients, we will not claim that it has all the nutrients your body needs. You should not expect to get micronutrients like iron, zinc, iodine, or vitamins like B12 from it.
Moreover, it is comparatively healthier than other pizzas due to the appropriate use of basil, cheese, and tomatoes. On the other hand, cheese pizza may contain fats, but it also includes a large amount of calcium which is vital for bone health.
Nonetheless, you should remember that Margherita pizza will only be unhealthy if you overeat. Otherwise, it’s great for your body and diet.
While preparing Margherita pizza at home, you might modify the classic recipe. Any additional ingredient may enhance the taste, but it will no longer be an official Margherita pizza. You can order from your nearby pizzeria if you are craving authentic Margherita pizza.