I thought today for something different, I would share one of the very great pleasures of being unemployed – “real” food. And as we are coming up to take out Friday, I would do this by sharing my perfect pizza recipe. I am not the only one who things my pizza is perfect – I have friends that drop everything and drive for miles when I make pizza. Katy sometimes suggests I do it when she’s coming to visit.
There are several reasons it’s an unemployment pleasure:
- it takes two to three hours to make
- it’s cheaper than shop pizza (around here anyway)
And, as added bonuses
- you can make it exactly how you like it – with or without marinated anchovies, fine shavings of double smoked organic ham, garlic scented olives, topping all the way to the edges
- everyone loves you because you make them pizza and they think it’s hard work
- you can take all your stored up aggression about stupid job interview panels out on the dough
Here’s what you will need for two pizzas :
- combine yeast, water and sugar and leave to brew for about 20 minutes
- mix the flour, salt and oil and make a well in the centre
- combine the yeast and flour mixes with a spoon and then with hands as it thickens
- knead for at least five minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. The more you knead it, the thinner and crisper it will be – something to do with beating out the gas I assume. I make them thin. And crispy.
- sprinkle a little flour in the bowl and put the dough in. Cover tightly with cling film and put in the sink with hot water up to about half the bowl. Leave it to prove (rise) for at least an hour.
In the meantime, put the tomatoes in a blender to make the sauce. I use cherry tomatoes when I am using strongly flavoured toppings like salamis, or Italian tomatoes for a stronger flavour with milder toppings like mozzarella. Or if I am fortunate enough to have some lovely fresh tomatoes I’ll blend them and cook them through for a fresh sauce. With or without fresh or preserved basil. It’s fun to try out different things! I prefer my sauce plain with the tiniest amount of salt and pepper, but DB likes Italian herbs so we generally mix the two together.
This is also a good time to grate your Parmesan and/or tear up your mozzarella, and chop your toppings.
Once the dough is proven, you can knock it back (smash the air out of it) and store it in the fridge for a few days. We generally have pizza for Friday supper and then a weekend lunch if we are not feeding friends, in which case we scoff it all!
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 220° C (428° F), and roll out your dough. Place it on your tray, cover with sauce and toppings, then cook for 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your crust, and the wetness of your toppings (more thick/wet = more time).
My Favourite Toppings
- tomato sauce, ham, salami and mushroom topped with parmesan
- tomato sauce, bacon, egg, mushroom with parmesan (breakfast pizza!)
- Margherita – tomato sauce, mozzarella sprinkled with fresh torn basil when cooked
- basil pesto topped with sliced tomato, mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan
- olive oil topped with garlic slivers, finely sliced potato and a sprinkling of fresh rosemary
I’m drooling just thinking about it – what’s your favourite pizza?
 edited Feb 26 2015: for those wondering, the source of these recipes is a Nonna I met at a local Continental Deli. Sadly for me it has since shut down and I can no longer get my favourite hot chocolate mix among other things…