We are big lovers of Italy in this house and Italian recipes always go down well here. Every so often I get a craving for pizza and so today am sharing the recipe we use to make this family favourite!! The advantage of homemade pizza is that the children can get involved with putting on the toppings they like. I think we all have our preferences and by making your own, you get to please everyone, which can’t be bad.
I like to make my own Roasted Tomato Sauce to top them but you could easily use a bought variety. This homemade sauce will freeze perfectly and it is a great way of using up any tomatoes you have in your fridge or if like us, you have a glut coming from your greenhouse! It can be used not only for pizza but you could also mix it through pasta..
This recipe is for a basic Neapolitan but really you could top it with whatever you like yourself as we have above!
Serves: Makes 2 Pizzas which Feeds: 4 – 5 people
350g Italian Tipo ’00’ Flour or Strong White Flour
7g Fast Action Yeast (available in supermarkets in individual sachets)
1 teasp Salt
2 tablspns Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for greasing and drizzling
225ml Warm Water
2 teasp Semolina or Dried White Breadcrumbs
Homemade Tomato Sauce:
450g Ripe Tomatos (halved through the middle)
3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and kept whole
5 tablspns Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tablspns Balsamic Vinegar
Good Pinch of Caster Sugar
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
A few Basil Leaves, torn
25g Freshly Grated Parmesan
150g Ball of Mozzarella, drained and roughly chopped
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Firstly make the Tomato Sauce – Preheat your oven to 230°C, (450°F), Gas Mark 8. Lay the halved tomatoes on a baking tray with the cut side up. Add the garlic to the tray and then drizzle over the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Season with the sugar, salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for 20 – 30 mins or until the tomatoes are completely soft and blistered.
- Remove from the oven and blitz until smooth in a food processor or using a handheld blender and then strain through a sieve into a bowl to remove the tomato seeds and any remaining skins. Check seasoning and the consistency of the sauce. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it needs to be thickened, pour back into a saucepan, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the sauce thickens. Set aside to cool
- To make the Pizza Dough – Place the flour, yeast and teaspoon of salt into a food mixer or processor fitted with a dough hook (I use my Kitchenaid). Mix the oil and warm water in a jug. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil/water mixture into the flour until you have achieved a soft, stretchy dough. Knead for 5 minutes in the machine.
- Transfer the dough ball to a lightly oiled bowl turning it around to make sure it is all covered in a film of the oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 240°C (475°F) or Gas Mark 9. Punch the dough down with your fist. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth, then cut in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured surface to a 25cm (10 inch) circle. Sprinkle the semolina or dried breadcrumbs onto 2 large, flat baking sheets and transfer the pizza bases on top.
- Spread your already made tomato sauce across each base leaving a 1cm (½ inch) border around the edges. Scatter over the torn basil leaves, Parmesan and mozzarella and finally drizzle with some olive oil. Bake in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes when the bases are crisp and the cheese bubling and lightly golden.
- Remove from the oven and drizzle over a little more of the olive oil.
- To Serve – Cut the pizza into wedges and serve with a mixed green salad (and an ice cold beer for the adults!!)
- Instead of making a traditional base, we sometimes use flour tortillas. They cook in a matter of minutes and you would definitely consume less carbs this way! (beware though as they are a lot flimsier than regular pizza so care is needed when moving them onto a plate)
- Dried Breadcrumbs – rather than throwing away any slices of stale white bread which you have in your cupboard, just collect them over time in a bag in your freezer. Then when you have enough to fill a baking tray, in a single layer, cook in a low temperature oven (approx 100ºC) until completely dried out. You can then whizz in your food processor until they form fine crumbs. These can be stored indefinitely in a Kilner jar until needed. I use them not only to line the pizza tray but they are excellent for coating Chicken Kievs, breaded fish cakes or chicken and I have even added them to meatballs.