Princess Margherita’s pizza

A homemade pizza classic, with a couple of kicky additions fit for a queen-to-be.


The story goes that the first pizza made with tomato, cheese and basil – the red, white and green of the Italian flag – was presented to the lucky Queen Margherita in Naples back in 1889. I add a warm note of oregano and dots of spicy pepperoni, so it's Queen Margherita's classic with a few kicky additions, something more suitable for an impetuous queen-to-be: that's why I call it Princess Margherita’s pizza.

I know that there’s nothing easier than picking up the phone and waiting for a pizza to turn up at your door, but I promise you that this homemade version will be faster, fresher and infinitely more fabulous.

By dispensing with the need to make a dough, I guess this is really closer to a baked open sandwich, but let’s not quibble.

Instead of a pizza base, use a flatbread of some kind. I like the small, oval Turkish breads I find at the bakery, sometimes called pide, which provide just the right texture; naan can be very good here, too. Whatever you choose, do not choose a frozen pizza base.

I use fontina rather than the traditional mozzarella, not only because it melts beautifully, but because it is more likely to actually taste like cheese. If you can’t find passata in sachets or small quantities, you can happily substitute a very finely chopped ripe tomato or even, as I have often done, very good, very tomatoey ketchup amped up with a little tomato paste.

Princess Margherita’s pizza


For 2.

1 small Turkish bread (pide)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons passata
1 teaspoon dried oregano
50g (2 oz) fontina cheese, coarsely grated
25g (1 oz) pepperoni, thinly sliced
fresh basil leaves

Set your grill (broiler) to high and your oven to 220°C (425°F).

Using a long, serrated knife, cut the pide in half, lengthways. Brush the cut side with olive oil and put it under the grill until it just turns golden brown. Once that’s done, you can switch the grill off.

Put the lightly toasted bread on a baking tray and, using the back of a spoon, spread the passata almost to the edge.

Sprinkle over the dried oregano and the cheese, then add the slices of pepperoni.

Slide the tray into the oven. It takes about 8 minutes for the cheese to melt and bubble.

Cut into pieces and adorn each piece with a fresh basil leaf.