This is among the most familiar of Neapolitan pizzas, often just tomato sauce and cheese baked on a disk of flatbread. In cities like New York, the Margherita has been trashed by the ubiquitous ordinary pizza parlor—often through a lack of attention in cooking and a careless approach to ingredients. But if you’re lucky enough to discover one of the really good pizza places in Naples or elsewhere in Italy, you’ll see an almost fanatical approach to the pizza’s components. The tomatoes will likely be San Marzanos; the mozzarella will be from the best buffalo milk. I too am determined to use the highest-quality ingredients I can get. You probably remember how fanatical I am about excellence in tomatoes! But, when it comes to mozzarella, I’ve learned cow’s milk can also produce some great cheese. On that note, in the original recipe that appears in the book, there’s a lot of mozzarella on that pie. Really, all you need is a little less than half the given amount.

Makes one 10- to 12-inch pizza

1 ball of Pizza Dough, shaped and waiting on a floured peel (page 26)
70 grams (¼ cup) Basic Tomato Sauce (page 34)
70 grams (2 ¼ ounces) fresh mozzarella, pulled into 5 clumps
10 grams (3 tablespoons) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Pinch of fine sea salt
6 basil leaves, or to taste

1. Put the pizza stone on a rack in a gas oven about 8 inches from the broiler. Preheat the oven on bake at 500°F for 30 minutes. Switch to broil for 10 minutes. (For an electric variation, see page 18.)

2. With the dough on the peel, spoon the tomato sauce over the surface and spread it evenly, leaving about an inch of the rim untouched. Distribute the mozzarella evenly over the pie.

3. With quick, jerking motions, slide the pie onto the stone. Broil for 3½ to 4 minutes under gas (somewhat longer with an electric oven; see page 18), until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred but not burnt.

4. Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a tray or serving platter. Sprinkle the Parmigiano and salt evenly over the pizza. Distribute the basil on top. Slice and serve immediately.