Whenever I ask my kids what they want for dinner, the answer is always the same: Pizza! I find it to be a great dish to make when there’s very little ingredients in the cupboards. It’s easy to create something quite amazing with very little effort.
half a quantity of basic bread dough (check out the recipe in the bread category)
your favourite topping
Start by making your dough. I divide the master recipe into half and use semolina or polenta with the flour. I also add a tablespoon of olive oil into the mix after about 4mins of kneading, this will create lovely air pockets in the pizza base when baking, plus it’ll give it more flavour. From this quantity of dough I’d make four round pizzas. I like mine thin, but it’s entirely up to you how many pizzas or how thick you make them. After dividing the the dough into equal size pieces, shape them into balls and leave to rest for half an hour under a clean cloth. (Remember to sprinkle flour underneath and small bit on the top, so they won’t stick, also leave enough space in between)
At this stage I turn on the oven. The ideal temperature for pizza is 300 degrees celsius, so the closer you can get to that, the better. My lovely oven only manages just over 220 celsius, which will do the the trick also, just not as well.. If you have a pizza stone, throw it in the oven now, so there will be enough time for it to get nice and hot. These stones are great, as they help cook the base quick and giving the pizza base a lighter, crispier texture when done.
To make the tomato sauce, I use either fresh or tinned plum tomatoes. I put the tomatoes in the saucepan along with garlic, basil and bit of seasoning (sea salt and ground mixed pepper) Let it bubble for a few minutes to release all the juices and bring all the flavours together. Then whizz it in the food processor, or pulse, into smooth sauce. Sometimes I drain it through a sieve to discard skin bits and seeds, but sometimes I don’t.. It really depends on how much time and energy I’ve got!
Once the dough has rested I shape them into flat pizza bases either by using the rolling pin, or just stretching them by hand. I find that if I use just hands, the base will be bubblier and lighter once cooked, but either way is fine and end result will be fab! Once the oven has reached the temperature I take the pizza stone out of the oven and place the base on it. Spread some tomato sauce over it and throw the cheese on. I usually use mix of grated mozzarella and parmesan, but any hard cheese will do. If I use fresh soft mozzarella, I’d only put it on after the pizza is cooked, because I find that otherwise it makes the pizza a bit soggy. Bake the pizza for 4-10mins, depending on how hot your oven is. Basically, it’s the golden brown look you’re after.
In our house the pizza gets the centre stage, so I place it on the middle of the table, on the heavy timber chopping board my dad made me, and let everyone dig in!