Cheese & Tomato Pizza
Cheese & Tomato Pizza
5 from 12 votes
Unleash the inner chef with the timeless classic, the cheese and tomato pizza. I'm here to guide you in making a pizza so irresistible, it will have the whole neighbourhood lining up for a slice!
Cheese Pizza

Cheese & Tomato Pizza. The name itself whisks me away to the lively streets of Naples, Italy – the birthplace of pizza. This food so loved by millions across the globe has humble beginnings.  

Originating from the historic lanes of Naples in the late 18th century, the simple Cheese and tomato Pizza has become a worldwide sensation. 

Now, don’t let the word ‘pizza’ intimidate you. Contrary to popular belief, this delightful dish isn’t as complex as it seems. My personal gauge? It’s just the right amount of ‘fun’ challenge.  

You don’t need a culinary degree to master it, yet it isn’t a walk in the park either. The best part? You get to customize it to your heart’s content. 

The versatility of Cheese & Tomato Pizza is what makes it so universally loved. It’s like a blank canvas, allowing you to express your culinary creativity. You can stay true to the classic recipe or you can play around, adding a little bit of ‘you’ in every slice. That’s the beauty of it. 

Now let’s take a moment to appreciate the heroes of our dish – cheese and tomato. Mozzarella cheese, with its mild and milky flavours, perfectly complements the sweet tanginess of the tomato sauce. They say, “opposites attract” and in this case, it’s a match made in culinary heaven. 

Every bite of Cheese and tomato Pizza is a journey through layers of flavour, textures, and cultural history. The chewy, yet crispy crust, the lush, zesty sauce, and the melty, slightly salty cheese. It’s a symphony of simplicity, and yet, this pizza is so much more than just the sum of its parts. 

Cooking a Cheese and tomato Pizza isn’t just about feeding your belly, it’s about feeding your soul. It’s a chance to bond with your loved ones in the kitchen, to share laughter and create memories. It’s an opportunity to create a slice of culinary magic, from the comfort of your own home. 

So, buckle up and roll up those sleeves. We’re about to embark on a flavourful journey, straight to the heart of Italy. The best part? You don’t need a plane ticket, just a zest for good food and a pinch of passion. Get ready to fall in love with every slice of your homemade Cheese & Tomato Pizza. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

To make a perfect Cheese & Tomato Pizza, you need more than just the right set of ingredients. You need to know why each one is there, what role it plays, and what makes it special.  

So, before we begin our culinary adventure, let’s take a closer look at the stars of our show and understand why they are perfect for our recipe. 

Sugar: The purpose of sugar here is not sweetness, but to feed the yeast. The yeast feeds on the sugar, causing it to activate and ferment, resulting in carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.  

The gas gets trapped in the dough, causing it to rise and become fluffy. An alternative could be honey, which will add a slight hint of its unique flavour to the dough. 

Yeast: Yeast is what makes our pizza dough rise and become light and airy. Without it, our dough would be flat and hard. The yeast feeds on the sugar, and as it digests it, carbon dioxide gas is released.  

This gas gets trapped in the dough, causing it to rise and give us the fluffy pizza crust. There are alternatives like baking powder, but nothing beats the unique flavour that yeast imparts to the dough. 

Plain Flour: This forms the base of our dough. The proteins in the flour react with the water to form gluten, which gives the dough its elasticity, allowing it to rise and become fluffy when baked. An alternative can be bread flour which will result in a chewier crust due to its higher protein content. 

Salt: Salt strengthens the gluten structure in the dough and enhances the flavour of other ingredients. Without it, the pizza dough might taste bland. A great substitute for regular table salt is sea salt, which has a different texture and a more natural flavour. 

Olive Oil: Olive oil is crucial to the texture and flavour of the pizza dough. It tenderizes the dough, making it softer and more pliable.  

Plus, it imparts a subtle fruity note that elevates the overall flavour of the dough. In a pinch, you can substitute it with other oils like canola or vegetable oil, but the flavour won’t be quite the same. 

Pizza Sauce: The sauce is the heart of the Cheese & Tomato Pizza. It’s the layer of zesty tanginess that beautifully contrasts the richness of the cheese. Tomato-based sauces are traditional but feel free to experiment with pesto or white sauce for a different flavour profile. 

Mozzarella Cheese: Mozzarella is the star of our show. It’s the rich, melty layer that gives our pizza its iconic cheesy goodness.  

The mild flavour of mozzarella pairs well with the tangy sauce without overpowering it. If you want to experiment, feel free to use a blend of cheeses, like cheddar or Monterey Jack, to add different flavours and textures. 

So there you have it, our main cast for the Cheese & Tomato Pizza. Each ingredient is like a piece of the puzzle, coming together to create the delightful experience that is a homemade pizza. Now that we’ve dissected our recipe, let’s put these ingredients into action and create some magic! 

Perfecting the Art of Pizza Dough 

Creating the perfect pizza starts with crafting the perfect dough. Yes, it’s all about the base. You see, a great pizza base is a canvas for the explosion of flavours that we associate with a delicious pizza.  

From the crust to the centre, the base holds everything together. But how does one create such a work of art? 

To answer this, we have to dive into the science of pizza dough. When water, yeast, and sugar unite, they initiate a fermentation process. It’s almost magical, seeing these simple ingredients come together, the yeast coming alive as it feasts on the sugar.  

It’s this process that results in our dough rising and developing those beautiful air pockets, giving us a crust that is light, fluffy, and oh-so satisfying. 

Flour, of course, plays a critical role too. It provides the base structure and texture for our dough. Mixing it with water leads to the formation of gluten, that elastic network that gives our pizza base its chewy texture.  

Want a chewier crust? Opt for bread flour due to its higher protein content, and you’ll be biting into a slice of chewy heaven. 

And let’s not forget about salt and olive oil. While they may seem like minor characters in our pizza story, they actually contribute significantly. Salt enhances the flavours and strengthens the gluten structure. Olive oil, on the other hand, gives a certain tenderness to the dough while adding a subtle, yet distinctive flavour. 

I cannot stress enough how important it is to let your dough rest. It needs time to allow the yeast to work its magic. A slow rise will result in a dough that’s easier to handle, more flavourful, and with a better texture. 

So remember, crafting the perfect pizza dough is a labour of love. It’s not just about the ingredients, but understanding them and how they work together. It’s about patience and a little bit of science. 

The Love for Mozzarella Cheese in Pizza 

Nothing spells pizza more than the sight of melty, gooey, beautifully browned mozzarella cheese stretching with every slice. It’s the crowning glory, the pièce de résistance of every pizza. But why is mozzarella the cheese of choice when it comes to pizza? And can other cheeses compete with its supremacy? 

Well, mozzarella is a dream to work with. It melts beautifully, creating that distinctive stretch we all associate with a good pizza. Its flavour is mellow, slightly tangy and salty, making it the perfect partner for the robust, tangy tomato sauce. It allows the other flavours to shine while still holding its own. 

But what is mozzarella cheese? It’s a traditional southern Italian cheese made from Italian buffalo’s milk using the pasta filata method. The name mozzarella comes from the Italian verb ‘mozzare’ which means ‘to cut’, reflecting the method by which the cheese curds are cut and shaped into balls. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love experimenting with cheese as much as the next person. There are so many varieties out there, each with its unique flavour and texture profile. Cheeses like cheddar or Monterey Jack can indeed provide a different experience. 

Cheddar, with its more assertive flavour and less stretchy melt, can give your pizza a more robust, cheesy punch.  

Monterey Jack, on the other hand, melts well and has a mild flavour, making it a suitable substitute. You could also consider a blend of different cheeses to create a multi-layered cheesy experience. 

However, when it comes to the classic Cheese & Tomato Pizza, mozzarella remains the undisputed champ. It brings the right balance of texture, flavour, and meltability to the table.  

So while there’s room for creativity and experimentation, there’s a reason why mozzarella is the darling of the pizza world. It’s a love affair that’s hard to beat! 

Unveiling the Power of Pizza Sauce 

When I think about pizza, one of the key elements that come to mind, right after the dough and cheese, is the pizza sauce. It’s the unsung hero, the one that brings harmony to all the other ingredients. It’s the heart and soul of a pizza, pumping flavour into every bite. 

It starts with the humble tomato. Choosing the right type of tomato is key. Traditionally, San Marzano tomatoes are favoured due to their sweet flavour, low acidity, and minimal seeds.  

They have a bold, rich, and slightly tangy taste that provides a solid foundation for our sauce. But if San Marzano tomatoes are out of reach, any high-quality canned plum tomatoes would work just fine. 

The beauty of pizza sauce lies in its simplicity. It’s usually uncooked, allowing the bright, fresh flavours of the tomato to shine through. A well-made pizza sauce is a balance of sweet, tart, and savoury. It’s not too overpowering, but it doesn’t fade into the background either. 

Other key players in the sauce game include garlic and herbs. Garlic imparts a savoury, aromatic flavour that’s vital to the sauce. Herbs such as basil and oregano give the sauce its distinctive Italian flavour profile.  

They infuse the sauce with a fragrant, herby aroma that sings in perfect harmony with the tomatoes. 

For those who like a little heat, a dash of red pepper flakes can spice things up. And let’s not forget about a pinch of sugar to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, and a splash of olive oil for a touch of richness. 

Remember, the sauce acts as a bridge, linking the dough and toppings together. It must complement the other ingredients, not compete with them. So, as tempting as it may be to go heavy on the sauce, restraint is key. 

The Art and Science of Baking the Perfect Pizza 

The moment of truth, the final hurdle before you get to bite into your homemade Cheese & Tomato Pizza, it’s all about baking. Getting the baking right is crucial, as it directly affects the texture and flavour of your pizza.  

Too long and your pizza could dry out; too short and you might end up with a soggy, undercooked mess. 

First things first, you need a really hot oven. Preheating your oven to 200°C (400°F) is a must. This high temperature is needed to get that beautiful, golden-brown crust and bubbling, perfectly melted cheese. It’s also essential for achieving a crisp base. A pizza stone or a heavy-duty baking sheet can help in maintaining a steady, high temperature. 

The positioning of your pizza in the oven also matters. For best results, place your pizza on the top rack. This allows for better heat circulation, ensuring that the crust and toppings cook evenly. And, it gets the cheese all nice and melty. 

Now, how long should you bake your pizza? Well, that’s where you need to keep a close eye. Generally, 10-15 minutes is a good range. You want the cheese to be beautifully browned and bubbling, and the crust to be crispy and golden. Once you’ve achieved this, your pizza is ready to be devoured. 

To sum it up, baking the perfect pizza is a delicate balance of the right temperature, correct oven position, and precise timing. And, while it may sound daunting, with a little practice, 

You’ll be a pizza-baking pro in no time! Remember, it’s not just about following the steps but understanding them and the role they play in creating that perfect slice of pizza. After all, baking is as much science as it is art. 

Elevating the Flavour with Olive Oil 

One ingredient that I particularly venerated for its ability to uplift the taste of my Cheese & Tomato Pizza is olive oil. It’s not just an ingredient; it’s a magic elixir that gives the pizza a depth of flavour and a distinctive richness. 

Why is olive oil so significant, you may ask? Well, it’s not just about lubricating the dough to make it soft and pliable. The role of olive oil extends far beyond. It penetrates the dough,  

enriching it from within and giving it a tender crumb with a delicate, slightly fruity flavour that contrasts beautifully with the punchy, savoury toppings. 

Additionally, olive oil plays a pivotal role in the baking process. It encourages the dough to brown in the oven, giving your pizza crust a lovely golden hue and an irresistible crunch. What’s more, it keeps the crust from getting soggy by creating a barrier that prevents the sauce from seeping in. 

On a more nuanced level, olive oil harmonizes the flavours of the different ingredients, making your pizza taste more complex and satisfying. It has the unique ability to round off the acidity of the tomato sauce, mellow the sharpness of the cheese, and enhance the overall flavour profile. 

So, if you’re ever out of olive oil, what can be used instead? Well, while it’s hard to replicate the distinctive flavour of olive oil, in a pinch, you could use canola or sunflower oil. However, bear in mind that these oils lack the rich, fruity flavour that olive oil imparts to the pizza. 

Perfecting the Cheese for Your Pizza 

Cheese is the crowning glory of any pizza, and in our Cheese & Tomato Pizza, it plays a star role. The right cheese can make or break your pizza, turning it from ordinary to extraordinary. 

The cheese of choice for our pizza is mozzarella. Its mild, creamy flavour and exceptional melting properties make it an excellent choice. It melts into a beautiful stretchy layer that pulls away with each bite, giving you that quintessential pizza experience. 

In addition to taste and texture, cheese also adds a visual appeal to the pizza. It melts into a beautiful golden brown layer, offering a visual cue that your pizza is baked to perfection. 

What if you don’t have mozzarella at hand? No worries, there are several alternatives that you can use. For instance, provolone, with its slightly stronger flavour, can be a good option. Or, you could opt for a blend of cheeses.  

A combination of cheddar for its sharpness, and Monterey Jack for its excellent melting properties, can also yield a delicious pizza. 

Remember, the choice of cheese can transform the flavour profile of your pizza. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and find your favourite cheese blend. Just make sure it’s a good melting cheese, as nothing beats the sight and taste of perfectly melted cheese on a hot pizza! 

Adding Pizzazz with Pizza Sauce 

If you ask me, pizza is nothing without the sauce. The sauce is where the magic begins; it sets the stage for every other ingredient that goes on top.  

In our beloved Cheese & Tomato Pizza, the pizza sauce is the unsung hero. It’s the element that underpins the whole pizza, giving it a vibrant flavour base that complements and enhances the taste of the cheese and the crust. 

But what’s so special about pizza sauce? It’s the tangy counterpoint to the rich cheese and bread. It helps balance out the richness of the cheese and adds a layer of complexity to the pizza’s flavour profile. Furthermore, it provides moisture that prevents the pizza from becoming too dry. 

The best thing about pizza sauce? Its versatility. You can tweak it to your preference. Want it spicy? Add some crushed red pepper flakes. Want it sweeter? A little sugar will do the trick. And if you’re a garlic lover like me, don’t hesitate to add some minced garlic for an extra kick. 

Now, what if you don’t have pizza sauce? You can use alternatives like marinara sauce, which has a similar flavour profile.  

You can also consider making a white pizza with a base of garlic-infused olive oil or a ricotta cheese mixture. The possibilities are endless, but a well-crafted pizza sauce is always a classic. 

Unlocking the Secrets of Yeast 

Yeast is one of the smallest ingredients in our Cheese & Tomato Pizza, but don’t be fooled by its size. It has a huge impact on the taste and texture of the pizza dough. 

Yeast is responsible for making the dough rise, giving it that airy, soft texture we all love.  

It does so by releasing carbon dioxide gases during fermentation. These gases get trapped in the dough, creating small bubbles that make the dough expand. This results in a light, fluffy dough that bakes into a perfect pizza crust. 

The type of yeast used and the time allowed for fermentation can significantly affect the flavour of the dough. Long fermentation times can give the dough a slightly tangy flavour, while shorter times result in a milder, more neutral flavour. 

If you’re out of yeast, baking powder can be used as an alternative. Although the taste and texture won’t be exactly the same, it will still help the dough rise. Just remember, with or without yeast, patience is key. Always allow your dough enough time to rest and rise before baking for the best results. 

A Dash of Sugar, A World of Difference 

It’s easy to overlook the importance of a simple ingredient like sugar when making a Cheese & Tomato Pizza. However, in my baking adventures, I’ve come to appreciate its vital role. 

Firstly, sugar feeds the yeast during the fermentation process, helping it activate and do its job of making the dough rise. This ensures a light and fluffy pizza crust that’s just irresistible. 

Secondly, it aids in the browning of the crust. A sprinkle of sugar in the dough results in a beautifully browned crust with an enticing aroma that beckons you to take a bite. 

Finally, it subtly balances the flavours. A dash of sugar can mellow the acidity of the tomato sauce, creating a harmonious blend of tastes in every bite. 

If you’re looking to substitute sugar, honey can work beautifully. Not only will it feed the yeast and aid in browning, but it will also add a unique, subtle sweetness that might just make your homemade pizza your new favourite. 

Plain Flour: The Canvas for Your Culinary Art 

In the realm of pizza-making, plain flour serves as the canvas on which we create our culinary masterpiece, the Cheese & Tomato Pizza. Its role cannot be overstated, and as a seasoned pizza maker, I can testify to its importance. 

Plain flour provides the structure to our pizza. When combined with water, it develops gluten, a protein that gives the dough its elasticity and strength. It’s this gluten network that allows the dough to stretch and expand without tearing, resulting in a pizza crust that’s just the right amount of chewy. 

Not only does plain flour contribute to the texture, but it also affects the taste. A good quality flour can add a slightly nutty, toasty flavour to your pizza crust, making it delicious enough to enjoy even without any toppings. 

If you don’t have plain flour at hand, you can use bread flour as a substitute. It has a higher protein content, which means more gluten formation and hence, a chewier crust.  

Just remember, whatever flour you use, take your time kneading the dough. This will ensure maximum gluten formation and a pizza crust that’s truly top-notch. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

If you’ve just stumbled upon my cheese and tomato pizza and you’re nodding your head thinking, “Ah, the classic touch of Italy,” then my friend, your food journey doesn’t have to stop here. There’s a whole Italian extravaganza of flavours just waiting for you to discover. 

Take the Garlic Bread With Cheese for instance. I don’t mean to brag, but when you bite into this garlicky, cheesy masterpiece, you’ll wonder why you ever settled for the store-bought stuff. Let the gooey, melted cheese and aromatic garlic transport you to a rustic Italian eatery. 

Feeling a little more adventurous? Why not venture into the world of Spaghetti Bolognese. This isn’t just any spaghetti; it’s an orchestra of meaty, tomatoey goodness, sautéed to perfection. You might even hear a faint mandolin playing in the background as you twirl your fork. 

If you’re a pizza purist, you’ll definitely want to master the Pizza Sauce. A sauce so divine, you’ll be tempted to eat it by the spoonful. Yes, I’m talking about a velvety, herb-infused sauce that forms the soul of any good pizza. I mean, can you even imagine your cheese and tomato pizza without its saucy soulmate? 

Let’s switch gears and talk about Margherita Pizza. It’s like the minimalist cousin of our cheese and tomato pizza. Dressed in the colours of the Italian flag, it’s an ode to the simplicity and finesse of Italian cooking. It’s like taking a mini-vacation in Rome without leaving your kitchen. 

And to end your Italian soiree on a high note, you must, and I can’t emphasize this enough, try the Tiramisu. One spoonful of this creamy, coffee-flavoured delight, and you’ll feel like you’re floating on an Italian cloud. 

So go ahead, give these recipes a whirl. And don’t forget to leave your comments, because I’m dying to hear how your Italian culinary escapade turns out! 

Cheese Pizza

Cheese & Tomato Pizza

by Nabeela Kauser
Even a beginner chef can master the art of pizza with this margherita pizza recipe. This is a classic homemade pizza recipe with soft dough, tomato sauce, and oozing with cheese.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 264 kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a small bowl mix the warm water with the sugar and yeast and leave to rest for 10 minutes to allow the yeast will activate – when the yeast has activated the mixture should be foamy and there should be small bubbles forming at the top
  • In a large bowl add the flour, salt, olive and the yeast mixture then mix until combined before transferring to the worktop and kneading for a further 8-10 minutes
  • Oil the bowl and transfer the dough into it then cover the dough with clingfilm and leave to rest for at least 1 hour to allow it to rise – preferably overnight to allow the yeast to ferment and create more flavour
  • When the dough has proofed flour the worktop sparingly and transfer the dough on then kneed for 2-3 minutes
  • Split the dough into two equal parts and create a smooth ball with each part – at this point it is also a good time to turn on the oven 200°C (400°F) gas mark 6 to allow it to preheat
  • With each dough ball use your hands to press down and outwards to create a circular base – do not use a rolling pin as this will push all the air out giving a tough base
  • Transfer the pizza bases onto 12-inch pizza pans
  • Use a ladle to spread the pizza sauce leaving approximately 1cm around the edge to create a crust then add the cheese – if you would like to add more toppings then add them on top of the cheese now
  • Bake at the top of the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is golden brown
  • Serve with crispy French fries and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.

Nutrition

Calories: 264kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 10gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 535mgPotassium: 110mgFibre: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 149IUVitamin C: 1mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 94mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Cheese, Food, Margherita, Pizza, Recipe, Tomato
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Latest comments (5)

Nabeela Kauser

Thanks for your feedback. I understand that the description might seem lengthy. Feel free to skip to the recipe directly if you prefer a more concise version. Enjoy your pizza!

Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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