Saturday night in with Harry Hill on the telly, only the remnants of a hangover left and ‘Up’ to watch with a big slice of cake. What else could improve on this happy scene. Hmm… I know. PIZZA PIZZA!
You need to start making this a couple of hours before you want to eat it but it’s mostly just waiting for dough to rise or sauce to thicken so it’s easy to combine with dossing around, or even something vaguely productive at the same time.
*300g strong white or ‘OO’ flour *1 tsp salt *2 tbsp Olive Oil *1 x 7g sachet of yeast (about half a level tbsp) *300ml warm water and for the sauce: *1 small onion finely chopped *1 clove garlic finely sliced *2 tbsp Olive Oil *1 x 400g tin of tomatoes *2 tbsp tomato puree *Basil *1 tsp sugar *Pinch of chilli flakes *salt and pepper and whatever you like for the toppings. I had: *Buffalo mozzarella *cheddar cheese *parmesan *shalots *Spanish chorizo.
1. First make the dough. Sift the flour onto a clean work surface and the salt and make a well. In a jug add the yeast to the warm water and stir in the olive oil until it’s dissolved. Slowly add the yeasty water to the well and draw in the flour. Form into a dough and knead for about ten minutes or so. Pop into a floured bowl and keep in a warm place for a few hours (until it doubles in size). You will need to spend almost that long cleaning the work-top if like mine it has become plastered with doughy-glue!
2. To make the sauce saute the garlic and onions in the oil for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and season to taste. Boil and then simmer very gently for a few hours until it is thick and a glorious rich red gloop.
3. Retrieve the dough – which will look HUGE – from your hot place and knead it really well on a floured work-top (yup, the one you’ve just painstakingly cleaned. Darn!) and then split to make 2 or 3 pretty hefty pizzas (you can save the dough to freeze/chill if you don’t want it all at once) and then make into squares or circles or attractive-looking splodges.
4. Place the pizzas on an oiled tray. Spoon on the sauce and your toppings. Cover with cheese and a drizzle of oil if you wish.
5. Pop into an oven which has been preheated to about 220Oc/200Oc fan and cook for between 15 and 20 minutes, so that the cheese is bubbly and the edges begin to look crisp. Serve with a smile and a dip for the crust if you like.
So there we have it. My pizza was actually very thick and I could only eat half at one sitting but I lurve cold pizza so that was only a bonus. It was really good fun and much better than my last attempt (in a villa in Italy where there was a real stone oven) when the pizza started like glue and ended up like biscuit. Eurgh. I think I would like to make this again and reckon it would be heaps of fun for a dinner party where everyone would get to make their own pizza. Noms.