First things first: if you aren’t lucky enough to already own a cast iron skillet (or another kind of heavy-based, oven-safe pan), then you need to invest in one ASAP. Not just for this divine pizza, of course, but for the hundreds of delicious things that you can cook in one of these magical pans. You can make everything from cakes to casseroles to killer steaks. This pizza can go straight under the grill on a baking tray, but its x-factor comes from being started off on the stovetop in a pan.
Keep the toppings simple to let the gorgeous base shine, or go wild and add all of your old favourites. My only request is that you make your own tomato base rather than using one out of a jar. The bottled kinds are packed with sugar and preservative and simply don’t taste nearly as fantastic. Google ‘simple tomato pizza base sauce’ and you should find some great, easy recipes. You should really make a quality basic tomato sauce like this in bulk as it can be used as a base for great pasta sauces or even as a sauce on top of a steak (steak pizzaiola).
If you can get your hands on some quality mozzarella di buffalo- buy it. It takes this pizza to a whole new level of deliciousness. Otherwise, go for any decent soft mozzarella you can find. If you do use a mozzarella that comes in balls in water, drain the balls in a sieve then tear up the cheese and keep the pieces in the sieve over a bowl to drain entirely. Using a wet cheese on pizza will result in a watery pizza!
I always add fresh basil leaves to my pizza just before serving for a burst of fresh flavour, but you can use rocket instead if you fancy, or simply finish it off with a drizzle of olive oil and a crack of black pepper.
Makes 2 small pizzas
200g ‘00’ or bread flour, sieved
50g semolina flour
Scant teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fast action dried yeast
½ teaspoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
150ml lukewarm water
Homemade tomato sauce for base
Mozzarella (not too soft)
Black olives, pitted and halved
For the dough, in a large bowl, mix together the flours (bread / 00 and semolina) with the salt, yeast and sugar
Make a hollow in the middle of the dry mixture and add the olive oil and 150ml lukewarm water
Stir to combine with a wooden spoon and then remove the dough from the bowl and knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a dry, clean dishtowel
Leave to rest in a warm place for 30-60 minutes or until doubled in size
Pre-heat the grill to its highest setting, positioning a shelf near the top of the oven
Heat a non-stick, oven-safe frying pan over a medium heat on the stovetop
Once the dough has risen sufficiently, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface and divide into 2 equal-sized pieces
Roll or pat one piece out into a circle measuring around 24cm in diameter
Lift into the pan and begin to cook the base- lift the edges with a spatula to keep a close eye on the base as it will brown very quickly!
While still in the pan on the stovetop, spoon some tomato sauce over the pizza base, then top lightly with additional ingredients
Once the dough is coloured underneath (brown and a little crisp) transfer the pan to the grill and cook for 2 minutes or until the dough is puffed and cooked through (the crusts should be puffy and brown and the cheese should be well-melted)
Garnish with rocket, basil or a drizzle of olive oil
Did you try this recipe and love it?
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