Margherita Pizza

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Margherita Pizza
Story and Photos by Brian Magloyoan

When it comes to food, Joseph Hernandez, senior biology major, sees no limits when creating his favorite dishes.

The aspiring doctor from El Paso, Texas, has a taste for several types of food, his favorite being steak.

“The biggest steak you can think of, medium-rare, with just Lawry’s seasoning salt and a ton of butter,” Hernandez says. “Pretty much whatever I like to eat, I can cook.”

Hernandez shared an experience he had in a small town near El Paso, where he and his friend ran a food stand during a town festival.

“That was probably the most I had to cook for people because we were selling the food. We were making steaks, bratwurst, hamburgers, (and) hot dogs. It was hard work,” Hernandez says.

As to why he selected margherita pizza to showcase his cooking talents.

“Pizza is pretty easy to do in our type of circumstance. We’re in a dorm, (and) we only have an oven. It doesn’t take a lot of prep work. It’s pretty straightforward,” Hernandez says. “I feel like it’s the most traditional form of pizza that someone can have.”

Although it may be traditional, Hernandez did not hesitate in adding his own twist to the recipe, pepperoni.

Putting his own personal touch to pizza is nothing new to Hernandez, whose experience in pizza making includes a bratwurst pizza.

For Hernandez, his favorite part about cooking is eating the final product.

He compares it to studying for a test then getting an “A” on it. “The whole cooking part is like a buildup,” Hernandez says. “You put all this hard work into it and once it’s done, especially when it comes out really good, it’s like ‘Yeah! I accomplished something.’”

Ingredients

For dough:

  • 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoon)
  • 1 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 c warm water, divided 1 tsp salt.
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil honey

For topping:

  • 1 (14 to 15 oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
  • 3 cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 basil leaves plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 tsp sugar pepperoni salt
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • equipment: pan

Directions
First, make the dough by stirring the yeast, a tablespoon of flour, dash of honey and one fourth cup of warm water together. Let it stand until the surface appears creamy for about 5 minutes. Next, add 1 ¼ cups of flour, half cup of water, salt, and oil. Stir and add flour so the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Then, massage the dough on a floured surface, reflouring when the dough becomes sticky. Once the dough is smooth, soft and elastic, form it into a ball. Put it into a bowl and dust it with flour. Cover it with a damp paper towel then place it somewhere that is draft-free and has a warm room temperature (microwave is acceptable), to allow for the dough to rise. While the dough rises, prepare the sauce and toppings. For the sauce, put the tomato sauce into a bowl. Add salt, two tablespoons of olive oil and some flour then mix. As for the toppings, have the basil leaves chopped and tomatoes, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese sliced. Next, shape the dough onto the pan. Place olive oil on top before placing in oven, preheated at 420 degrees. Once dough is slightly baked, take out of oven. Add sauce, cheese and toppings. Place back into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until it is crisp with a golden brown color. Serves six to eight people.

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