Pizza!

Italian, Specials, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

010 (2)Makes: Enough pizza dough for eight 30cm pizzas.
Preparation & cooking time: 1hr 1/2 (including time to let the dough rise)

Pizza is one of the most enjoyed foods everywhere in the world and it is one of the most common food that is ordered as a take-away. Personally, I just don’t understand the fuss about a take away pizza as more often than not it will arrive covered in grease, with a horrible doughy crust and with layer of cheese literally an inch thick on the top! Another reason why I don’t understand the whole pizza take-away fad is that it is so easy to make your own pizza at home; you will get a perfectly thin & crisp crust, no grease, fresh toppings and you will also save quite a few pennies in the process! Trust me, once you have tasted how good a homemade pizza is and how easy it is to make, you will never want to order another take-away pizza again! I always split the dough into eight portions, wrap them into cling film and freeze them until I want to use them. The dough defrosts really quickly and from that point it takes about 10 minutes to make a delicious pizza!

Ingredients:

Basic Pizza Dough

  •  1kg tipo ’00’ flour (or strong white bread flour)
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra vrgin olive oil
  • 650ml tepid water
  • 14g dry yeast (if you can, use two 7g sachets)

Toppings

There are so many options when it comes to pizza toppings that I don’t really know where to begin! The recipes that I am posting use garlic oil as the base instead of the traditional tomato sauce, but you could use a muschroom sauce, a roasted vegetable sauce etc. I have used only vegetables to top my pizza but you can use your favourite pizza toppings!

  • Garlic oil (or tomato passata)
  • A handful of green beans, sliced in half
  • A few cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • A few mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • A few asparagus, sliced diagonally
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • A few parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Avocado pesto

Method:

1.   Sieve the flour and the salt onto a large clean work surface and make a large well in the middle of the flour. In a jug, mix together the water, olive oil, sugar and yeast and then leave to rest for a few minutes. After a few minutes resting, pour the mixture into the well of flour. With a fork, gradually bring the flour in from the sides and swirl it into liquid. Make sure you do this gently because you could break the walls of flour leaving you with a right mess (I have had first hand experience of this!). Keep swirling and bringing in larger amounts of flour until all of the mixture starts coming together, then work the rest with your flour dusted hands until you have a nice springy, smooth ball of dough. Place the ball of dough into a large flour dusted bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Put the bowl in a warm room (the airing cuoboard is always a good place, or next to the cooker) and leave to rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

2.   Once the dough has doubled in size, pour it onto a flour dusted surface and knead the dough to push out all of the air in it, in baking terms this is called ‘knocking back the dough’. Slice the dough into 8 portions and keep out as many as you need and with the rest, wrap them in cling film and put them into the freezer. The dough keeps really well, so just take a portion out as and when you need it. 

3.   Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature that it goes to (my oven goes to 270 C and this will cook the pizza in 5 minutes). On a flour dusted surface place a portion of the dough and roll it out with a flour dusted rolling pin (I use an empty bottle of wine and this works perfectly) until you have the size and thickness that you want. I like my pizzas to be very thin and crispy so I tend to roll the dough out until it is around 30cm across. Once the dough has been rolled out, put it onto a pizza tray (basically a round tray with holes in it; these work brilliantly and they are also very cheap to buy) so that it is ready for the toppings to be put onto it.

4.   Firstly, drizzle over a good amount of garlic oil onto the pizza base and then arrange the vegetables onto the base. Secondly, sprinkle over a good pinch of sea salt and pepper along with a pinch of the dried chilli flakes. The pizza is now ready to go into the oven; place it in the oven and depending on how hot your oven goes to, it should be ready in 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on it as you do not want it to burn. After 5 minutes the pizza will have a lovely colour and the base will have bubbled up a bit. I like to leave the pizza in the oven until the vegetables char a little as I think it tastes amazing! Take the pizza out of the oven when it is ready and sprinkle over the parsley and spoon over some avocado pesto. Place the pizza onto a nice chopping board and slice into 8 slices and enjoy it 🙂

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Here is another pizza that I made. It is so easy to make, just drizzle the garlic oil over the base, place some chopped sun dried tomatoes all over the pizza, add the sea salt & pepper and some chilli flakes. Cook it in exactly the same way as the pizza above. There are so many toppings for pizza, let me know what you love to have on your pizzas. I hope you like this recipe 🙂

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