Base, sauce, toppings, pizza.

Pizza is one of those fantastic meals that everyone likes, and let’s be honest, when you’ve got kids, that can be a rare occasion. It’s a great way of using up any leftovers you have in the fridge – scraps of ham, salami or bacon, fridge dried mushrooms, those few sprigs of thyme. Even pizza bases are relatively simple to make. Some flour, water and yeast does an amazing job of turning out enviable bases.

I also make my own pizza sauce. In summer, I’d be a puritan and use fresh tomatoes, but at this time of the year canned works well. There’s also the added benefits of the skins already removed, so a little less fiddly.

The toppings are really up to you. I try to avoid any 80’s style “gourmet” concoctions. I avidly reject a chicken, cranberry and brie (WTF??) or any others of that ilk. I prefer to go for fairly simple. The most outrageous pizza topping in my house is the prawn and lemon below.

Give yourself some time to make the sauce and bases. The sauce needs time to cook down (you could double the recipe and freeze some for later), and the base dough needs time to prove, so realistically this recipe is better suited to weekend production. Alternatively, if you want something faster, make your own sauce (it’s worth it) and buy preservative free pre-made bases, like these ones from Turkish Bread.

Anyway, onto the recipe.

2016-09-18-19-39-38
Pizza dough on the rise

 

PIZZA BASE

This recipe is from Al Brown’s fabulous book Stoked. It’s quite a wet dough, but I’ve found that if you use strong (high-grade) flour and give it time to develop, you can handle it without too much trouble. This makes a thick crust pizza base.

500ml warm water
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
4 1/2 cups strong (high grade) flour
2 tsp salt

  1. Put the warm water in a bowl and add yeast and sugar. Stir then leave for 5 minutes or until the yeast begins to bubble
  2. Using the dough hook attachment on a stand cake mixer, mix together the water/yeast mixture with the flour and salt on low speed for 8-10 minutes until smooth.
  3. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and sit in a warm place to prove. Knock back a couple of times with oiled hands
  4. Break off pieces of dough to size required. Place on oiled tray and stretch until relatively thin (this takes a bit of effort)


PIZZA SAUCE2016-09-18 19.27.42.jpg

This bit is mine…

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt/pepper

  1. Heat olive oil over a low heat. Add red onion, garlic, oregano and chilli flakes (if using) and cook until onion is soft.
  2. Add tins of tomatoes, bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced and thick
  3. Add red wine vinegar and cook until acidity has simmered off.
  4. Season to taste.


PIZZA TOPPINGS

2016-09-18-20-22-41


Mushroom & Bacon

Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Mushrooms of your choice, sliced
Red onion, finely sliced
Bacon, roughly chopped (I used streaky bacon)
Small sprigs of thyme
Extra virgin olive oil

  1. Pre-heat oven to 225ºC
  2. Spread pizza sauce liberally over pizza base
  3. Top with grated mozzarella, then sliced mushrooms, red onion, bacon, thyme.
  4. Season and drizzle lightly with olive oil
  5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until base is puffed and toppings golden

Prawn, Feta, Chilli, Lemon & Basil2016-09-18 20.53.06.jpg
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Feta cheese
Uncooked prawns
Lemon zest
Finely sliced red chilli
Fresh basil leaves

  1. Pre-heat oven as above
  2. Spread pizza sauce liberally over pizza base
  3. Top with grated mozzarella, then prawns, crumbled feta, lemond zest and chilli.
  4. Season and drizzle lightly with olive oil
  5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until base is puffed and toppings golden
  6. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves

 

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