Pizza margherita with parma ham and rocket

Catherine Fulvio dresses up a classic tomato and mozzarella pizza with Italys most famous ham and punchy salad leaves
By Catherine Fulvio
Pizza margherita with parma ham and rocket
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3 x 20cm pizzas
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus rising time
  • Effort: easy


For the dough

  • 500 g strong white flour
  • 7 g or 1 sachet dried yeast
  • about 300 ml lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • semolina, for dusting

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh herbs, such as marjoram, sage or thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 600 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp sugar, (optional)

For the topping

  • 18 slices mozzarella
  • 3 handfuls rocket, leaves
  • a little vinaigrette, or lemon and oil salad dressing
  • 6 Parma ham, cut into 3cm strips


1. For the base: mix the yeast and sugar into the lukewarm water and set aside until frothy.

2. Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the salt, olive oil and frothy yeast mixture and mix to a loose dough, adding more flour or water as required.

3. Knead the dough until it is very pliable - about 5 minutes if using the dough hook of an electric mixer, or 7-10 minutes if kneading by hand.

4. Sit the dough in a well-oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place until the dough has trebled in size and is springy to touch.

5. For the sauce: heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and herbs and sauté over a low heat for 7-10 minutes, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.

6. Pour in the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt, pepper and, if necessary, sugar.

7. Preheat the oven to 230C/210C fan/Gas 8. When the dough has risen, knock it back and place on a floured surface. Knead it again by hand for 2-3 minutes then divide into three equal pieces.

8. Roll out or stretch each piece of dough with your hands and place on a baking sheet sprinkled with semolina. To avoid a soggy base, brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil.

9. For the topping: spread the pizza bases with the tomato sauce and arrange 6 slices of mozzarella on top of each. Place in the hot oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until light brown and bubbly.

10. Dress the rocket lightly with the salad dressing. Lay the strips of parma ham like spokes on the outer side of the pizzas and place a handful of rocket in the centre of each. Serve immediately.

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