Simple, authentic Italian pizza

pizza recipe
Always a winner, we love having pizzas as a weekend treat. Here's how to create a taste of Italy at home, and some favourite toppings and top tips for awesome pizzas.

Top tips for awesome pizzas
  • Use a pizza stone. I was given one as a Christmas present and use it every time I make pizzas as it gives more of a stonebake texture. It also cleans a lot more easily then baking trays! 
  • One mozzarella ball per person.
  • Dusting bases lightly with semolina flour when rolling out gives an authentic coating and base.
  • Keep toppings small - as in chop small so they cook quickly, and also as in don't overload with topping as the base won't cook underneath it.
  • Add ingredients like basil. parma ham or parmesan shavings just before taking to the table to maximise flavour and appearance.

Our favourite toppings are:

  • Margherita - tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil.
  • Parma e rucola - tomato sauce, mozzarella, parma ham, rocket leaves and parmesan shavings.
  • Spicy meats - pancetta and/or sausage meat (crumbled straight out of sausages!), sliced red jalepenos and halved cherry tomatoes (cut side up).
Makes 4 good size pizzas.

Pizza bases

Ingredients:
500g very strong white bread flour.
350ml warm water
10g salt
10g sugar
1 tsp/1 sachet fast action dried yeast

Method:
  1. 1. Dissolve the sugar in the water, then stir in the yeast and leave it for a minute or two. 
  2. Add the salt to the flour, and mix it in a bit. 
  3. Pour the yeasty water into the flour and knead for 10 minutes (I use a food mixer with a dough hook).. 
  4. When the dough is springy, divide it into four then roll each one into a ball. Place these dough balls onto a lightly floured tray, sprinkle more flour on top then cover with clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm place for two hours.

Tomato sauce for pizza and pasta

Ingredients:
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes, or one large jar tomato passata
Olive oil
Garlic
Herbs - dried oregano, basil leaves
Tiny pinch of chilli flakes
Salt and pepper

Method:
  1. Gently heat a good glug of oil in a saucepan.
  2. Crush in the garlic.
  3. When this begins to release its fragrance tip in the tomatoes.
  4. Season with herbs, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
  5. Give it a good stir, put the lid on and simmer gently for at least half an hour. It shouldn't be watery any more.
  6. Stir in a bit of oil and some fresh basil leaves, then leave to cool.

Cooking the pizzas 

So you should have dough balls that have proved for two hours and grown in size (ideally doubled). Your sauce should be a lot cooler by now too.

Preheat the oven to as high as it will go. It needs to be really hot to cook the pizzas quickly and thoroughly. If you have a pizza stone preheat this in the oven now too.

Roll out one dough ball at a time on a lightly floured surface. You might be able to press and stretch just using your hands, but can also use a floured rolling pin. When you have created the size and thickness you want (5mm works well) transfer the base to a floured baking tray, or onto your preheated pizza stone. If you are using one of these you have to top the pizza whilst it is on the stone (take it out of the oven obviously!), so have everything ready to go.

Top with sauce first - not too much so it doesn't leave a soggy crust.
Then the rest of your ingredients. 
I always give my pizzas a little kiss of olive oil, salt and pepper just before it goes in the oven too.

Cook in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. It really depends on your oven, how thick the bases are and how much topping there is. I keep an eye on mine and investigate the base after the topping looks cooked with bubbling golden cheese.

Enjoy!




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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking and delicious food.
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