Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita is the ultimate in simplicity and taste. It’s crisp crust is topped with a simple home-made pizza sauce, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. One bite of this classic pizza and you’ll never opt for the store-bought pizza again!
I wish that I could say that cooking pizza in a cast-iron skillet was my idea, but it wasn’t. I was inspired to make this wonderful pizza after watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen. In the past when I’ve made pizza, I’ve cooked it on a pizza stone in the oven. While this worked, the pizza stone consistently smoked and smelled up the kitchen to the dismay of the Master Taste Tester. The cast-iron skillet not only solved this problem, but also produced a superior crispy crust.
Making the Pizza Dough for Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
I started by making the pizza dough consisting of bread flour, instant yeast, salt, olive oil, and water. The beauty of this crust is that the food processor does most of the work. I added the bread flour, yeast, and salt to the bowl of the food processor fitted with a steel blade. Then, I pulsed the ingredients 5 or 6 times to ensure that they were well combined. Next, I added the olive oil and water, and processed the dough until a rough ball formed. This took about 40 seconds. After letting the dough rest for about 2 minutes, I processed it for 30 more seconds.
I transferred the dough to a floured surface, and formed it into a round ball. Finally, I placed it in a greased 4-cup measuring cup, covered it with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled in size. This took about 1-1/2 hours. Sometimes, I make the dough ahead of time. Rather than letting it rise, I roll it in a bit of olive oil, place it in a ziploc bag, and refrigerate it until I’m ready to use it.
Making the Simple Home-Made Sauce for Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
While the dough was rising, I made a simple pizza sauce consisting of canned whole tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, and dried oregano. First, I drained the canned tomatoes. Then, I placed them to the food processor fitted with a steel blade and added the remaining ingredients. I processed the sauce until it was smooth. This took about 30 seconds. Finally, I seasoned it to taste with a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Ingredients for Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
I used the following ingredients for the pizza: Pizza dough, simple home-made pizza sauce, grated fresh parmesan cheese, whole milk mozzarella, and fresh basil.
Building the Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
The first thing that I did was to divide the dough in half. Then, I pressed and rolled one piece of dough into an 11-inch round on a floured piece of parchment paper. I actually traced an 11-inch circle on the other side of the parchment paper to serve as a guide. Next, I greased a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with olive oil. I placed the dough in the skillet, and pushed the dough to the edges to completely cover the bottom of the pan. At this point, Susan took over.
To build the pizza, Susan started by spreading about 1/3 of a cup of pizza sauce over the surface of the dough. She made sure to leave about a half-inch border around the edge. Then, she grated the Parmesan cheese over the sauce. Next, Susan arranged the mozzarella cheese on top of the Parmesan cheese. To give the crust a jump-start, she heated the skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the outer edge of the dough was set. Finally, she placed the skillet in a preheated 500° F oven for about 10 minutes until the edge of the pizza was golden brown, and the cheese was melted. Susan finished the pizza by sprinkling on some chopped fresh basil.
Finishing the Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
Susan let the pizza rest in the pan for about 5 minutes after removing it from the oven. Then, she used a spatula to transfer the pizza from the pan to a paper towel lined wire rack to cool for another 5 minutes. The reason for putting it on the paper towels was to remove any excess olive oil from the bottom.
Finally, the moment of truth. Susan transferred the pizza to a cutting board, and cut it into wedges.
The bottom crust was perfectly crispy, and the top had the perfect blend of the pizza sauce, cheeses and basil. Yum!