4th Aug 2013

Traditional Italian Pizza's

The dough:

This is a super easy everyday pizza dough. You can use all purpose flour but for the best results I use Italian Tipo '00' flour. This can be found in all Italian deli's as well as some of the major supermarkets. '00' flour is finer ground than normal flour, and it will give your dough a smooth and elastic texture. This recipe makes around 6-8 medium sized bases.

Ingredients:

  1 kg Tipo '00' flour
  1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  14g active yeast
  1 tablespoon caster sugar
  4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  600ml tepid water
 
Method:

You can prepare your dough on a flour dusted kitchen surface but if you want to avoid the mess, it can be done in a mixing bowl and then transferred to your kitchen surface once it is combined.


First of all, sieve your flour onto your surface and make a well in the centre. Take a mixing jug, add your tepid water, olive oil, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix together with a fork and set aside for a minute or two. The tepid water will act as a catalyst for your yeast and after just a few minutes the mixture should start to bubble up. Once this occurs, pour your mixture into the well in your flour.


Then, just as you would when making fresh pasta, take a fork and gradually bring the flour from the edges into the mixture. Keep going round until your mixture is thick and your fork can no longer move the mixture. Now discard the fork and get to kneading the dough with your hands. Continue to dust with flour to avoid the dough sticking. Knead for around 10mins or until you have a smooth and elastic dough. To test this, simply push a finger into the dough and if its ready, it will spring back into shape.


Next take a mixing bowl and dust with flour. Place your dough in the centre, dust the top and cover with a damp tea towel. You then need to leave the dough to prove for a hour or so in an airing cupboard or warm place. You can leave it for up to a few days which will result in a much lighter, airier dough but you can also use on the day.


Your dough should have doubled in size. place back on the kitchen surface and knead for a few minutes. You will notice that your dough is now extremely light and elastic. Divide into 6 equally sized balls, cover with cling film and set aside until your ready to assemble your pizzas.

Roasted pepper & garlic tomato sauce

Ingredients:

  1 White Onion
  3 Peppers(mixed red & yellow)
  1 Bulb of Garlic
  1/2 tin Chopped Tomatoes
  A good glug Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  Salt & Pepper
 
Method:

Start by roasting your peppers and a whole bulb of garlic(skin on), about 20mins on full whack should do it or until the peppers start to blacken slightly. Place a frying pan on a med to high heat and add a good glug of olive oil. While thats heating up, peel and dice your onion. Once oil is sizzling, add you onions and fry until they start to soften and caramelise slightly.  Take your roasted ingredients out of the oven, peel the blackened peppers and squeeze the individual garlic cloves out of the skin and into your food processor. Add the roasted peppers together with 1/2 a tin of chopped tomatoes and a good squeeze of tomato puree. Next add your dried basil and dried oregano. Give it a blitz and taste. Season accordingly with salt and pepper

Other Ingredients:

  500g Fresh Mozzarlla
  250g Pepperoni Salami
  1 Red Chilli(optional)
 
Then simply assemble your pizza's. Dust the work surface with flour and place your dough balls(one at a time) on the work surface, again, dust with flour. Press with the palm of your hand and working in a circular motion, press and spread out til about 1/2 a cm thick. Depending on how long you let you dough prove will determine whether you can throw and spin your bases. If left overnight then it will be super elastic but if your using on the day, presing is just as good. First spread a good amount of your roasted sauce onto the base, leaving a small gap around the edges. Then thinly slice your pepperoni and place ontop, break apart your  fresh mozzarella and fill in the gaps between the pepperoni. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and your good to go.

Preheat your oven to its highest setting with either a flat baking tray or pizza stone inside. When its as hot as its going to get, put your pizza in and bake for around 8-9 mins. This is for a conventional oven but if using a wood fire oven, it can take as little as 1-2 minutes to cook depending on temperature.

Check every few minutes and when ready, take out, allow to cool and serve.

Recipe, Photography & Food Styling by Jon Lewin