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A Simple Margherita Recipe From a Brooklyn Pizza Expert

Chef Mohamed Wahiba spent time at New York pizzerias like Speedy Romeo and Nicoletta

Make pizza at home. Trust us that it can be done with relative ease, and you may even make a pie that’s just as good as what your local pizzeria serves.

Or don’t listen to us, and listen instead to chef Mohamed Wahiba, the Brooklyn-based chef who worked alongside Justin Bazdaric at beloved shop Speedy Romeo and spent time in the kitchens at Michael White’s Nicoletta and Morini. Since he started at Nicoletta, Wahiba has been teaching pizza-making classes, initially to guests of the restaurant and then eventually expanding to hosting classes under his events and catering company, Tripoli Events.

Specializing in Neapolitan-style, Wahiba will teach the art of pizza pretty much anywhere in the New York area where he can take his small, portable wood-fired oven. And from now until August 30, Wahiba and his oven are popping up at Brooklyn’s Maison Yaki, serving a menu of Italian dishes like wood-fired pizzas (there’s one topped with provolone, ricotta, and spicy honey), fresh lasagna and pastas, chicken pesto sandwiches, and heirloom tomato salads. Check out Wahiba’s recipe for a classic pizza margherita below, which the chef demonstrated on Eater’s Instagram at part of Eater at Home.

Classic Margherita Pizza

Makes 10 pizzas

For the pizza dough:
1,700 grams doppio zero (or “00”) flour
1 liter tap water
10 grams fresh yeast
20 grams olive oil
35 grams salt

For the pizza sauce:
About 800 grams ground tomato
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves

For each 10-inch pizza:
1 dough ball
~75 grams pizza sauce
100 grams fresh mozzarella
3 to 4 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Medium bowl
Large bowl
Spatula or dough scraper
Pizza peel
Kitchen scale

Step 1: Make the pizza dough. In a medium bowl, combine fresh yeast and water, stirring with whisk. Add salt and olive oil, continuing to stir with a whisk. Using a large bowl or work surface, slowly combine mixture with flour while kneading continuously. Coat inside of a large bowl with olive oil; transfer dough to bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 4 hours.

Photo courtesy of Mohamed Wahiba

Step 2: Once the 4 hours are up, use a scale to cut dough into 6-ounce pieces then roll each into a ball. To roll the dough, fold each piece of dough in on itself, joining the edges together at one point (almost as if you were creating a dough belly button). Pinch to close. Arrange dough balls on a plate or tray with the “belly button” facing down. Cover and store in a cool environment for 24 hours. (They will be ready to bake into pizzas tomorrow!)

Step 3: To make one pizza, place one dough ball on a surface lightly coated with flour. Press the dough before stretching it by pushing down with your palm to flatten the ball into a disc shape. Then, stretch the dough. Starting at the center, press down and out (toward the edges) with your fingers.

Step 4: Top your pizza as desired. For a classic margherita, drop a dollop of sauce at the center and use the back of the spoon to spread across the dough. Add pieces of fresh mozzarella, oregano flakes, basil leaves, grated Parmesan, and olive oil.

Step 5: Set the oven to its highest possible temperature (typically 500 degrees for most home ovens) and allow it to heat for at least one hour before you intend to cook — the hotter the oven, the better! It will cook quickly, so keep a close eye on the crust and the bottom of the pizza to avoid burning it. Slide onto a cutting board and cut into slices. Enjoy!

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