Pizza

 Pizza

Pizza

 

For making together, and adding ingredients at the last moment.  There is nothing that says 'Friday' quite like a pizza.  Making a fresh pizza on Friday evening aslo has the great benefit of providing lunch on Saturday, so you can get on with all those little jobs you have been avoiding....

I love making pizza and reguarly make them for friends and family, we have made so many different toppings over the years I cannot recall them all - but I have incuded a few favourites.  If you are game, there is also a Dessert Pizza I think is worth trying...

 

For the Pizza base:

 

900 grams 00 or Bakers flour

500mls warm water (or less – work in only enough for a soft dough)

1 dessertspoon of yeast

1 teaspoon of raw sugar

¼ teaspoon of salt

PizzaSift flour into a large mixing bowl with salt, making a well in the centre.  Add yeast to warm water, stirring in sugar.  Allow yeast to develop undisturbed in a warm place, once frothy and doubled in size add to flour and rapidly cut through with a knife.

Once all flour is combined and the dough is soft and malleable, cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise for at least an hour.

Once dough is fully risen and very soft is texture, punch down and knead briefly.  Shape into a long even sausage shape and cut into four evenly sized pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and allow to stand for ten minutes before shaping onto a pizza tray.

Pizza is fabulous because it can be tailored to suit everyone as it is being assembled.  Preparing toppings in advance, such as char grilling veges or roasting meat gives the pizza more depth of flavour, reduced the amount of cheese needed and give balance to what can otherwise become a decidedly unhealthy carb-fest.  Here are some toppings which I think are really worth trying...

 

Pumpkin and feta : while dough is rising, roast pumpkin in a very hot oven with rosemary, nutmeg, sage, garlic and onion.  Once base is ready, cover in basic tomato sauce, add pumpkin mix and crumble over feta cheese.  (Add a small amount of mozzarella if desired, though not necessary). 

 

Roast chicken and herb : 1 free range chicken breasts is ample per pizza.  Chop basil, parsley, thyme and rosemary very finely and place in a mortar and pestle, adding a the zest of one lemon, a few pinches of rock salt, pepper and a clove of garlic per breast.  Grind mixture into a thick herb paste.  Coat chicken breasts in herb crust and roast in a hot oven for 30 minutes or until just browned and cooked through. Cut into very fine slices.  Coat pizza base in either pesto or basic tomato sauce, sprinkle over chicken and dot with fresh Bocconcini cheese, baking until golden brown.

 

Mega Veg : To prepare veges, tear up basil leaves, crush 2 garlic cloves,  cut red, yellow and green capsicums into strips, cut zucchini into generous strips, and quarter 4 Roma tomatoes and drizzle in olive oil and roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes.  Coat pizza base in basic tomato sauce, add veges, black olives, pine nuts, parmesan and mozzarella cheese and bake until golden.  Great cold the next day!

 Pizza

Meat Muncher : Ham, bacon, salami, prosciutto all torn into rustic strips/chunks.  Use basic tomato sauce to coat pizza base, adding thyme, olives and/or anchovies if you are that way inclined.  Generously cover with mozzarella and bake until golden brown.

 

Smoked Salmon : There is no need for a tomato base with this pizza as there is loads of flavour in the toppings.  A very fine layer of light philly cheese can be added to the base if desired.  Smoked salmon slices, capers, thyme sprigs, spring onions, rocket and Bocconcini cheese.  Squeeze over fresh lemon juice to serve. 

 

Greek Salad Pizza : (go with me on this one, it is better than it sounds) slices of left-over roast lamb, fresh capsicum, fresh tomato slices, black olives, Spanish onion slices, lots of fresh and dried oregano, feta cheese on a basic tomato sauce.  When golden brown, sprinkle the top of the pizza with rocket and serve with a dollop of Tzatziki.  The lamb can be omitted, but it is REALLY worth a try!

 

Char Griller : Prepare veges on a ridged grill, barbeque or char-grill plate.  Layer up pizza base with a pesto sauce, char grilled capsicum, aubergine, zucchini, squash, Spanish onion, tomato slices and garlic with prosciutto (or similarly strong smoked meat), mozzarella and finely chopped rosemary.  Bake until sizzling golden brown.

 

 

Prawns galore:  Cater for at least two large prawns per slice  of pizza - be generous though, this is a great relaxed dinner party pizza!!!  On a base of basic tomato sauce, add slices of fresh tomato, prawns, shredded spinach, finely chopped garlic, thyme, parsley, mozzarella or Bocconcini cheese.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and loads of fresh parsley.

 

Halloween Pizza : On a basic tomato sauce base, add roasted pumpkin pieces, black olives, strips of prosciutto, feta cheese, pinenuts, lots of parsley, and freshly grated nutmeg.

 

Oven Roasted Garlic and Herb : To prepare a whole head of garlic: drizzle with olive oil, salt pepper and a little honey wrap in foil, and bake in a hot oven until golden brown.  This method produces a very mellow, sweet garlic flavour which does not overpower the main dish.  Roll out the pizza base thinner than for a regular pizza  - this is well suited to being prepared on a large rectangular biscuit tin or baking sheet.  Squeeze out garlic cloves over pizza base, smearing into the surface of the dough.  Allow dough to rise for about 15 minutes, then sprinkle  sparingly with mozzarella cheese and desired herbs.  Bake in a very hot oven until crispy.  Fabulous with dips!