A Margherita pizza. The ingredients: just tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil (photos #1 and #3 © DeLallo).
 Margherita of Savoy, who became Queen of Italy upon the succession of her husband, Umberto, Prince of Piedmont, on January 9, 1878 (engraving by Alberto Maso Gilli | Wikipedia).
 Buy a pizza dough kit like this one from DeLallo, a mound of fresh pizza dough, or a ready-to-bake pizza crust.
 It’s the fresh basil that makes the difference (photo CCO Public Domain).
June 11th is National Margherita Pizza Day. As the story goes, Queen Margherita of Italy (1851-1926, queen from 1878) was visiting Naples.
She asked a prominent pizzaiolo (peet-sa-YO-lo, a pizza maker), Don Raffaele to make her a special pizza.
Today we may not think his creation was so special: It was just tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. The colors, red, white, and green, happen to be the colors of the Italian flag.
That’s how what we’d call a plain pie with some fresh basil was named in the queen’s honor: the “Margherita Pizza.”
> The history of pizza.
> All of the pizza holidays are below.
RECIPE: MARGHERITA PIZZA
1 (17.6-ounce) DeLallo Pizza Dough Kit or purchased dough or crust
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
Extra virgin olive oil
1 can (28 ounces) San Marzano tomatoes, drained and diced (or buy them diced)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
Handful of fresh basil leaves, stems removed
Freshly ground black pepper
If you have purchased pizza dough or a ready-to-bake crust, skip to Step 3.
1. COMBINE THE flour mix and yeast packet of the pizza dough kit in a large mixing bowl with the water. Stir with a fork until the dough begins to form.
2. KNEAD by hand for 3 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. (After this step, you can refrigerate for use within 1-3 days.)
3. PREHEAT the oven to 450˚F. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Form the pizza by hand on a lightly oiled baking pan or pizza stone.
4. BRUSH each crust with olive oil. Then, divide the toppings and top with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella slices. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
5. BAKE for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and toppings are browned. Serve topped with fresh basil leaves.
THE YEAR IN PIZZA HOLIDAYS
Whether you get a takeout pizza, go to a restaurant, or make your own, mark your calendars for:
JANUARY: National Pizza Week, beginning the second Sunday in January
FEBRUARY: Great American Pizza Bake, beginning the second week in February, a week where you’re encouraged to not only consume pizza, but to try your hand in making it
FEBRUARY: National Pizza Day (a.k.a. National Pizza Pie Day), February 9th
APRIL: National Deep Dish Pizza Day, April 5th
MAY: National Pizza Party Day, third Friday
JUNE: Pizza Margherita Day, June 11th
SEPTEMBER: National Cheese Pizza Day, September 5th
SEPTEMBER: National Pepperoni Pizza Day, September 20th
OCTOBER: National Pizza Month
OCTOBER: International Beer and Pizza Day, October 9th
OCTOBER National Sausage Pizza Day, October 11th
NOVEMBER: National Pizza With Everything Except Anchovies Day, November 12th