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The wonders of home-made pizza

18 Oct

The wonders of home-made pizza

This is a little campaign of mine, to encourage people to make their own pizza! My daughter loves take-away pizza, and to me it is the best way of getting ripped off with a take-away, and that is even before we start to discuss the culinary merits of the home-made version!

I think that take-away fish and chips can be pretty good, and it is more trouble to make at home, if you want the whole affair with battered fish and deep-fried chips. On the whole, I do a simpler version of fish and chips at home, say cooking the chips in the oven and certainly not battering the fish. With the take-away you get a nice generous-sized piece of fish. What do you get with a take-away pizza? A bit of dough with quite a meagre topping, and at a greatly exaggerated cost.

The pizza in the picture took about an hour and a half to make, but much of that is in the waiting time. I leave my dough to prove for an hour, but you can do something else whilst that is happening. My tip for rolling out the dough really thinly is to roll it on baking parchment – I saw a chef on television do this. It means that you can easily pick up your pizza by the sheet without the danger of it falling apart and getting left on your worktop. I then place the whole thing on a baking tray. I don’t have a pizza stone, and I have not investigated using baking parchment with one of those, but it might work.

I make a tomato sauce using onion, maybe with the addition of garlic, and one 400g can of tomatoes. This sauce would cover 2 pizzas – not too much sauce. I reduce the sauce by simmering it rapidly, and also add a squeeze of tomato puree, some seasoning and chopped, fresh herbs such as parsley and basil. I cover the pizzas with this, not going quite to the edges. If I am adding vegetables such as fennel, mushrooms, courgetttes, peppers or aubergine, I always cook them first. My pet hate is practically raw vegetables on pizza; oh and no sweetcorn or pineapple please! I preheat my oven to the hottest it will go and cook the pizzas for about 12 minutes. Forgot to mention the cheese – if I am using cheddar or slices of goat’s cheese, these go on the topping and cook for the 12 minutes. If I am using mozzarella, I prefer to cook my pizza, add the cheese, then just put it back in the oven for about a minute. I find otherwise the cheese burns and is too rubbery.

The pizza in the picture has some rocket and other peppery leaves added to it after baking.

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