Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita with Parma Ham and Rocket


  • basic pizza dough:
    • makes: 3 x 20cm rounds
    • 500 g strong flour
    • 7 g dried yeast (or 1 sachet)
    • 300 ml luke warm water (more if required)
    • 1 tsp Salt
    • 2 tsp olive oil, extra virgin
    • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • for the tomato sauce (this will be sufficient for 3 pizza bases):
    • 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion (minced)
    • 1 clove garlic (minced)
    • 600 g canned chopped tomatoes
    • salt and pepper
    • 0.50 tsp chopped fresh herbs (e.g. thyme, sage, marjoram)
    • 0.50 tsp sugar (if necessary)
  • the following quantities are for 1 pizza topping:
    • 2 slices parma ham (cut into 3cm strips)
    • 6 mozzerella slices
    • a handful of rocket leaves, tossed in a little dressing


  1. To make the base, mix the yeast and sugar in the luke warm water. Allow to activate – the yeast will froth, then it is ready to use.
  2. In the meantime, sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the salt, olive oil and yeast mixture.
  3. Mix to a loose dough, adding more flour or water as required.
  4. Knead until the dough is very pliable – approximately 5 minutes using the dough hook of a food mixer or 7–10 minutes by hand.
  5. Leave the dough to rise in a well-oiled bowl covered with cling film until the dough has trebled in size and is springy to the touch. It will rise best in a warm location e.g. hotpress, near a cooker or oven.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add onion and herbs and sauté over a low heat for about 7-10 minutes, until the onion has softened.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10–15 minutes until thickened. Season with salt, pepper and if necessary sugar.
  8. Preheat the oven to 230°C/Gas 8.
  9. When the dough has risen, knock it back and place onto a floured surface. Knead it again by hand for 2–3 minutes.
  10. Roll out or stretch dough with your hands onto the pizza pan/screen or baking sheetsprinkled with a little semolina.
  11. To avoid a soggy base, brush lightly with extra virgin oil.
  12. Then spread over the tomato sauce mixture, and arrange the mozzarella on top. Place the pizza in the preheated oven and bake until lightly brown and bubbly about 10 to 12 minutes.
  13. Place strips of Parma ham around the pizza and a handful of rocket in the centre.
  14. Serve immediately.