My first question when I noticed this pizza was, "Where did the name come from?"
Cooking down the tomatoes for the pizzaiola sauce
Apparently in 1189 King Umberto of Italy was making a visit to Naples; a Neapolitan baker named Raffaele Esposito made 3 different pizzas in honor of the king and his queen, Margherita. The queen's favorite showcased the colors of the new flag of Italy: green (basil leaves), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes). This pizza was a bit more involved then the others we've made because we had to start by making a pizzaiola sauce. I would say it was from scratch, but it used canned tomatoes and I'm not sure that would count as scratch. Although my mom always said if you scratched the box (or can) you could honestly say it was made "from scratch!" It involved adding a can of tomatoes to very hot olive oil (definitely wear an old t-shirt and plan on cleaning the stove after this!) and cooking it down and blending it smooth. I spread the sauce over the prebaked crust, and then arranged campari tomatoes over the sauce. Mike wanted the tomatoes sliced because he doesn't care for big bites of tomato. I would have left the tomatoes in half. We ended with a compromise of slicing the tomatoes in thirds. After seasoning with some Italian Herb Pizza Seasoning, I baked it for 5 minutes. I took it out of the oven and shredded some pecorino romano cheese (which the recipe didn't call for, but I had it in the frig and thought it sounded yummy) and mozzarella on top before putting it back into the oven for an additional 9 minutes to finish baking. After I pulled it out of the oven the final time I added some fresh basil leaves and drizzled some olive oil on top. Once again we were struck with the simplicity of the toppings that allowed us to enjoy the fresh flavors of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Other than the time involved preparing the sauce this was a fairly simple pizza. Quite honestly, substituting canned pizza sauce would not detract greatly from this pizza making it an easy yet elegant pizza for anyone to make with their family.