Hello and welcome once again to all about food. Oh how I adore pizza!
For me, pizza needs a good quality thin base and tasty yet simple toppings – it’s a case of less is more.
I bought a pizza stone (basically a slab of granite) a couple of years ago and I find this really adds to the authentic pizza flavour. Simply pre-heat the stone in the oven at its top temperature before placing your pizza directly onto it. Bellisimo!
Pizza Margherita ingredients
300g of strong white flour
1 teaspoon of dried yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
200ml of warm water
1 tablespoon of olive oil
100ml of passata
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
A handful of fresh basil
130g of sliced mozzarella
4 tablespoons of shaved Parmesan
* For the base: put the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl and stir together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water and olive oil.
* Slowly bring the mixture together (I use a fork for this) in a circular motion until all the flour is mixed into the liquid. At this stage the dough should resemble thick porridge.
* Turn the mix onto a floured surface and with floured hands knead the dough well for five minutes or until you have a smooth and springy dough. Flour the top of the dough, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 45 minutes at room temperature.
* To make the sauce: simply lightly fry the garlic, add the passata and basil and simmer for twenty minutes, season to taste and set aside.
* Give the dough a quick knead and split into two balls. Roll each ball on a floured surface until they form large circles. The dough needs to be very thin as it will rise once in the oven. If you are not using a pizza stone, place the pizzas onto two floured baking sheets.
* When ready to bake: heat your oven to 220ºc. Using the back of a spoon smooth the sauce over each pizza base, add the mozzarella/ parmesan and bake for eight to ten minutes until crisp. Serve with a sprinkle of freshly torn basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
* Other great pizza toppings include roast peppers and rosemary, ricotta and pine nuts or Parma ham and rocket.
And finally: Five-minute pizza
For those days when you are pushed for time naan pizzas are perfect. Simply place a naan bread on a baking sheet, spread with some tomato sauce and sprinkle with your favourite toppings. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 220ºc for five minutes. So simple!
Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutneys made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.
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