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THE KITCHN: Nothing beats homemade sauce on Margherita pizza

By Emma Christensen, TheKitchn.com on

Sometimes the simplest ingredients, combined in the simplest of ways, have the power to stop time, erase your woes, and transport you to a place of nirvana-like bliss. Such is the power of the margherita pizza. Fresh tomato sauce, chewy mozzarella cheese, a sprinkling of basil on a crispy crust? Don't be surprised if you start levitating.

I am not a strict purist when it comes to Margherita pizza. I like the crust to be crispy, but still with a little chew. When tomatoes are in season and so very ripe, I'll use them over the traditional San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy. I also really like a clove of garlic and a few basil leaves in my sauce. Slices of fresh mozzarella, buffalo or otherwise, are a must.

If you've never made your own pizza sauce before, this recipe will convince you otherwise -- if you can even call it a recipe. All you do is blend ripe tomatoes in a food processor or blender until they're good and saucy. To prevent an overly watery sauce (and the subsequently soggy pizza crust), I usually squeeze the tomatoes of excess liquid before blending or strain the sauce afterwards to make it thicker.

No need to cook this sauce ahead of time, either. Spread thinly on the crust, it will cook just enough in the oven to perk up its flavors.

Classic Margherita Pizza

Makes two 10-inch pizzas

1 pound pizza dough, storebought or homemade

1 pound (2 large) ripe summer tomatoes or 1 (16-ounce) can whole or diced tomatoes

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup loosely packed basil, sliced into ribbons

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