Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Viva la Pizza

Pizza. The world's favourite Italian dish, but you might be thinking it's easier to order it than make it yourself. Now, I am here to tell you, you do not need to be an Italian pizza chef or have a  wood burning pizza oven to make an amazing pizza. I have five rules with pizza:

1. The dough must be made the night before
2. The toppings must be of high quality
3. The tomato sauce must be made from scratch
4. The oven must be at the highest temperature when cooking your pizza.
5. Do not overload your pizza to avoid sogginess.

Every 'traditional' pizza chef will tell you to never over-load your pizza with toppings and sauce. They are right, you should try and put 3 or 4 toppings to avoid the pizza being soggy. I remember making this dish with my brothers when I was younger, my mum would make the dough and let us make our own creation. Then after feasting on our creations everyone would have bloated stomachs and the facial expression of 'no more or I will explode'. Every bite you take is a reward for all the hard work you have put into making the pizza.  I have slightly changed my mums dough recipe to create an even crispier base.


1. For the dough: in a large bowl sieve 450g white bread flour and 2tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of white sugar. Then place 4 tsp of dried active yeast on one side of your bowl and 1 tsp of salt on the other half. Now make a well in your bowl and place 300ml of lukewarm water.

2. Mix together until it form a rough dough, this takes around 3 mins. Now, slowly add 100ml of lukewarm water to the dough with a wooden spoon. Your dough should be really sticky. Place on a heavily floured worktop and knead for 5-8 mins.
3. Once the dough is kneaded place in a bowl and cover it with a dish towel and allow to prove overnight in a warm area.

4. For the sauce: in a medium saucepan, saute 3 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 diced red onion, until golden brown. Now add 5 freshly chopped tomatoes and cook for 3 mins on a medium heat. To season add 1 tbsp of fresh/dried oregano, 2 tsp of sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix. Allow to cook for 4-5 mins and stir occasionally. Now add 2 tbsp of tomato puree and a handful of roughly chopped basil and cook for a further 2 mins. Season to taste and allow to cool.

5. Preheat your oven to 220C and place your baking tray in to heat up.
6. Roll out your dough.Place your dough on a lightly floured worktop  and roll into a  long sausage shape. This recipe makes 10 pizzas, divide your dough into 10 pieces and flour them.

7. Now lightly flour your worktop and your rolling pin and roll out the dough until its 1-2cm thick. Do not worry if the dough is not circular, it does not matter. Place on your hot baking tray. Repeat step 7 to make the other pizzas.

8. Now, smear 1-2 tbsp of your cold tomato sauce across your pizza and place your toppings. Some fresh basil, parma ham, mozzarella, artichokes et.c Once you have chosen your toppings, bake for 15-20 mins.

9. Once the pizza is cooked, garnish with some fresh basil leaves and enjoy!!

Bon Appetito!!!

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