Photo by Tamara West
This is the original — and my favourite — pizza, which was around long before commercial takeaways started adding a ridiculous number of toppings and stuffing the crusts of pizzas which, traditionally, should be thin and crisp with no more than three or four toppings. Thanks to Ray McVinnie for the pizza base recipe — the semolina in it makes the base nice and crisp.
Ray McVinnie's pizza dough
|250 ml||Water, lukewarm|
|400 g||Flour, high-grade|
|1 Tbsp||Active dried yeast|
|100 g||Semolina flour, fine|
|2 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|1||Onion, finely chopped|
|2 cloves||Garlic, finely chopped|
|3 Tbsp||Tomato paste|
|1 can||Crushed tomatoes, 400g|
|½ tsp||Dried oregano|
Pizza and toppings
Pizza dough (makes 4)
- To make the pizza dough, put the water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Stand in a warm place until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy. Mix well.
- Place the flour, semolina and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and mix well to form a dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then place in an oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk (about 40 minutes).
- Once it has risen, knock back the dough and divide into 4 even pieces. Use two pieces for recipe above, and freeze the other two pieces, wrapped in clingfilm, to use at a later date.
- Roll out each piece on a floured surface into a disc about 20cm in diameter. Your pizza bases are now ready.
Pizzas and toppings (makes 2)
- Heat oven to 220C. If you have them, place two pizza stones on separate shelves in the oven to preheat. Alternatively preheat 2 oven trays.
- To make the tomato sauce, heat olive oil in a medium frying pan on medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, dried herbs and sugar. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until sauce is thick and the consistency of chutney. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place each pizza base on a sheet of baking paper so you can lift the pizzas easily once the toppings are on. Spread half the tomato sauce on each pizza base. Arrange cherry tomatoes on each pizza. Sprinkle over mozzarella and parmesan.
- Carefully transfer the pizzas (with baking paper) to hot pizza stone or oven tray. Cook for 12-15 minutes until pizza bases are crisp and cheese has melted. Scatter over fresh basil leaves.