We couldn’t let our month of Italian-themed blogs and recipes end without
talking about pizza, could we?
Especially as we are currently in World Week of Italian Cuisine, an event which promotes the country’s high-quality cuisine around the globe – not that anyone needs reminding of how good Italian food is!
There are few things more satisfying in life than a pizza and we have the
city of Naples to thank for that. That is where pizza originated from in the 18th century as a way of helping much of the city’s population which was living in
poverty at the time and needed cheap food to eat on the move.
Then, in 1899 Chef Raffaele Esposito cooked for King Umbero the 1st and his wife Margherita and came up with a pizza topped with mozzarella, tomato
sauce and basil. The queen loved it so much the dish was named after her and that,
boys and girls, is why we have the Margherita Pizza to this day.
Did you know that in 2017 pizza making in Naples was given Unesco World
That is some achievement and we’re no just waiting for the same to be bestowed on us for our onion bhaji making!
Of course, over the years, pizza has taken on many forms and caused lots
of disputes. Thin crust vs thick crust? (always the former for us), New York
pizza vs Chicago pizza? (ditto) and pineapple or no pineapple as a topping?
(the latter every day of the week!).
We’re all for a bit of variation and fun of course so we read this week that Morrisons has launched a limited-edition festive pizza which includes turkey, pigs and blankets and cranberry sauce.
And we are doffing our chefs’ hats to a restaurant in Bristol which during lockdown has installed a pizza vending machine which works by touchscreen, and it’s apparently very good too!
All this talk of pizza is making us hungry, so here’s a recipe made for a
pizza made with 48 hour pizza dough
tomato pizza sauce
- 400g pomodoro cherry tomatoes (chopped up)
- 50g extra virgin olive oil
- 20g minced garlic
- 3 balls of buffalo mozzarella thinly sliced
- Fresh basil leaves
Put a large heavy based frying pan on a high heat and add
the oil, when the oil is hot add the cherry tomatoes and garlic and fry. Keep
frying till the cherry tomatoes are cooked and the mixture is thick. Cool
slightly then blitz in a blender pass through a sieve and leave to one side.
hour pizza dough
- 230g ‘00’ flour
- 460g strong white bread flour
- 2.5g fast acting dried yeast
- 17g salt
- 410g cold water
In a kitchen mixer with the dough hook attached add the
all ingredients and mix on slow/medium speed for 10 minutes the dough should be
smooth and shiny.
Transfer to a lightly oiled metal bowl and cover with
cling film and leave to prove for 24 hours at room temperature. After 24 hours
the dough should have bubbled and risen, put the dough in the fridge and leave
to chill for another 24 hours before you use it.
When you are ready to use the dough preheat your oven to its highest temperature with a pizza stone on the top shelf and preheat your grill. Sprinkle polenta and flour on a flat work top and divide the dough into 3. Flatten out the dough into a circle using a rolling pin. Gently transfer to your red hot stone and cook for 4-5 minutes. Take off the stone and transfer to baking sheet, repeat this for the other 2 balls of dough.
To finish the pizza put a spoonful of the sauce on top
followed by the freshly sliced mozzarella and basil leaves place back in the
oven for 5 minutes or until the base is crispy then under the grill to finish.
This should replicate a pizza oven giving it that charred effect and taste.