Since I make pizza reasonably often and always make it up as I go along (around a vaguely known structure) I have decided to write it down so I have something to refer back to in future, and something I can build on to improve.
This recipe has a lot of meaning to me. I was once sat wondering what to eat and really fancied pizza. Sadly Dominos was a good 500m walk, and hella expensive, so I decided to use google and made some pizza. I did once visit Sicily for work but had already cooked this several times so was in no way inspired by my travels.
This recipe makes enough for approximately 4 pizzas (depending on size) and can be frozen.
- Take a can of whole tomatoes and place them in a sieve over a bowl to drain off excess liquid. Ideally use San Marzano tomatoes, otherwise you may need to add some sugar to taste (approx. 1tsp.).
- Once drained transfer the individual tomatoes to a blender/bowl.
- Add to this a small diced onion, 3 sundried tomatoes, chilli to taste (optional), 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp. olive oil, a grind of pepper, and a dash of mixed herbs.
- Blend for a period on a lowish speed to items are mixed. It should not be chunky, but also not a purée!
Dough (and pizza)
This makes enough for one 12” pizza. It can probably be scaled up fine.
- In a small receptacle mix around 1⁄2 a packet (4g) of dried yeast, with a pinch of sugar.
- Add to this 150ml of warm water and leave to sit for around 5 minutes so the yeast can develop,
- In a mixing bowl combine 150g 00 flour, 100g flour, about 7g salt, and a grind of pepper. The 00 flour is more finely ground and has a lower gluten content than standard flour so makes a slightly more dense and less chewy base and crust. Vary the ratios of flour as desired - more 00 will bring you towards a Neapolitan style base, whilst more normal will bring you towards the Sicilian style.
- After it has sat add 1 tbsp. olive oil to the water-yeast mix and stir. Oil contributes to the crispiness of the base, and is typical of Roma style pizza, whilst Neapolitan dough does not contain any.
- Mix the ingredients to combine and gradually add the water mix. If using a mixer with the hook attachment start on a low-medium speed to combine, and then reduce to a low speed to knead for a few minutes.
- The dough should be moist, but not sticky when pressed. Add flour 1 tbsp. at a time until the correct consistency is achieved. Always ensure this is well mixed in, and the dough does not form a laminar structure (sheet-like layers).
- Cover with a wet towel and leave to rise for 45 minutes.
- After this time has elapsed, knock the dough back, then cover again and leave to rise for another 45 minutes. If you are making multiple pizzas separate the dough at this point.
- Flour a tray and pre-heat the oven. In general as hot as it will go (approx. 250 deg C) unless cooking a specific variation of pizza.
- Prepare toppings. Drain and squeeze out approx. 120g mozzarella and tear into small chunks. Slice any other toppings as desired.
- After its second rise gently remove dough from the bowl trying not to lose too much air (a silicone spatula helps, as can oiling the bowl before the dough is placed inside it) and gently apply some flour to the surface.
- Stretch the dough by hand into the desired shape (use gravity to help you, or try and toss if feeling bold) and place on the tray.
- Place the base in the oxen for approx. 3 minutes to bake and then remove.
- Spoon approx. 2 tbsp. sauce (see above) over the base and spread around. On top of this add a few fresh basil leaves.
- Finally add toppings as desired, dash over some dried oregano, and then a very fine drizzle of oil (narrow spout or good technique required) before returning to the oven.
- Keep an eye on the pizza and remove when it is cooked as desired. I generally do this when the cheese is bubbling and beginning to golden, but Sicilian style would come out sooner.
- Grate over a sprinkling of Hard Italian cheese (e.g. Parmesan, Peccorino Romano, Gran Padano etc.) and leave to sit for 3-5 minutes. If you have spinach or rocket as a topping also add that now.
- Transfer to surface, slice, and eat.
- Slice a large potato very thinly and soak in a bowl of cold water for 15 min.
- Remove slices from the water and pat dry.
- Place other toppings on the base as usual and then layer over the potatoes in a dragon scale pattern.
- Scatter over some rosemary, a sprinkling of salt, and then drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake at a lower temperature (180-200 deg C) for 15 min. to allow the potato to cook through before then raising to maximum (around 250 deg C) until the edges crisp and the pizza is done.
- Remove, grate over some hard cheese, stand, and serve as above.
Garlic and herb dip
- In a bowl combine 3 tbsp. yoghurt, 1 tbsp. mayonnaise, 1 crushed garlic clove, and a quantity of mixed herbs.