This is my version of a very simple and straight forward pizza. Perfect for 'meat-free Mondays' or for when you've got some left over bread dough to use up. By all means feel free to add what ever toppings you want. I find the best pizzas are often the most simple but go with what your heart desires. I have even made an awesome pizza using some left over dr pepper shredded pork as the base. It truly rocked. You can use a baking sheet, pizza stone or cast iron skillet. The secret to having an evenly cooked pizza with a crispy bottom is to make sure the oven and sheet/stone/skillet is preheated completely. I use a cast iron skillet that's approximately 25cm diameter as I don't yet have a pizza stone.
Don't forget that if you like this recipe you can find many more ideas on my blog. http://eating-properly.blogspot.co.uk/
The dough ingredients
1 kg strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
14g fast action dried yeast
4 tbsp olive oil
approx 600-700ml warm water
1/4 quantity of the basic pizza dough above (approx 300-400g)
400g tinned chopped tomatoes drained of excess liquid
2-3 tbsps pesto (homemade is best, my recipe is below)
1 ball of mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste
Step 2: Make the Dough
- Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, Using a butter knife or your hands start to bring the ingredients together. Gradually add the water, little by little, until you have a rough dough. You may not use all the water or you may need to add a little more. Knead the dough in between each addition.
- Once you have a rough dough turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes or until you have a smooth springy dough.
- Place dough in a bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film then leave in a warm place to rise for about and hour or so.
- In the mean time combine all the topping ingredients in a large bowl until evenly mixed. Cover and set to one side until needed.
- Once the dough has risen uncover it, knock it back and divide into your required number of portions. I split mine into four balls. One ball will make one 25cm deep pan pizza or two 25cm thin crust pizzas.
Step 3: Make the Pesto
2 large bunches of fresh basil
1 packet of wild rocket
2 - 4 cloves of garlic
approx 100g pecorino or parmesan cheese, grated or chopped into small pieces
good quality extra virgin olive oil to taste (I used a quarter cup)
squeeze of lemon juice
cracked black pepper
2 generous handfuls of walnuts (almonds work really well too)
- Roughly tear the basil, stems and all and place in the bowl of the food processor along with the rocket, garlic, cheese and walnuts. Start by pulsing everything together and when it starts to break down you can put it on continuously for a few second until you end up with a smoother consistency. It's up to you what consistency you want.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper, blitz for another few seconds then check season.
- It's now ready to use or freeze.
Step 4: Put the Pizza Together
- Preheat your oven so that it is pretty much as hot as it will go. I generally go for 220C. Put your baking sheet/stone/skillet in the oven and leave to heat up.
- Once the oven has reached full heat, roll out your dough to the size of your cooking pan.
- Place the dough in your pan taking care not to touch it as the pan will be super hot.
- Spread the pesto over the base followed by the chopped tomatoes then tear the mozzarella with your hands and scatter over the top. Season with salt and pepper to taste then bake in the oven for around 13 minutes or until golden brown on top.