The Pizza That Was Named For A Queen – Recipe

February 10, 2014

Margherita of Savoy-Genoa, queen of Italy

Margherita of Savoy-Genoa, Queen Consort of Italy


Margherita Teresa Giovanna, Princess of Savoy, was born in Turin, on November 20, 1851. On April 21, 1868, when just sixteen years old, she married her first cousin, Umberto, Crown Prince of Italy.

Pizza Margherita was named after her. This is how it happened…

In June 1898, Margherita accompanied her husband, now Umberto I, King of Italy, on a visit to Naples. While there, Raffaele Esposito and Maria Giovanni Brandi, owners of Pizzeria Brandi, a very old pizzeria close to the Royal Palace, were officially invited to come to Court.

One of the rooms inside the Royal Palace. Naples, Italy. Photo by Armando Mancini

One of the rooms inside the Royal Palace. Naples, Italy. Photo by Armando Mancini

Raffaele prepared three pizzas for this unforgettable moment in their family history. The first was a white pizza, with olive oil, cheese and basil and no tomato sauce. The second was topped with cecenielle (a small fish).

It was the third one however, that caught the Queen’s eye, with its blending of red, white, and green, using tomato slices, mozzarella, and basil. Queen Margherita enjoyed it immensely and Raffaele immediately named it Pizza Margherita in her honor.

The next day, the Queen had one of her officials send a thank you note to express her appreciation. 


Margherita Pizza

This note, dated June 11, 1898, is carefully preserved at Pizzeria Brandi, where it can still be seen today, graciously attesting to the Queen’s kindness. And while the Pizzeria itself is no longer owned by descendants of Raffaele and Maria Giovanna,  their famous creation, Pizza Margherita, is the delight of millions around the world.


 Margherita, Queen of Italy

Pizza Dough Recipe

 Makes 2 (14″ to 16″) pizzas

¼ teaspoon (generous) of dry yeast

½ Cup of tepid (not warm) water (105˚-115˚). (The quality of the water is important, so use either spring water or bottled water.

1 Tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of flour, (Gold Medal is better than Pillsbury flour)

Mix these 4 ingredients together and let it sit for 8 minutes.


Using your Kitchen Aid, add the dough hook and place the above [yeast] mixture in the bowl and then add

1 Cup flour

2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1 Tablespoon of honey (sugar if you don’t have honey)

½ Cup of tepid water


Mix on low, increasing speed to medium once mixture comes together. Make sure all the flour is mixed in. Mix for 2 minutes. Reduce speed while you add another cup of flour. Mix well and then add the last cup of flour. (Total of 3 Cups of flour.) If it is still sticky, add another ½ cup of flour till the dough forms a ball around the hook, and the sides of the mixing bowl are clean. If dough is too dry, add 1/4 to 1/2 Cup of water.

Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning it over once. Cover and leave in a warm place till it doubles in size. About 1 to 2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch out the air, divide dough in half and roll one half out to the size of the pan on a floured countertop.  You can freeze the other half of the pizza dough. Grease your pizza pan and put the dough onto the top. If you are not ready to bake the (rolled out) pizza, you can cover it and put it in the refrigerator to use the next day. Otherwise, fill the pizza using the recipe below.


Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

Margherita Topping:


    1 tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

    1 sprig Parsley, chopped (if using dry Parsley, use 1 teaspoon)


    1 large Garlic clove, minced

    1/4 teaspoon Dry Oregano


    1-1/2 cups canned whole peeled, diced Tomatoes (drained, but reserve the liquid)

    1/3 cup packed fresh Basil leaves, torn (if using dry, use 3 teaspoons)


    10 ounces fresh Mozzarella, thinly sliced

    2 to 3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

    Salt or Garlic Salt

Pizza slice

With the canned tomatoes, drain the juice, but keep the liquid near by. When you add them (below) you might need some of the liquid. The idea is to create a sauce that is not too watery and not too dry. Generally you will need about ½ cup of this liquid, as you would want it to be close to pizza sauce consistency.


Make sure the diced tomatoes are not too big.  Cut any that are.


1. In a skillet or a medium pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and parsley over medium high to golden. Dry parsley will get dark and a bit crisp.  Stir in garlic and oregano for a few seconds. Don’t let the garlic burn. Immediately add tomatoes, stir in any liquid you may need and sprinkle with salt (about 1 teaspoon).  Stir and boil for 5 minutes.

2. Heat the oven to 500°F, with the rack at the lowest setting.

3. Spread sauce over rolled out crust, sprinkle with basil, salt, mozzarella, and finally the oil.

4. Bake the pizza on the lowest rack for 8 minutes. Remove the pizza pan, leaving the pizza on the oven rack for 2 minutes more. Slide the pizza pan back under the pizza and Serve!


Pizza Dough recipe Copyright 2013 –

Margherita Topping



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