Our new kitchen is finally finito! Time for the Silver Fox and I to celebrate with our inaugural Pizza Night. The principal aims were:
a) To see if we could make a mean super-crispy pizza, because I HATE soggy pizza
& b) To see how good these pizzas would be using only LIDL products as toppings (which I’d recently bought for my upcoming Gourmet Girl column for Bite Mag).
Making pizza is kinda messy, and thus by definition, loads of fun. We fiddled around with a Jamie Oliver recipe which seemed to come highly recommended as a good dough base, but (just about) halved everything so that it went a little something like this.
Ingredients (makes 4 individual pizzas)
400g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting the counter with)
100g fine semolina flour
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
half tablespoon of caster sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
325ml warm water
1 7gram sachet of instant dried yeast
Plus toppings – go wild! We had Parma ham, mozzarella, rocket, heirloom tomatoes, goat’s cheese, peppers and mushrooms (Oh, and a slick of truffle oil. Cause I’m naughty like that)
Mix the flour, semolina and salt together, and then dredge or sift onto your floured work-surface.
In a separate bowl or jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the warm water. Leave for a couple of mins and watch the yeast start to do its thing. The patterns in the oil were rather artistic!
Make a well in the centre of the dry mix, and slowly add in the water/yeast/olive oil liquid. Slowy stir in with a fork or your fingers, and gradually combine all of the flour into the centre til you’ve got the start of your dough ball. Using your hands, scoop up all of the mix and start to work it together to make it as smooth as possible.
Put the ball of dough into an oiled baking bowl, dust with some flour on the top, and cover with a damp tea-towel. Leave to rest for 1 hour.
During that time, you can make your pizza sauce. I sautéed up some garlic, finely chopped onions, chopped heirloom tomatoes, 1/2 a can of tinned chopped plum tomatoes, and seasoned with some salt, pepper, tabasco, and a big spoon of pesto. This can cook on for 20 minutes or so whilst you prepare the other toppings for the pizza, and the dough is still rising.
Slice up and prepare the veggies and toppings for your pizzas.
Turn on the oven to 225c, and prepare your baking sheet or pizza stone. You can sprinkle some flour or polenta on the base of the tray to stop the dough sticking and help crisp up the base when it’s in the oven.
When the hour is up for the dough, firstly marvel at how big it got, then prepare to fall slightly in love with how soft the giant ball of dough feels in your hands!
On the floured work-surface, start to ‘knock-back’ the dough and work it for a few minutes. Make one big ball and then quarter (1/4’s ) with a knife. Roll out each chunk to desired round-ness and thickness.
Add sauce, liberally add toppings, and cook in the oven for around 9-11 minutes. Keep an eye on things so they don’t burn.
Remove from the oven, leave for as long as you can (knowing full-well you’ll get mouth burn if you chomp in too soon!) and enjoy!
The first night we made: mushroom, Parma ham, and mozzarella with basil and truffle oil to finish, and red pepper, onion and mozzarella, finished with rocket. The base was crispy but the crusts still had a good chewiness. We froze half the dough and sauce and made a second ‘set’ a few days later. This time we rolled the dough out way more thinly and kept the toppings a little lighter. The result? Abso-frickin-lutely deeelish pizza that may save me a fortune in La Favorita bills from now on.
Ecco le pizze!
ps – photos of the ‘finished article’ are from the 2nd batch (made with the defrosted dough amd sauce) Sooo yummy!