Last night we needed a quick and tasty dinner, Leann had been at work all day, I’d been at the computer tinkering with product lists and spreadsheets and Poppy and Archie had been at nursery all day. A quick look in the kitchen confirmed that home made Pizza was a very good idea.
The best thing about pizza is how quick and easy it can be to make if you are prepared to cheat a little (hopefully no Italians are reading this!). I put the ingredients (listed below) for the base in the KitchenAid and let it mix and knead the dough for ten minutes before covering the bowl with a tea towel and leaving it to prove whilst I walked to nursery to collect the children and meet Leann.
When we arrived back I turned the grill on to a high heat and put a large Paella pan on a gas burner on a medium heat, the dough had doubled in size and was ready to be knocked back and divided into three. On a floured surface I rolled the dough and stretched the edges to a rough circle, then spread a very thin layer of tomato puree on the base, leaving half an inch at the edge. Then I put a little olive oil in the pan and lifted the pizza base in to the hot Paella pan. Working quickly, I sprinkled the chopped sun-dried tomatoes over the base, layed the – home grown by a friend in Guilden Sutton – dressed rocket leaves on top, ripped pieces of the Proscuito and placed them evenly on the Pizza, then tore pieces from the Buffalo Mozzarella and scattered it on top. After a quick drizzle of olive oil, it was ready to be cooked under the grill.
After a few minutes, the first of the three Pizzas was ready, I took it out from the grill and put it on a chopping board, ran a Pizza Wheel through it and served it to my hungry family. After repeating the above exercise twice more there was plenty of dinner for the four of us and from start to finish the labour process took less than half an hour!
A few basic hints and tips when making a Pizza at home are:
Ensure that your oven/grill is hot enough. A proper pizza oven is wood-fired to around 400-500 degrees Celsius. My oven, like most domestic ovens, struggles to get past 220 which is why I’ve adapted the cooking process to ensure that both the top and the bottom of the Pizza are cooked very quickly at a very high temperature.
Once cut into pieces your pizza base should remain quite crisp, a good test is to pick it up at the crust. If the whole triangle lifts without the tip (or the middle of the pizza) sagging or flopping down too much, it’s perfect! If it is floppy you’ve either over loaded the Pizza with toppings or the cooking heat has not been fierce enough.
Base: 650g Strong White Flour, 1 Sachet Dried Yeast, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, 2 tablespoons Olive Oil, 400ml Water.
Topping: 3 tablespoons Tomato Puree, 18 halves of Sundried Tomato (soaked and chopped), 1 good bunch of Rocket (dressed with olive oil), 9 slices Proscuito, 2 balls of Buffalo Mozzarella.
Do try this recipe, it really is very quick and easy!
Thanks for reading and happy eating!