Saturday, 31 January 2015

The amazing thing that is... Pizza!!

Pizza, boy do we love Pizza in this house, we eat it atleast once a week! We are not fans of premade pizza though. I mean some of them are edible like the super expensive supermarket 'fresh' ones that cost as much as a small child but they are quite convenient when they are on offer. Frozen pizza? never ever liked it, in fact, confession time.. as a child I hated pizza, like really loathed it because we only ever ate that icky, super cheap, frozen pizza at home. You know the kind, they cost about £1 for 4 and are full of sugar, salt and other nasties. Take away pizza? Forget about it, they are so horrificly bad and over priced!  It was only when I tried making my own pizza once I got into cooking that I discovered that actually it was pretty good! Then I met Mr. Grad and tried proper pizza, made in a pizza oven in a resturaunt run by a little old mamma and there was no turning back! It was heaven... it was also gigantic! Ever since then I've developed a very good appreciation for pizza and enjoy it quite a lot!

There are many recipes out there for pizza, some good, some not so good. Whilst you will rarely ever be able to make the awesome pizza that you eat in pizzeria's in Italy at home (unless you are amazing enough to own a pizza oven in your back yard, and if you do... can I be your friend??!!) this one is pretty darn good! This recipe I got from a little old grocer in the village that we stay in in Italy and it's soooo good and tasty! It's also really easy and  cheap. In the time it takes for your pizza to be delivered you could be eating this and I guarantee you it's a million times better and has no hidden nasties in it!

This recipe is also so customisable. Once you've made the base, go wild! .We added sliced onions at the same time as the mozzarella to one of ours. You could add thinly sliced Aubergines, or break apart some sausages and scatter over or perhaps some pepperoni. Mushrooms also go really well, just slice them thinly and add with the mozzarella, try adding some mascarpone with it too, or ricotta! Artichoke hearts are tasty too. To jazz up a plain old margherita scatter over some fresh rocket and a few shavings of Parmesan. Even bacon works well on pizza!

You can also totally skip out the tomato sauce and make 'white pizza'. Just follow the instructions above omiting adding the tomato sauce and cook as directed. Onion and Mozzarella are super tasty. You could also go the Quattro Formaggi way and add dollops of Ricotta, lashings of mozzarella and pieces of creamy gorgonzola (or stilton!) topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan for a truly delicious cheesy pizza (you can also add cheddar if, like me, you don't like blue cheese.)

Pizza: makes 1 large pizza (38x28cm tray) or two smaller round pizzas.

For the Dough:
  • 240g Strong White Flour
  • 150ml Warm Water
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 10g Dried Yeast (or fresh if you have!)
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Pizza:
  • 200g Passata
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Ball of Mozzarella 
  1. Tip the flour into a large bowl and add the salt to one side that the yeast to another. Make a well in the middle and add the warm water and oil. Mix together with a fork until you get a rough ball.
  2. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  3. Lightly oil a bowl and put in the dough, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or so.
  4. Meanwhile combine the Passata, Oregano, Salt, Pepper and Oil in a small jug or glassand set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas Mark 7 and lightly oil the tray (or trays).
  6. Knock back the dough and turn out onto a floured worksurface. 
  7. At this point you can divde into two and make two smaller pizzas, or you can roll into a rectangle to fit a large baking sheet.
  8. Once you've rolled out your dough, prick it all over with a fork and spread the tomato sauce evenly over.
  9. Place in the oven and cook for 10-12 miuntes until it starts looking golden around the edges.
  10. Remove from the oven and tear over the mozzarella and add any other toppings you want.
  11. Cook for another 10 minutes until the mozzarella is golden and bubbling.
  12. Cut into slices and serve immediately, perferrably with a nice cold beer!

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