It’s all about the base

Pizza
Pizza

Wednesday night is usually our pizza night. The bases vary – rarely would we make the dough (Never enough time! Too much effort!) That was until this recipe came along. It’s quick to make and you only have to wait 20mins for the dough to rise.

OLD-SCHOOL ITALIAN PIZZA BASE

  • 1/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 400ml / 13.5 fl oz warm water
  • 500g / 1lb ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oil, for greasing
  1. Mix the yeast and water together in a jug and let sit for 5 minutes until bubbly.
  2. While waiting for the yeast mix, put flour and salt in a big mixing bowl and whisk them together, and then make a well in the middle.
  3. Once the yeast and water have become bubbly, pour into the well you made in the flour and bring the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or spatula until they form a ball.
  4. Pop the ball of dough onto a lightly floured bench and knead for about 10 minutes.
  5. Place kneaded dough into an oiled mixing bowl.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and leave somewhere warm for about 20 minutes. It should double in size.
  7. Preheat oven to 220˚C / 425˚F / Gas Mark 7 and pop in a pizza stone or baking tray.
  8. Once the pizza dough has risen, lightly flour your bench and cut dough into little balls.
  9. Roll out your dough until it is about 7mm / 1/4″ thick. (You can of course make it as thin or as thick as you like.)
  10. Place some baking paper on a cutting board and pop your base on top.
  11. Cover with toppings of your choice, and then take the cutting board with your pizza to the oven and slide onto baking tray or pizza stone.
  12. Place in the oven for about 10–15 minutes until crust is golden and topping has cooked.

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NEW-SCHOOL CAULI PIZZA BASE

  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 190˚C / 425˚F / Gas Mark 5.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Wash and thoroughly dry cauliflower, cut off the florets and pulse in a food processor for about 30 seconds, until it looks like snow.
  4. Place on lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Put an empty baking tray or pizza stone in the oven.
  6. Once cauliflower has cooled, wrap in cheesecloth, or a clean tea towel, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  7. Pop cauliflower into a bowl, add cheeses, salt, dried oregano and egg, and mix well with your hands. If the mixture is a little wet, add a little almond meal.
  8. Lay a sheet of baking paper on top of a cutting board, pop the dough on top and form into your pizza base. Pat down firmly—you want it formed tightly together.
  9. Take cutting board and pizza to the oven and slide pizza onto your baking tray or hot pizza stone. Bake for 10 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.
  10. Add toppings and return to the oven for another 5–7 minutes, until the cheese is melted and toppings are cooked.
  11. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

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TRADITIONAL PIZZA SAUCE

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 400g / 14oz tinned crushed tomatoes
  • 700g / 1.5lb tomato passata
  • few big pinches of salt
  1. Heat oil over low heat, pop in the garlic cloves and cook until golden.
  2. Add tinned tomatoes, passata and salt.
  3. Leave to simmer for a long time—like, 2 hours. Add more water if it becomes too thick. Stir occasionally and test for salt—don’t skimp!
  4. Remove garlic cloves.
  5. You can either use your sauce straight away or, if you have a glut of tomatoes, save it for another day.

( FOR PRESERVING )

  1. Pour pizza sauce into sterilised jars and securely place lid on.
  2. Place jars in a large saucepan, fully cover them with water and boil for 25 minutes.
  3. Leave to cool and store in pantry.

( FOR FREEZING )

  1. Follow steps 1–10 of the Old-School Italian pizza base recipe.
  2. Place the un-topped pizza base into the oven for 4–5 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  4. Repeat with the rest of your dough.
  5. Once finished, spread the pizza sauce evenly over each pizza base.
  6. Wrap each base in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil.
  7. Pop in the freezer.

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When you’re ready to make pizza, remove pizza base from the freezer—no need to defrost—and add your choice of toppings.

Pop your pizza in the oven at 220˚C / 425˚F / Gas Mark 7 for 10—15 minutes, until toppings are cooked and your cheese is melty.

Try these pizza toppings!

Salami–Tomato–Bocconcini
Broccoli–Beetroot–Feta
Roast Pumpkin–Olives–Goat’s Cheese–Rocket
Mushrooms–Olives–Salami
Egg–Bacon–Parmesan–Rocket
Broccoli–Ham–Mozzarella
Zucchini–Pine Nuts–Feta
Potato–Rosemary–Mozzarella
Pesto–Tomato–Pine Nuts–Goat’s Cheese
Zucchini–Bacon–Feta
Goat’s Cheese–Leftover Roast Veggies
Olives–Ham–Mozzarella–Rocket

This recipe is from Lunch Lady issue 2 (Sold Out). Collect the rest of the Lunch Lady magazine series here!

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