Merlot is often seen as an easy red. This is not necessarily true of all Merlots, of course, but the variety has the reputation for being mellow and accessible (read more) and is generally considered an excellent introduction to red wine for the novice or white wine drinker.
Margherita does the same for pizza. Does one need a slow introduction to pizza? Well, perhaps not, but given the fact that we start to eat pizza – very often Margherita …. – from a very young age, our pallets are well developed for gourmet toppings when we get to a wine drinking age.
With both Merlot and Margherita opening the door to palate pleasure, it is only fitting that the two also combine beautifully! Join our celebration of #MerlotforMay and try our Leopard’s Leap Merlot and try our recipe for a slice of home-made Margherita pizza.
Margherita Pizza Recipe
2 individual bread-dough balls – about 200 g to 230 g each (see recipe below)
Napoli sauce (see recipe below)
1 cup grated mozzarella
2 balls fresh Buffalo mozzarella
Coarse sea salt
Fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 220 °C.
To prepare the dough, press each dough ball into a flat disk on a lightly floured counter.
Using your fingers and knuckles, carefully press the disks into 30-cm pizza rounds. Place the pizza rounds onto a baking tray lightly coated with flour.
Place a large scoop of tomato sauce onto each pizza and spread evenly across the pizzas, leaving a 2-cm edge. Scatter the mozzarella cheese on each pizza and place some of the basil leaves on top.
Sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt, then bake each pizza for about 10 minutes or until the pizzas are brown and bubbly, turning the pizzas halfway if needed for them to bake evenly.
As soon as the pizzas are removed from the oven, tear the ball of buffalo mozzarella and put it on top of each pizza.
Pizza Dough Recipe
Enough for 4 – 5 medium sized pizzas
1 kg bread flour
750 ml water (32 °C)
20 g salt
1 packet instant yeast
Mix all the ingredients together, until well incorporated.
Fold the dough every 30 min – repeat twice.
Leave to proof for 1 hour.
Shape into 200 g to 230 g balls.
Roll out and use.
For the Napoli sauce
5 kg tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 chili, fine (optional)
1 litre water
Bring a pot of water to the boil.
Score the tomatoes at the tops with the tip of a sharp knife and place, 2 tomatoes at a time, into the boiling water for 30 seconds or until the skins start to burst.
Remove from the boiling water and place directly into ice-cold water (this will keep the tomatoes fresh and stop the cooking process).
Remove the skins and seed the tomatoes, then roughly chop them and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil, sweat the onions and allow to brown slightly. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper and chili, then add the water and simmer for 2½ hours over a low heat, until thickened and reduced.
Keep leftover sauce in the fridge and use as a delightful pasta sauce or a replacement for shop-bought tomato sauce.
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