“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Pizza casalinga saporita

This may be surprising to some people, but I have never really been one for pizza.
They just aren't my first choice off a menu, but recently I've discovered that I actually quite like them. Thanks to Jamie Oliver's recipe.
Maybe its the satisfaction of producing them at home, that makes them taste different.
Also the fact that I can tailor them to suit my own taste with whatever topping I fancy at that time helps (or truthfully whatever happens to be in the fridge).
I have to confess I haven't tried making the dough by hand, but then why would I when I have a bread maker but perhaps one day I will. The bread making machine just makes the job so quick and easy.
No messy flour everywhere either.

I suppose the downside is that you don't get to work off your stress kneading the dough when using the machine, but when times limited then its perfect.
Just pop all the ingredients into your mixing bowl:-
1kg strong white bread flour or 'Tip '00' flour
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
2x7g sachets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
650ml lukewarm water

Switch on to dough setting and away it goes.....
It takes about 45 mins but you can go off and prepare the toppings, mop the floor, or just sit and chill with a glass of vino
Just don't leave it in the machine once its finish on the timer as I once did. When I opened the lid it was like Mount Vesuvius!
I place mine in a bowl covered with a damp cloth until I'm ready for the next stage.

It's great to cut into portions which can either be placed in the fridge or into the freezer for another day. This really cuts down on the time when you want a tasty lunch or quick snack. It's just there ready to go....nearly fast food but sooooooooooo much better and so tasty.
My son passed through the kitchen whilst I was preparing these and added his touch....
I personally like to wrap them in cling film then tin foil if going into the freezer. If we are having them later in the day then I only wrap in cling film and place in the fridge.

The quickest tomato sauce - makes 500ml

olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
a bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and torn
3 x 400g tins of good quality, whole tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place a large non-stick frying pan on the heat and pour in 4 generous glugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, shake the pan around a bit and, once the garlic begins to colour lightly, add the basil and the tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mush and squash the tomatoes as much as you can.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve into a bowl, using your wooden spoon to push any larger bits of tomato through. Discard the basil and garlic that will be left in the sieve, but make sure you scrape any of the tomatoey goodness off the back of the sieve into the bowl.

Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavours. It will be ready when it's the perfect consistency for spreading on your pizza.

Store the sauce in a clean jar or container in the fridge - it'll keep for a week or so. Also great to freeze in batches or even in an ice cube tray, so you can defrost exactly the amount you need. But to be honest, its so quick to make, you might as well make it on the day you need it.

Now for the fun part with everyone either choosing what topping they would like or better still they add their topping themselves. All tailor made to suit. (This way it takes the pressure off the cook, namely me although I do have my assistant helping - so its either a glass of wine or a bottle of beer depending).

I've even tried the dough rolled with cheese wrapped around the edges - yum!

Heat the baking tray first on a hot BBQ then sprinkle the tray with some flour or semolina and place the dough base on top. You need to be careful at this stage as the tray is extremely hot and starts cooking the base straight away. Pop the pizza back onto the hot barbie. Wait 10 minutes or until the base is crisp then devour.

The finished product....just add a little drizzle of olive oil, parmesan and cracked black pepper.

Thanks for the inspiration to try this at home Jamie. http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes

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